As a new mother, it’s hard not to feel sometimes like I have some impossibly large shoes to fill. After all, the moms I know, including my own, are incredible—extremely hardworking and selfless super women who are generous beyond measure.
And in our Pinterest-perfect society, the bar often seems to be set even higher. These days, moms often face scrutiny about everything from how effortless they make their pregnancy and delivery seem, their adaptability to the changes that motherhood brings, and even how they raise their tiny humans to become thriving, positive contributors to society. In addition, if Instagram is to be believed, they must do it all with polish, poise, and model-worthy hair and makeup.
But in this picture of perfection that society presents to us, we sometimes miss the raw beauty of motherhood. These five lessons have been on my heart lately; they keep me grounded, motivate me to want to be the best mom I can be, and make me thankful just to be a part of this special journey.
1. Being a mom is a privilege.
Just a few weeks removed from Infertility Awareness Week, I’ve been reminded what a privilege motherhood is. I’ve read many posts and stories from women who’ve experienced a great desire to have a child, but have struggled to conceive. To those women, I say “thank you.” Thank you for being open, for reminding me what’s really important, and thank you for exhibiting such great faith as you wait on God’s timing and accept His will for your life.
The witness of these women has truly inspired me as I prepare to experience the joys of having a newborn in a few months. I’m not necessarily saying I’m looking forward to becoming a sleep-deprived zombie. But my prayer is that through all the ups and downs, and insecurities and mistakes, I will remember that my child is a precious gift, and I won’t take those moments for granted.
2. You never stop being a mom.
At the beginning of this post, I described myself as a new mother. I am five months pregnant, and my precious baby is stirring within me as I type. She may not be born yet, but from the moment of conception, I became a mother—and I always will be.
The reality is that motherhood doesn’t follow some established path—every journey is different. Some moms only know their child for a few weeks or months within their womb. Some have the privilege of watching their child grow up, marry, and start their own families. Many fall somewhere in between. But if we’re going to acknowledge moms this Mother’s Day, we must remember to honor all of them. We must affirm motherhood in all of its forms because no matter the situation, you never stop being a mom.
3. Motherhood requires sacrifice.
I am fully aware that the sacrifices of motherhood will only increase as my child gets older. I’m going to lose sleep, I’m going to give up time at work, and I’m going to dedicate what little free time I have left and all my extra pennies to ensure the happiness, security, and well-being of my child. And you know what—I’m going to be better for it.
You see, there is beauty in sacrifice. Unfortunately, our culture is trending away from promoting self-sacrifice in favor of promoting one’s own desires: convenience, money, time... Mothers are told to abort their children if they want to accomplish something, marriages are dissolved with little thought to the harm it does to children, and the media even promotes the idea that there’s a “movement” of women who regret having their children.
What’s missing is the truth that God designed motherhood as a form of service. Dr. Charles Stanley, in a recent devotion, writes, “Unless you are willing to stoop down and get your hands dirty, you will miss the real riches of motherhood. By dying to your own desires and pouring your life into someone else, you become like Christ and create a godly legacy that will carry on for generations to come.”
4. Mothers are irreplaceable.
The importance of mothers to the development of their children is a well-established fact. And yet, a recent culture shift has our society denying the unique significance of motherhood. Companies are running ads that depict biological men as mothers, laws are being passed that create a framework to leave children motherless (or fatherless), and even the use of terms like “mother” or “motherhood” is being discouraged.
But motherhood isn’t some social construct that can be reinterpreted or cast aside. Mothers are necessary. Mothers are biologically unique. Mothers are irreplaceable. We have a duty to celebrate and fight for motherhood—and that means upholding the truth of all the special things that moms bring to the table.
5. Motherhood is a beautiful mess.
No, I’m not just talking about diapers and throw up or the baby stuff that seems to be multiplying in every corner of your house. Motherhood is challenging and messy—and that’s okay. It’s not about perfection.
Mothers are human, and they make mistakes just like everyone else. I’m going to make mistakes. Yet I know the best thing I can do as a mother is not to compare myself to other mothers, but to learn from them when I can, and to remember that of all the women in all the world, God chose me to be my child’s mother. And for that, I am truly blessed.