My daughter and I reading her first acceptance letter to college.
Recently, a friend of mine on FB posted about her EPIC motherhood fail. She gave extensive detail about how her, her newborn daughter, and her toddler daughter were out to lunch, and that's when it all went down. Her infant daughter needed a diaper change, but she soon realized that the bathroom was without a changing table, (really??), she then decided to change her on her lap, and baby girl had a total blow out right then and there! Mommy then realized she left the wipes in the car, which was parked several blocks away, so she thought on her toes and proceeded to wipe her infants bottom, and this huge mess with napkins as best as she could. She mentioned how she certainly wasn't "winning" today, and that others must be staring at her! She did note how happy she was that her toddler seemed unaffected by all of this and her infant smiled the whole way through!
I strongly objected to her "motherhood fail"! I mean the pressures that society and that WE put on ourselves as mothers is so unrealistic and through the roof!
I told her that this was fantastic because she was meeting motherhood right then and there. I told her that that is the essence OF motherhood--blow outs and all! It really isn't the smooth sailing days we get that make motherhood, amen? Is it not being in the trenches, as awful, embarrassing or as tough as they can be, really where true motherhood shines? Is it not those moments or even days, that seem to make us weak, actually make us strong, and build our character up in motherhood? Is it not those moments that instill a humility in us and give us endurance to fight the good fight in motherhood? Where would we be without those moments?
Learning to drive.
I submit that it's our weakest moments, that make us the strongest.
Could the essence of motherhood be standing in the line at Target
just to look over and see our toddler on the ground kicking and screaming?
(this happened to me several times and one of the times the cart was actually on top of my daughter!)
Could the essence of motherhood be the moments that you forgot the diapers, forgot the wipes and even the pacifier, so you finagle to Griswald the situation as best as you can? Don't we gain resilience in the "making due"?
Could the essence of motherhood be in the bitchy teen, who you don't even recognize anymore? You don't know who this person looking back at you is because they've changed so much? Is there not beauty in their healthy hormones, and maturity as they are changing and growing?
Could the essence of motherhood be having 3 sick children at once, taking turns throwing up, sitting on the toilet, and being up all night with them? Is there something to be said for self-sacrificial love as you stroke their hair, and tell them, "it's gonna be ok?"
Could the essence of motherhood be right in the middle of the end of your rope?? When you seriously don't know what to do next? Is there not a time to learn a new thing? Or waiting out and becoming more patient? We can't know it all.
Could the essence of motherhood be when your 16 year old drives out of your home drive-way for the first time all alone just after passing their drivers test, and you watch them from your kitchen window? Is letting go not worthy? Oh yes it is. Motherhood meets you the most in the letting go.
Could the essence of motherhood be in the empty nesting, the getting married and your children having children? Is this not glorious??!! Could we surrender to the every changing process of new things our way?
Could the essence of motherhood be the rewarding yet tiring job of nursing our babes, or when we have to dry up our milk supply because we are unable to nurse? Isn't the painful, lovely, self-less act of giving our bodies to our children, as challenging as it is, the pure evidence of motherhood?
Could the essence of motherhood be the screaming matches you have with your college kid, or the struggle of living with a child with a mental illness? Fighting for and with your child is the epitome of motherhood. The rawness, authenticity spurs you both on to deal with conflict, and creates a new level of trust. Advocating for your child in any way, for their health or mental health, even in the pain and suffering of THAT, that is the essence of motherhood, because it's noteworthy to love wildly. And it's inevitable that it will hurt.
Could the essence of motherhood be the unwashed dishes, the unclean or unfolded laundry? I think yes because it shows signs of life! It shows wear and tear and that is beautiful! It shows a house lived in. Spaces loved in. Rooms prayed in.
The essence of motherhood is being in the trenches of IT. It's conundrum is the epicenter of our very lives.
RELATIONSHIP, not perfection is motherhoods essence. Admitting we can't and don't have to do it all is something we all need to admit in a radical way. The trenches are the tears and the laughter. The joy and the pain. The yelling and the whispers. The agreements and disagreements. The apart and togetherness. The silence and the speaking. The loudness and the quietness. It's the happy, exciting phone calls and the scary ones. The busy and the slow. It's holding on and letting go. The clarity and the confusion. The obeying and disobeying. The exhausted and the energized. The building up and tearing down. It's when I get it right, and when I get it oh so very wrong. It's in the loving extremely well, and loving when it's terribly hard. It's in the inhaling AND exhaling. The God moments and the ungodly moments. The planned and the unplanned. The smooth and the bumpy. Living, and dying. These are signs of LIFE.
These are the days of motherhood, right where we are found, today, tomorrow, and in the months to come.
Fighting the good fight in motherhood is not squeaky clean. Anything that requires effort, work and time means we get are hands greasy. We cannot fix our cars without getting grease on our hands can we? We get black grit instantly if we try to fix our cars. Why would we think we would never get poop on ourselves as Mothers? It's a sign of living life and that's a pretty, darn good sign. Keep doing that. Keep doing that motherhood thing, as dirty as you may get, keep going. MOTHERHOOD IS ALL OF THE ABOVE.
Davenport Beach, CA 2016