If Today You Feel Like Less of a Mother

Ladies, I am disturbed.

I am disturbed because I keep reading that certain parenting practices may put you in danger of being “less of a mother.” Or that women were reassured when they were told that changing parts of their routine didn’t make them “less of a mother.”

Where is this idea coming from? Motherhood is so much BIGGER than that.

Less of a Mother

No matter what you are struggling with right now, no matter what style of parenting you practice, let me look you in the eye and give it to you straight:

You are not less of a mother.

Breastfeeding? Pumping? Formula feeding?

You are not less of a mother.

Natural childbirth? Epidural? Scheduled C-section? Adoption process?

You are not less of a mother.

Sleep training? Bedsharing? Working long hours out of the house? Staying at home fulltime?

You are not less of a mother!

You find yourself walking through IKEA with your 3 kids, one of whom is sitting in the cart wearing only a diaper and shoes while his clothes are hanging to dry over the side of the cart seat? (Saw that in person last weekend; do not know the backstory; wanted to give the mom a hug and a drink!)

You are NOT LESS OF A MOTHER.

Because what makes a mother? I think you know the answer.

It’s love. Love, responsibility, and nurturing the growth of your children. Shouldering the task, to the best of your ability, of helping them to develop physically, intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally—in stature, strength, understanding, and virtue.

All those specific parenting choices and practices? Those are things that mothers do, but it’s not what makes us mothers. And so changing those practices can’t make us less of a mother, either.

We ARE the mothers. Motherhood is not just a task, it’s a vocation that is part of our identities. It’s impossible to be less of a mother, the same way it’s impossible to be less yourself. You just ARE yourself, and now you are a mother. Each mom has a truly unique role—no one else can take her place in her kids’ lives, no matter how much “better” anybody else might be at parenting. Mothers are not like cogs in a machine, able to be swapped out for another identical piece. You are the specific mother that was given to your specific kids. And nothing can change that. God designed each of you–individually, lovingly, intentionally—to come together as a family for everyone’s mutual good. He entrusted your kids to YOU, forever, on purpose.

You are their mother. Full stop. There is no being “more a mom” or “less of a mom”—there is only being their mom.

Maybe you had hoped to exclusively breastfeed and be a stay-at-home-mom, but for whatever reason, you can’t. Maybe you ARE a stay-at-home mom, and you’re finding it draining and unfulfilling, and you yearn to go back to the office with adults and different kinds of responsibilities. Your plans aren’t working out, through no fault of your own, and despite your best intentions.

That can’t make you less of a mother.

Maybe right now, being a mom feels really, really hard. Maybe some days you hate it, or wish your kids would disappear for an hour or a week. Of course you do! Motherhood is HARD. The thing about vocations is that they are always hard—they have to be, somehow or another, to burn away our selfishness and sin. There’s hopefully plenty of joy to be found, too, but that doesn’t mean every day is sunshine and roses. A lot of days are diaper explosions and runaway toddlers or angry, silent teenagers. That’s difficult! It’s not fun. It’s downright frustrating and infuriating, actually. Maybe you lose your cool, snap, and do or say something you regret.

Maybe you feel like the worst mom on the planet.

But those days and those feelings don’t make you less of a mother, either.

No matter what is going on right now, you are not less of a mother. You love your kids, do the best you can for them every day, and keep on truckin’. What that looks like, exactly, is going to be a million kinds of different for the millions of individual women and families out there, but that’s what really counts.

You are the mother.

You are the mother, and you are doing great.

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