I always dreamed of being a mama. Born into a family where my own mom quit her outside-the-home job two days before I was born, I grew up having a mother always there with me day after day. I saw her love for me, her delight in motherhood, the joy she received from the choice she had made to be a stay-at-home parent. I wanted nothing more than to be just like her, having babies of my own and remaining at home with them.
My love of children continued on into my teen and young adult years, with nannying full time being my chosen job from even before high school graduation up until I was 22, married and about to give birth to my first child.
As much as I’ve always loved children and yearned to be a stay-at-home mama, there have nevertheless been hardships and trying lessons I’ve experienced in my now nearly four years of being a mom that I never expected to deal with myself.
The fact of the matter is that we are sold a bill of goods about motherhood and what it’s like by the culture at large and social media specifically. Articles abound on how hard motherhood is, how draining, how mundane, how full of drudgery…and the discouraging list goes on and on until I’m amazed that any teen or young adult would even want to be a mom one day. I say it’s time to turn the tide and balance the realization that, yes, motherhood will have its hard moments (most things in life do!) with the understanding that it’s not as soul-crushing as the culture would have us think!
What I Wish I Had Known Before Becoming a Mom
1. It’s going to be hard, but it’s going to be good. Prior to becoming a mom, I had only ever focused on the good part, never taking any time to consider that becoming a mother would be a big transition, replete with sacrifices made and seasons of trial. Imagine my surprise when reality struck! I believe it to be important that we not portray motherhood through rose-colored glasses, but also that we not portray it as nothing but hard and stretching. It’s both. It’s hard sometimes, yes, but it is also staggeringly beautiful and good and precious.
2. It’s not something to lose yourself in. As important as mothering is if you are a mom, it’s not something to lose your identity in. It’s not something meant to take up every second of every day, keeping you from investing in the hobbies, interests, studies, pursuits and other endeavors you loved before you became a mom. Your time and priorities will shift, certainly, but you don’t have to lose the woman you always were the day you become a mom. Nor should you!
3. It’s not mundane—even when you think it is. When you are mothering little souls God has entrusted into your care, it is anything but mundane work! Sure, scrubbing the tub, wiping runny noses, doing the fifth load of laundry that week and making yet another peanut butter and jelly sandwich may seem mundane, pointless and monotonous sometimes. But it isn’t, because what you are doing—every single thing you are doing as a mom—is providing a foundation now for the relationship with and impact you will have on your children as they grow. You are raising up disciples for Christ, and that is huge!
4. It’s not the highest calling or intended for everybody. Contrary to popular belief in the church, motherhood is not a woman’s highest calling. Being an image bearer of God and an ambassador of Christ is. That means that working your 9-to-5 job, running that nonprofit, leading women in your church in Bible study, cleaning your house, being diligent in your studies, extending hospitality to your neighbors and mothering your children are all amazing different ways you can live out that ultimate highest calling in your day-to-day life from one season to the next. Not everyone is called by God to mother in the biological sense, and that is okay. Mothering is also a spiritual practice whereby we raise up disciples in our churches and communities as well.
You see, friend, motherhood is beautiful. It is impactful. It is eternal and lasting and significant. It is also hard, challenging and sacrificial. In fact, it’s that two-sided nature of it that makes it so amazing and life changing. You know that popular hashtag #motherhoodissanctifying? It’s true!