Next up in our blog series this week is my friend, Ashley. Ashley is the wife to Cory and mom to Abigail (3) and Issac (almost 2). She and her family live in Jasper, Alabama where she lives a life full on busyness staying at home chasing after her two little ones each day and doing part time photography. You can read more of Ashley’s writings at www.overthesunblog.wordpress.com.
Motherhood is easy… Until it’s not.
I grew up a mom. Not literally, obviously, but very much so in a sense where I knew I was going to be a mother. Babies and children were just pure delights to me. I would pass a baby in a stroller and melt into a puddle.
I also knew everything. (Ha!) I knew what I was going to do and not going to do when I had my own children. They *will never* disobey in public. They *will* love fruits and veggies. I *will never* let myself go and not take a shower for a week straight.
I got pregnant almost exactly one year after we got married and I was over the moon! Seriously. I was the happiest woman on the planet for those 9 months. Even after an awful labor and delivery experience, plus 3 terrible months of colic and reflux, nothing could take away the pure joy I felt as a mother. Once we got on a good schedule, my sweet Abigail and I could take the world by storm. “Why don’t people have babies already?” “It’s not that hard!” “Look at all the wonderful sacrifices I’m making to be a more awesome mother than you!”
We found out I was pregnant with Isaac just 5 months after Abigail was born. We weren’t planning on another so soon, but it didn’t take us long to get excited once again. We could do this! It wasn’t that hard, right? After a total breeze of a delivery, a magic baby who rarely cried, I still felt like things couldn’t be going more perfectly.
But what I never planned for in all my daydreaming about being a mother was the long days, the tantrums, the meltdowns, the guilt, the night terrors, the sticky floors, the exhaustion, the endless (ENDLESS) dishes, diapers, Disney Junior, and laundry. See, that’s the thing with us “perfect mothers”. We show you all the cute sleeping baby photos on social media. We paint this beautiful picture of babyhood, because babyhood is easy. Loving those beautiful, non-tantrum, non-messy, non-meltdown-in-the-middle-of-Walmart babies is so easy! Really! It is! They’re so sweet and adorable and the hardest part is waking up more than you used to.
But babies grow. They don’t stay easy. They start walking. Then talking. Then pushing boundaries. Then disobeying. Then challenging your disciplining skills in public places. The easy stage has come and gone and you find yourself stuck in this new season of challenges you’ve likely never faced before. And us moms have grossly neglected to share with you this harsh reality. We slowly stop posting on Instagram our adorable angel baby and pass it off as busyness when in reality we sit hunched in a corner questioning to ourselves whether or not we’re really cut out for this thing.
It’s so wonderful, though, how you start to see why God made them so wonderful and adorable in the first place. They came cute for a reason, I’m sure of it, to remind you why you wanted this so much in the first place. You adored them when the worst part of the day was a blowout. But now, on the days when you have to reach deep into the recesses of your momma heart, you force yourself to keep going – to raise those adorable blessings. Your calling has not changed. You’re still called to be their mother. Your love does not change, it only deepens.
I love my two beautiful blessings more now than I did when I saw their faces for the first time. Not because it’s been easy, but because it’s been very hard. I liken it to refined iron; strong before, but after a couple of rounds of being thrown in the fire, hammered and twisted, and thrown in the fire again, it comes out stronger each time.
Your work as a mother is important. Just as those little beings are challenging you, you are to challenge them right back. They are looking to you each day to be the hands and feet of Jesus in their ordinary lives. You cannot leave them where they are. They need correction, they need attention, they need to know (and be shown) how and how not to live, and most importantly, they need to know how all of it relates to Jesus and the Gospel (because all of it does). Jesus does not simply love all over us and lead us to believe life is easy and simple. We know this to be untrue. Life is messy and difficult. Motherhood is messy and difficult. But Jesus has extended us His grace to remain faithful under trials. Even the trials of meltdowns in the canned vegetables aisle of the grocery store.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – James 1:2-4