Yesterday, I received a message from an awesome mother that ended like this:
mommy doing the best damn job she can do….
I wrote her back telling me that her signature made me teary.
It was almost refreshing in a way. Here she was, writing me, thanking me for being real, and in those brief words she was more real, more honest, more open, then I had been in an entire post. I tend to hide sometimes. Yes, yes, yes, I write about motherhood and the ups and downs.
But, listen. She’s right in her description. Sometimes that’s how I feel as well.
Sometimes I just don’t have the courage to write it. To express it. To throw my hands in the air and to shout I’m doing my best. Even though inside I have those moments where I sit in my kitchen wondering if I should be doing more. Or if I’m really cut out for this mothering thing.
You know what I appreciated about that sweet reader’s signature?
I loved it because it’s real.
Motherhood isn’t rainbows and daisies and glitter glue and confetti all the time.
Oh, there are moments. Moments that make the tears tumble from our eyes. Moments at birth, those birthdays, those times chasing a bike that our now five year old is peddling away on. There are moments rocking in chairs, walking hand in hand, watching our ballerinas spin, and watching the tassel switch over as they graduate. It’s moments of love, hope, wonder, and joy. Sometimes motherhood is like Hallmark on steroids. It’s the culmination of all those thank you mom commercials smooshed together like the sweetest frosting on the perfect birthday cake.
Savor those moments. For real. Celebrate those moments. And celebrate those moments when your friends have them as well. Don’t compare. Celebrate. I’m not joking. When you have those awesome tears dripping from your eyes and your own I’m so ridiculously happy moments you want others to share your joy. So share it with others as well.
And yet, yet, still there are the moments that are just moments. Moments doing the same thing over and over again. Moments where the phone rings and it’s a bill collector and you’re stuck deciding to pay them or get food. There are moments crying in the car as the reality of the doctor’s diagnosis sets in. There are moments of slammed doors, walking into mom’s groups feeling inadequate, moments with spilled milk, broken appliances, and a plain huge amount of giving. There are moments where your kid messes up and you’re left wondering how in the world that happened. There are tired times. Times that feel so incredibly lonely. Times where no one seems to understand. There is exhaustion. Worry.
It’s hard sometimes. And I’ll admit that too.
Sometimes I think it’s very easy to let these rose colored glasses cloud our vision of real motherhood. Can we all stand up? Look at each other? And tell each other that motherhood is so often about doing the very best we can be and yet we still struggle wondering if it’s enough? We worry about failing our kids. We worry that we’re doing enough. We worry that our kids are going to turn out. We worry that we’re not good moms. We worry. We wonder.
And that’s normal, honestly. Do you know why?
It’s because we love our kids.
You love your kids.
You love the awesome moments. You hate the hard moments (just like I do).
You have times where you just want to scream to the world that you’re being the best mother you can be and that you’d like just a moment to breathe or for others to see how hard you’re working.
And you know what? You are. Motherhood can’t be graded, qualified, or ranked. Motherhood is a collection of little things matter moments strung together creating a tapestry of life. It’s a story, really. And all the best stories have moments of angst, trials, pulling up the boot straps, about finding self, and trying again. And a whole lot of doing the best one can even though it feels like it’s not enough. But in those stories are also moments of amazing triumph. Of the rainbow moments mixed within creating a picture dotted with such a variety of moments and colors that it becomes unbelievably beautiful.
It’s beautiful because it’s vivid. Full of ups and downs woven together to create your story.
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You know what finding joy is about? It’s not about slapping a perfect cookie cutter outlook on life or motherhood or our journey. Finding Joy is about being determined to live a life finding moments of joy tucked into the normal, good, and plain old downright hard. Motherhood is this crazy cool journey that we’re blessed to venture through. And it has those moments of happiness laced within, but it also has those times where we’re simply wanting to throw the flag and wave surrender.
It’s hard to describe. But I know you get it. I mean I have had moments wondering why on earth a four year old who won’t stay in bed and I have to deal with it for two hours is so frustrating. And yet, yet it totally is in that moment. Or times spent sitting at the table for hours while your ten year old decides that homework wasn’t on the agenda. Motherhood is this place of reasoning, trying again, feeling like one is failing, or overwhelmed mixed with all of those sparkling glittering Hallmark moments.
I think it’s healthy to dialogue about both. Let’s not be a generation of women who are stuck complaining about motherhood. Nor let us be a generation who hide behind masks of an idyllic and perfectionist life. There is you. Now. In the midst of the ebb and flow of life. In a life with minutes and moments and joys and sorrows. And you’re not only being a mother but also you. You with hopes and dreams and worries and all of that mixed together.
So to you, the reader who told me she’s doing the best damn job she can do I tell you that I believe you. And, in fact, I appreciate you. I say awesome.
Let’s celebrate being the best mothers we can be.
Not wallowing in negativity. Not painting a faux picture. Being real.
Hey, you, you the real brave mother. Carry on.
Be the best mother you can be.
This was exactly what I needed this morning – after waking up anxious again for no particular reason, and wondering if this mothering thing will ever feel less overwhelming. I love your posts, they always strike a nerve in exactly the way I need them too. Thank you for being so open and honest and gentle with all that goes along with Motherhood. I really appreciate it, in so many ways. And I totally agree, I think we are all doing the best job we can do and really need to honour that. Thank you!
Yes, yes, yes! Sometimes I think we forget the beauty in the effort and all the trying. Hooray for you today!
All we can do is the best we can and trust our precious children to the God who gave them to us to care for!
Yes ! Thank you… once again, I needed this reminder. Even though it’s at the end of the day – sometimes the best feelings about being a mommy is these moments of three sleeping beauties (one is a boy!) – sawing logs. I love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
They’re safe, HOME! and comfortable…
Yes, yes, and yes.
i love looking at them sleep – gives me perspective.
I have tears. Girl, I am so thankful for you writing this and being bold enough to help put the message out there!
Thank you. It was a moment of bravery, I tell you. I had a friend that kept saying, “click publish. click publish.” So I did.
As always, thank you. Yesterday was one of those days. My almost potty trained 3 year old had 3 accidents. By the 3rd one, along with everything else from the day, I lost it. I yelled, I slammed a cabinet. I told her she knows to go on the toilet. Then I cried and felt horrible, I hugged and apologized. As I was saying I’m sorry and telling her I just needed to hug her a little, she patted me on the back and said, “It’s ok mommy, I love you.” Then I cried some more.
I have had those moments — they’re so humbling — but they really do give beautiful perspective. It’s just so easy to lose the beauty in what we do. And I’m telling you – potty training is the worst. (one of my least favorite things ever).
You are a good mom. Blessings to you today.
Thank you thank you thank you for this one today!
Your blog has totally blessed me. So glad my friend introduced it to me. You’re so encouraging and full of wisdom from the Lord. Your words are a beautiful thing to moms out there. Thank you.
I love reading your posts because I know that you understand my emotions. But tonight, as I sit here crying while my twin boys are asleep, I struggle to even see the words. The emotions you brought out with your words are nearly too much. Yet it is also a welcome release. I am separated and when I recently learned that you too are a single mom, I was floored because you seem to have it so together. Thank you for helping me realize that I have been doing my best and that my soon-to-be ex was what was keeping me from realizing my full potential happiness because he didn’t appreciate that being a mother is tough work, let alone a full-time working mom of twin boys. Thank you for helping me find my inner strength to stand up to him to let my inner joy out.
This piece is beautiful and brought tears to my eyes. It’s wonderful and I will be sharing it.
My own daughters are grown now and are just embarking on the incredible trip of motherhood. They have asked for my insight and counsel numerous times, but I think that you captured the essence of being “the best mother” I can be with your comment:
“Motherhood is this crazy cool journey that we’re blessed to venture through.”
I’ve certainly learned to see my mistakes and my successes for what they are…part of the tapestry of life.
Thanks for sharing from your heart!