When I was a little girl, I loved dolls. And, oh, the care I took in the dolls that belonged to me. Their hair was always styled to my liking, their clothes were meticulously coordinated and they were always carefully put up in their rightful place, most often their crib, to ensure they were comfortable enough to get their much needed beauty rest.
Caring for my baby dolls as a young girl was pretty much what I knew about caring for an infant. So, I was confident that, if anything, River’s hair would be combed. His clothes would be neat, tidy and, most importantly, cute. And, that he’d have a cozy place to rest. So very little did I know… Fourteen and a half months into being River’s “Muh-ma” and, sometimes, “May-me,” I know that combed hair happens once a day, and, on good days, his entire head of hair gets combed, not just one side, the front or the back. Most days, he starts out with a well coordinated outfit, but, by the end of the day, it’s soaking wet with drool and stained from various types of food he’s dropped throughout the course of the three meals he’s had that day. And, that cozy place to rest exists, but it doesn’t enter the picture until he’s been bathed, snuggled up in his jamas and sleep sack, taken eight ounces of milk, burped, been read to, loved on, prayed for, and, yawn, put in his crib.
Unlike the days of caring for my dolls, when the day winds down, I’m as they say, “tired as a mother,” literally. A job that looks simple and somewhat monotonous is also filled with nine innings of curveballs and a thousand invisible side jobs that only a mom can do. It’s the greatest joy and the most challenging job. When I’m not feeding River or playing with River or getting River down for his nap, I’m trying to take care of the basics for myself, be a decent wife, mother, sister and friend, run a business and rest (well, that last one, let’s just say I’m still working on). Motherhood is not an eight hour a day job. It’s a twenty-five hour a day job.
While the job is demanding, it’s also quite rewarding. I can say, without question, that I delight in doing anything for my precious son- changing his diaper, chopping up his fruit, taking him for a walk, getting him ready for church, being silly with him, singing to him and the list goes on and on and on. On the days when I feel “tired as a mother,” I remember my mother who did all these things and more, backwards and in heels x 2. When she nursed me back to life after being a sick baby, she never complained. When my Dad passed away, and she had to assume being the mother, the father and the breadwinner, she never complained. When she carried and picked me up from various school activities, she never complained. When I decided I wanted to attend a university halfway across the country, she never complained. When I got laid off my first job with no job leads and even less savings to live on, she never complained. When my second Dad (and, her beloved husband) was dying and I was coming home from the hospital with River and needed her support, she never complained. I mean, my Mom never EVER complained.
Through every season of my life and my sister’s life, she’s loved us boldly. And, I use the word “boldly” because I feel confident that there have been times when we were difficult to love. That sort of love, commitment and devotion is unparalleled and, quite frankly, the closest thing to being Christlike that I’ll ever witness this side of heaven.
I don’t know that there’s any greater gift than that of being a Mom nor is there a job more challenging. But, when I’m “tired as a mother,” I remind myself of the example set before me, and redirect my energy to being “awesome like MY mother.” I’ll work day and night and never quite get there, but I’ll strive to manifest all her love, her commitment and her devotion as I mother my little boy. And, in the process, I’ll do just as I know my Mom has always done by thanking an awesome God for the great gift of being “Muh-ma.”
To every single Momma out there, there’s not a thing in this world more beautiful than you. We love you. We celebrate you. We are inspired by you. Happy Mother’s Day!