Tresta Payne | moms@nrtoday.com

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May 10, 2014
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What is motherhood? | Moms

Mother’s Day cards make me nervous.

I look over all those Hallmark cards, lined up in rows like mockers at my motherhood-trial. All of them are full of flowery sentiment and sainthood and hard to attain perfection.

“Who really fits the description on those cards?” I think, as I look for the perfect card for my own mom.

I wonder what struggles my kids will have if they ever stop making homemade cards and attempt to summarize me in flowery words and pink swirls.

You don’t find too many Mother’s Day cards that talk about all the ways a mom fails and yells and burns and learns the very lessons she’s trying to teach.

There should be more cards like that, though.

There ought to be more words about real life mothering and all the children touched by imperfect mothers.

We could all buy a card like that.

So what is motherhood, if it’s not perfection and constant patience and the unending wisdom portrayed on so many cards?

Motherhood is all the feelings I’ve ever had, all walking and talking and scaring the daylights out of me.

It’s vulnerable and rewarding. It’s exhausting, with 2 a.m. feedings and 10 p.m. waitings and endless questions about bugs and dinner and guns and the future.

It’s all the butterflies at performances, all the hurt over words, all the excitement at Christmas and apprehension over change.

Motherhood is being spent on all the things I love and being filled by them, too.

Motherhood is an investment of words and time. Sometimes words come out of my mouth that my own mother said, and hers before her probably.

They make so much more sense to me now as an adult, but I see the familiar eye roll in my kids and I know what they’re thinking.

I know how crazy and cliché I sound, but I say those things anyway.

I pray that they remember certain words and forget others, and that God will cause His word to be deeply rooted in them.

I trust that in time, these investments will pay off.

Motherhood is a daily reminder of my fallibility and God’s goodness.

When I do the things I tell my kids not to do; when I burn their dinner; when I am impatient and late and rush through important things or get lost in unimportant things – all of it reminds me that God is good enough to keep parenting me through my blunders.

I’m learning as I teach.

Motherhood is moments of being brave enough to be myself with my kids - my goofy, silly, not-always-mature self.

I have freeze frames in my heart of obnoxious family laughter and inside jokes that would make sense to no one else.

Those are memories that belong to us alone, and we all cherish them.

Motherhood is also moments of being brave enough to say “no” when I have to, and “yes” when I can, and “I don’t know” when I don’t.

Motherhood is real life lived with real people, all of us growing up together and learning to nurture one another as co-heirs with Christ.

That pedestal where Super Mom sits rests unsteadily upon a greased pole, and all our climbing and striving and comparing and feeling badly will not give us a seat there.

You can join me in the messy pile at the bottom, and we’ll read the homemade cards and smile at the misspelled words. Those are the best.

We’ll eat our Dollar Store chocolate or our five-star meal and celebrate being Mom, wanting to be a mom, having a mom, or missing a mom.

The messy pile of us are real women who can celebrate success and failure and longing, together.

Motherhood is all the feelings I’ve ever had, all walking and talking and scaring the daylights out of me.


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The News-Review Updated May 17, 2014 10:23AM Published May 19, 2014 09:59AM Copyright 2014 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.