This one’s for the moms.

Do you ever sometimes wish that motherhood came with an owner’s manual?  A neat little book that told you exactly what to do on any given day. Orderly instructions on how to handle different, specific parenting challenges, from birth until adulthood.  A go-to guide for raising good, wholesome, godly kids.  But our kids aren’t born with instruction guides for each of their own unique personalities, struggles and gifts.  Some of us may have had a different view of what motherhood would be like before our kids were born or adopted.  And yet others of us may have a lot of self-imposed expectations that we put upon ourselves and try to live up to as mothers. Why are we so hard on ourselves?  Why are we so hard on each other?

Let’s just face it.  The struggles are real.  And they are real hard.  And we don’t always know what we’re doing.  And we sometimes think we’re screwing up.  And things get messy.  And loud.  And we doubt ourselves.  Sometimes we feel completely incompetent to raise our kids.  Sometimes we don’t even like our kids.  And there are tears.  And fears.  And a lot of apologies.  Tons of laughing.  And plenty of good times.

So here’s to you, fellow moms. My friends, joined by the common bond of motherhood.  For all of you who can relate to the this-isn’t-what-I-bargained-for stuff of motherhood. A place where so much grace is needed…for ourselves, each other, our kids, our spouses.  Here’s to you.  I admire you, I relate to you, I learn from you.  There’s no shame in our struggles.

Here’s to the mom who hasn’t gotten an uninterrupted night’s sleep in who-knows-when…

To the mom who feeds her kids frozen waffles every morning for breakfast.

To the mom who is ready for her children to be able to feed themselves.

To the mom who’s able to get her kids to eat their vegetables.

To the mom who feels guilty for not feeding her kids enough fruits and vegetables.

To the mom who doesn’t know if she has the energy to clean up more thing after the kids go bed.

To the mom who doesn’t do crafts or Pinterest-worthy activities with her kids.

To the mom who bakes her kids’ birthday cakes & makes all the decorations for the party.

To the mom who warms her coffee up five times and still ends up pouring half of it out by lunchtime (me!).

To the working mom who goes through a drive-thru a few nights a week to feed her kids.

To the stay-at-home-mom who feels like she’s living on an island at times.

To the mom who thinks she’s screwing up her kids.

To the mom who’s learning what grace means.

To the mom who doesn’t know how to parent a difficult toddler.

To the mom who just wants a few minutes alone.

To the mom who hates sports but goes anyway to cheer on her kid.

To the mom who rushes through bedtime routines in order to finally sit down in peace.

To the mom who skips pages in the children’s book to make it go faster (even though she gets caught).

To the mom who remembers the days when she could get dressed at a leisurely pace.

To the mom who’s reluctant to ask for help, even though she needs it.

To the mom who’s learned it’s okay to ask for help.

To the mom measures her parenting solely on the behaviors of her children.

To the mom who feels like she’ll never be enough.

To the mom who’s learning God is enough, even when she isn’t.

To the mom who’s exasperated at the arguing and fighting between her kids.

To the pregnant mom who feels guilty for being too tired to play with her other child(ren).

To the single mom who feels like the weight of the world is on her shoulders.

To the adoptive mom, the biological mom, the grieving mom, the expecting mom.

To the mom who sends her kids to private school, public school or who homeschools.

To the mom who breastfeeds, bottle feeds or both.

To the mom who co-sleeps or who’s child has always slept in their own bed.

The cloth diapering mom, the disposable diapering mom and the mom who is still potty-training her kids.

To the new mom who’s sleep-deprived, the experienced mom and the mom whose kids are about to leave home.

To the mom who’s desperately looking to God for strength, guidance and wisdom in parenting and to the mom who isn’t there yet.

To the insecure mom, the confident mom and the too-hard-on-herself mom.

To the working mom who helps to support her family but wants to be home with her children.

To the stay-at-home mom who longs to wear an outfit for one day without remnants of food, spit-up or other bodily fluid on it.

To the mom who has learned how powerful it is to pray for her kids.

To the mom who compares herself to others based on what she sees on social media.

To the mom who makes time to spend in prayer and the Word so she can pour life into her kids and point them to Him.

To all of us moms, near and far, young and old, of one child or ten… despite the differences, aren’t we all just trying to do it right?  Isn’t the one thing we have in common is that we love our kids and want to do the best we can by them?  The core of what we have in common far outweighs our differences.  And because of that we connect… we accept…we bond… and we support.  Rather than letting these differences separate us, let us use them to learn from one another, offer each other grace and give a couple high-fives of encouragement.  We truly are on the same team so let’s cheer on our fellow moms!

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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