Recently, friends in my hometown organized a baby shower. As a special touch, they gifted the guest of honor – a first-time mom – with a booklet of love notes from folks near and far.
As a mom, I appreciated their thoughtfulness. Extra doses of lovingkindness are spot-on for new moms who feel excitement one moment, sheer fear the next. And, there’s plenty of room on that roller coaster ride of emotions for all of us moms – whether our kids are small, teens or adults.
Motherhood is one of the greatest gifts a woman can experience. Sometimes, it’s also plain old hard, making us feel alone, inadequate or both. Whether we’re first-timers or deep in the mom game with older kids, mothering can even make usually confident women pretty uncertain. At times I’ve wondered,
“Am I doing this right?”
“What do I do now?”
And, “Am I a good mom?”
Hard questions? Indeed. But the more I live into those questions, the more I understand that mothering levels up my faith. Time and time again, God has met me in my uncertainty. “I handpicked your children just for you,” He reassures. “And, I created you to be what and who they need.”
I wanted the mom-to-be back home to know this is true for moms everywhere, including her. Here’s my love note to her, edited for all of us mothering others.
Dear sweet mom,
I have 3 kids, so you may think I know a whole lot about being a mother. The truth is: I know a few things, but my children teach me something new all the time, like . . .
- how strong I can be . . . Even when I’m exhausted from being up with the littlest one at night, I somehow push through the next day and get what most needs to be done, done. You will, too. Because you are and will be strong.
- And how patient I can be . . . Even when I’m irritated because the kitchen counter is junky 5 minutes after I clean it, one look at the kids playing together – truly bonding – makes me regain perspective and smile. You will, too. Because you are and will be patient.
- And how loving I can be, without hope or expectation . . . Even when I’m grumpy because the kids are grumpy first, that mama-love kicks in and I hear myself encouraging them to cheer up. You will, too. Because you are and will be loving, unconditionally.
Here’s the thing: God is amazing. The longer I mother my children, the more I understand how God makes moms in His image. We love our children the way He loves us – with strength, patience and unconditional love. We love them even when they act unloving. We love them through their hurts and fears. We love them completely, flaws and all.
And, you will be an amazing mother. Your mama-love will be beautiful in every way.
Even so, let trusted hands help when you’re tired. Being a mom is heart work, so it’s hard work. You will get tired. Be kind to yourself and let others help you.
Give yourself grace every day. There’s no one “right” way to be a mom, and each stage of your child’s growth will bring something new. So, relax and remember: You’re both figuring out a lot. And that’s okay.
When you feel alone, don’t forget you have a whole tribe of women, including me, cheering for you. Lean on other moms who will share advice without making you feel judged. They will be true sources of support when you need them most.
And, enjoy your little one each day. Before you know it, your tiny blessing will grow bigger, right before your very eyes.
Sending you my mama-hugs and prayers for a beautiful journey ahead,