The excitement that I was to become a mom for the first time settled in quickly. I read nearly every self help book on motherhood I could find. What to Expect When You’re Expecting was my go to book for any questions I needed answered. I spent my entire pregnancy poring over every page of that book. In my mind, if I read enough about what it was like to be a mother, I would be prepared for motherhood. What I really needed though, couldn’t be found in any of the books I was reading. I needed experience.
The tricky thing about motherhood is, no matter how much (or how little for that matter) time you spend around kids, nothing quite prepares you for being the person that someone else’s life depends on. After I had my oldest son, while we were being discharged, the nurse was wheeling us to our car. She said to me what I thought was the weirdest thing at the time (but thinking back on it often), I now know, she had the experience that I didn’t have. Her words, “Have a nice life, good luck,” were something that I always thought to be profoundly interesting. As we buckled our son into a car seat that he hated for most of his infant life and drove away, I wondered why she would say something like that to a new mom.
Motherhood is one of the only jobs in the world where no prior experience is necessary. It’s a learn as you go gig that is constantly changing as the years go on. Once you get into a really good groove with an infant, toddlerhood happens. When you think you’ve got toddlerhood all figured out, school age happens, then comes pre-teens, teens, young adults, adulthood, and before you know it, you’re dealing with having to let go, and you’re settling into being an empty nester. The only constant thing in all of these changes is prayer. You pray that you’re doing a great job, that you’re not ruining your kids, and the values that you have worked so hard to instill in them as you’re raising them will be passed down to their children, so all that hard work and praying that you’ve done, won’t be in vain.
Question any mom at any stage in life (and if they’re being honest), they would tell you that most days are spent winging this whole motherhood thing. Sure we’re doing the best we can, but at any time of any day, it can all come crashing down. If you find yourself hiding in a closet, take heart. We have all felt overwhelmed. There are many times where I think I can’t possibly succeed in one of the hardest jobs on earth. In those times, I’ve learned to pack snacks while hiding. Maybe you should too. I never want to give off the impression that I know everything. I’m learning my way around motherhood just like any new mom.
I’ve not been on this motherhood journey as long as some, but longer than others. I’ve realized that being a mom of half a dozen kids puts me in this category that not a lot of moms find themselves in. I’m often asked questions, and I’m happy to answer. Over the years I have learned never to solicit motherhood advice.
As mothers, we are all on a journey to raise healthy, responsible, God-fearing children. What worked for me and my children, might not work for another mom and her children. I have also learned in this journey that no one mother has all the answers. At some point, every mom gets overwhelmed. We all question our ability to make it to bedtime. At times we could all use a break away from the kids. Of course we’ll spend that time talking about our kids, missing our kids, just to get back and remember why we needed the break in the first place. It’s a crazy emotional roller coaster, this motherhood thing.
To all the moms out there, whether you’re a new mom, an in the middle mom, or a well experienced mom, you’re doing a great job! Hold your head high, you’re showing up everyday to the hardest job in the world, many of you with no prior experience, and you’re making it through each day. Keep up the good work, your work is important.