Yesterday on my Facebook personal wall, I posted:
“I think I’m going to write a blog post on being a mom. In my opinion, it is the most important job in the world. If you aren’t a biological mom, you can still mentor others. It is the hardest job in the world. Sometimes you wonder if you’ve been a good mom. Know that God’s grace covers any blunders you have made and He’s got them in His loving, powerful hands.”
The post received many likes and several comments from my friends:
Dana Arcuri wrote, “Raising three children with ADHD & learning disabilities has given a whole new meaning to motherhood. It taught me how to advocate for accommodations and fight like a mama bear. No one messes with my cubs!”
Sarah G. Tipton posted, “Tell it, Sister!”
And Jennifer Waddle said, “I’ll blog about motherhood right along with you!”
So my post resonated with others. It’s the moms club.
I’m the mom of 3 beautiful daughters, Heather, Eden, and Leah. We are a blended family: Heather is my daughter from my first marriage, Eden is Ray’s daughter from his first marriage, and Leah is Ray’s and my daughter together.
But Heather considers Ray her “real” dad and Eden has called me “mom” since she was three years old, when Ray and I married, and recently Eden decided to name her baby Piper’s middle name after me, Elizabeth – a HUGE honor! (She’s now at 37 weeks pregnant, due any day now and we can’t wait to meet the new addition to our family!)
Motherhood starts when you conceive, not at birth. For those who don’t have biological children, it starts with developing a relationship with someone, mentoring/discipling him or her.
With both Heather and Leah, I had very difficult pregnancies. I developed preeclampsia (formerly called “toxemia”): I gained rapid and too much weight, had high blood pressure, suffered with severe nausea most of the pregnancies, and had bad headaches.
Some women are just all cute baby when they’re pregnant (only their “tummies” grow); I was pregnant all over and felt like a beached whale! Today I think pregnant women are so beautiful and realize what a blessing and a privilege it is to be able to conceive and have a child. Some women would give anything to become pregnant and have a baby. “Children are a gift from God; they are His reward.” -Psalm 127:3, TLB
I became pregnant with Heather when I was 18 years old, so I was younger then and had a lot more energy! I worked part-time at a convenience store as a clerk and developed a close friendship with another pregnant woman named Laurie, who came to the store every day. She and I would get Coke Icees there at the store and we’d chat about our pregnancies.
We both had the same doctor in town, Dr. Moseley. She had her baby before I did, and scared me by telling in great detail, over us slurping Icees, her labor/delivery horror story, having unbearable back labor and how awful the whole thing was!
Thank God, I didn’t have the back labor. With two epidurals and forceps, I managed to get through the pain of labor. But when I delivered that beautiful, precious baby girl, Heather, I felt the presence of God in the room in a way I’d never experienced before in my life. I believe that is because of the holy calling that is on Heather’s life. It had been worth it all! Today Heather is not only my daughter, but also one of my closest friends. I’ve often told her she is my special present from God.
There were 13 long years between Heather’s and Leah’s births, with “a lot of “life” in between. Because the preeclampsia was more severe in my pregnancy with Leah and she was positioned high up inside of me, my doctor elected to do a C-section on me.
I went under anesthesia, with Ray in the delivery room accompanying me, and as soon as I fell asleep, I dreamed of running horses. Years later, Leah took English horseback riding lessons and at one horse show, she won the blue ribbon first place award! She doesn’t ride today, but she still loves horses and often draws them. Leah too is my undeserved, precious gift from God. Like Heather, she has a high calling.
With Eden, I didn’t carry her in my womb, but I’ve always carried her in prayer in my heart. As with her sisters, she is set apart by God for His holy purpose. Eden is my “bonus daughter,” also a gift from God- although she and I have often butted heads a lot!
Eden is now carrying Piper, and says she just wants her to come NOW! Being pregnant is hard. So is being a mom- as I said on Facebook, the hardest job in the world. It’s even more difficult when you’re a single mom.
Following two divorces, I was a single mom for almost a decade. I never wanted this for our children, but unfortunately both Heather and Eden are single moms after their husbands left and didn’t come back home, so they divorced. Problems are compounded for single mothers.
But there’s no greater job in the world than being a mother.
Here’s my final thoughts on being a mom:
- Once a mom, always a mom. Even when your children “fly the nest” (what we are training them to do, but us moms never really feel ready for this! I cried for months after Heather moved out of our house!), you love them more than anyone or anything else in the world, you pray for them, and you worry about them endlessly, needlessly, but nevertheless!
- Moms usually change the poopy diapers. A lot more than dad! And the vomit when they’re sick, the Gerber baby food all over the mouth and high chair tray, the toys and blankets and pacifiers and bottles all over the floor;
- Moms never seem to conquer Mount NeverRest of laundry through the years. No matter how hard you try to keep up with laundry (or dishes), there’s always more the next day;
- A mother’s worst fear is something happening to her child. Don’t tell us not to worry; we’re going to do it anyway. Just hug us, and say it’s going to be okay. Pray for us. Sometimes bad things do happen to our children. It is only God that gets us through it;
- Moms feel guilty, no matter how good of a mother we were, we are, or we try to be. We shouldn’t feel the guilt, but we do. Comparing ourselves with other moms makes it even worse! For myself, I’ve laid down at night through the years, with tears pouring down my face, remembering my child’s hurt face from me yelling or speaking too sharply in irritation or impatience. Or me hurting because my grown child is deeply hurting from someone else doing her wrong, and there is nothing I can do but pray about the situation. Or worried because I see my child going the wrong way, when I’ve tried to teach her things God’s way. More than anything, we want our child to be happy, healthy, and living a fulfilling, exciting, blessed life, following Christ. For a mom, her child IS her very heartbeat; she can’t separate herself from her child. This child was once in her womb, joined to her by a cord of blood vessels, and forever joined to her heart and mind throughout life. Sometimes, it’s hard to know and understand your identity, apart from mothering your children. Who am I, other than being a mom? This is especially true as they grow up and move out. There’s a very empty, Grand Canyon-sized space. What do I do now, you wonder. As I shared with our daughter Heather recently, I’ve messed up a lot in my life. Made many mistakes and have regrets. But over the last several years of my life, I’ve repented, asked God to change me, and drawn closer to Him. I desire to be a Proverbs 31 woman, a better, more godly, good wife and mother. Today I’m so thankful that God’s grace and mercy covers any blunders, sins, and stupid things I’ve done as a mom.
- Moms would lay down their lives for their children, if necessary. I know I would; don’t mess with my kids! I am so thankful for the gift of my children. Yes, it’s stressful and aggravating being a mom. Yes, they are demanding, can drain your energy, and never leave you alone, especially when you need it (“Can I please use the bathroom in peace?!”). Yes, sometimes they drive us crazy! But next to my salvation and marriage, I consider motherhood the most precious, sacred gift God has ever given me. Being a “nana” to our 3 (and soon four!) grandchildren is an extra treasure!
“When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.” -Sophia Loren, Women and Beauty