This past May, I attended my first-ever Mother’s Day breakfast at my son’s preschool. As I sat there—emotional—I wondered, “What am I doing here pretending to be a mom?” There were flowers and tablecloths and Mother’s Day poems read about the great task of being a mother, and I sat there thinking—“Is this really me?”
Did I really just drive here in a mini-van?
In the daily neediness of “motherhood,” I’m not sure I ever took time to process—I. Am. A. Mother.
I have two little people at home who call me “Mummy.” Am I mature enough for this?
I think of Mother’s Day as a day for those patient, mature women—the ones who wear cute dresses and always look beautiful. Who “whip up” gourmet meals and their children crawl into their laps for their counsel. Their fridges stocked, houses clean, children happy and playing outside building forts. You know the mothers—awake before everyone else, writing notes for their kids’ lunches and having breakfast ready as everyone else wakes.
And then, there’s me…
Wasn’t I just in college—playing volleyball, going out with friends to all hours of the night, coffee dates, all-nighters, road trips? It feels like yesterday. Yet, somehow the calendar tells me it was over a decade ago. So often, I still feel like that driven, idealistic, free, single girl.
Now, somehow, I’m driving a mini-van to my son’s preschool Mother’s Day breakfast.
But something shifted for me today. Maybe I just needed the reality of this life-stage event to help me process it.
From day one with our firstborn, it was about survival. Struggling each day to merely handle whatever was thrown at me. Because it’s all new and unknown. And no one prepares you for the magnitude of it.
My role as a “Mom” became some mash-up of what I absorbed from others around me. I took cues from Instagram, neighborhood moms, moms at church, and other random parents at Chick-Fil-A or Pinterest (for a while, then I gave up on that one). Be tougher. Handle them this way. Put them in this program. Dress them like this. Feed them only organic food. Make a routine like she did. Handle discipline with a soft voice like she does. Take them to organized playdates. I guess that’s important?
I felt like I was raising my child by osmosis of those around me.
Besides reacting to the deluge of information that swamped me that day, I had no plan. Fumble out of bed after a night of waking for potty trips, cold kids, hungry kids, scared kids, bad dreams. And then, I guess they need to eat something. So find a solution for that. Then figure out how to fill up the day to minimize the chaos I feel. Then, they need to eat again. There’s the next two hours. Then, I probably should read to them? That’s important right?
Since they don’t want to sit still, I give up on the reading. We go to the park. Fresh air. Other kids. Good idea. Until we get there. Runaway kids—mine. Tantrums. I’m maxed out. It’ll be another two weeks before I try that again.
So then, I turn on the T.V. Something “good for them,” like Mister Rogers, ‘cause that’s what my husband’s research says is best.
And then they need to eat. Really? Again? Is this all I do now? Feed small people? Yes. And then there’s bath and bedtime. Finally, sleep—I’m too tired to read something uplifting. So I just crawl into bed, barely kissing my husband goodnight. And tomorrow we’ll do it all over again—like Groundhog Day.
This is Motherhood?
It’s certainly nothing like I pictured, and nothing I prepared for. I never felt so insecure in a role. So unsure. So inept. So unprepared.
But there are these two precious, beautiful little faces that call me “Mummy.” The Lord, in His divine wisdom, allowed it.
Maybe you don’t feel like a “Mother,” either. Maybe you don’t measure up to the image in your head, the mother your mom was to you, or maybe you never really knew what a “Mother” was.
With today’s high-paced and transient lifestyles, technology and social media, the pressure of success and comparison, I think our generation of new mothers are facing different pressures. But the human heart hasn’t changed.
Maybe my mum, Lora Lee, mom of 3; my grandma, Adele, mom of 5; my great-grandma, Jenny, mom of 8—felt as insecure as I did. Maybe they woke up feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and unsure and got through the days “mothering on the fly,” too. Maybe they sat at a Mother’s Day breakfast and felt as I did—Am I mature enough to raise other little humans?
But they did. And I think of them as heroes.
Something my husband wrote hit me that day: “Stop exhausting yourself trying to give your kids an advantage. You are the advantage.”
As much as my human heart questions my ability to be a mom, my kids’ hearts are questioning, too. Am I loved? Am I important? Am I wanted?
And just to think, God chose me to answers those questions for my children.
So tonight, I rest. I rest in my Father’s loving presence. And I rest in the assurance that my loving presence for my kids is what really makes me a mom.