Looking back on the early years of motherhood, many memories are a bit foggy. I learned to navigate my days on shockingly less sleep and inhale meals over the sink. It’s no wonder I now find it difficult to recall significant moments from this blur of a season.
Life, as I’d previously known it, was flipped upside down. But on the wild ride of new motherhood, one memory of my own mother clings to my very being and has been a driving force for over a decade.
While nursing my newborn son and fighting back tears of exhaustion, my mom stood in my closet putting away laundry. She gave me the knowing smile of a seasoned veteran and gently said, “It’s such a wonderful and difficult time. You’re doing a good job.”
Those words spoken over me felt like perfume to my senses. They shook me from my fatigued haze and made me keenly aware of the new life in my arms. With renewed purpose, I marched on in my role as “mom.” As the years go by, I’ve experienced numerous points in time when raising children has brought me back to my mother with similar frustrated tears. Somewhere in our conversation, she will say the words, “It’s such a wonderful and difficult time. You’re doing a good job.”
The phrase infuses life as I walk my motherhood path. I encourage us, as a community, to use it as a balm to our fellow moms who face all-too-familiar challenges along their own roads.
When Moms Feel Alone
It’s a funny thing. You become a mom and, suddenly, you are never alone. You are surrounded physically, mentally, and emotionally. Babies sleep on your chest. Toddlers hang from your legs. Kids grow and their long limbs take up more room on the couch. The noise level ranges, but rarely are our homes (or minds) quiet. And in all of the action, we can feel isolated as moms.
Sometimes we’re just so stinking tired from those babies we adore. We don’t have an extra ounce of energy to connect with the outside world.
Other times, we’re immersed in wildly specific needs for our very unique little (or big) ones. We let ourselves believe no one could relate to our situation. We carry on, untethered, to a support system. “It’s such a wonderful and difficult time.”
>> LISTEN :: Mama’s Best Advice :: Momfessions Podcast :: Episode 5 <<
When Moms Doubt Their Ability
It can be difficult to trust our maternal instincts on a good day. The parenting manuals were lost in the mail, and someone forgot to install the safety nets. There is no dress rehearsal. We are smack dab in this parenting life. We are hit with a myriad of everyday decisions to care for our children.
Top that off with those highly personalized needs I mentioned previously. It can be hard to make decisions. We love these kids at a level we couldn’t fathom before they arrived on the scene. And we know we have the potential to impact a child’s future! We are bound to doubt ourselves as mothers. “It’s such a wonderful and difficult time.”
When Moms Drown in Opinions
I remember as a kid, feeling sorry for my mom when my grandparents came to visit. The older generations threw around opinions like confetti. Thoughts on food, schooling, clothing, disciple . . . it was fair game in their eyes. For a woman trying her best to raise her children, unsolicited advice can invite waves of discouragement. Older generations will always have their thoughts to “share,” but parenting in the age of the internet is an entirely new beast.
We have access to a vast array of opinions on parenting. It’s too easy to get lost in social media’s cacophony of voices. Maybe we use social media to take a few minutes to ourselves. But we can walk away from our screens with those voices overpowering what we know to be true of ourselves. “You are doing a good job.”
When Moms Are in Information-Overload
Both a blessing and a curse, our world is ripe with information. Books, podcasts, and documentaries on any and all subjects are at our fingertips. We carry the latest news in our pocket. Need a statistic on . . . anything? Pull out your phone and read until that universal feeling of panic sets in. We know too much! And knowing too much can create a sense of fear when raising a child in an already scary world. “You are doing a good job.”
What my mom said to me one summer afternoon while hanging a shirt in my closet echoes loudly as I walk the often lonely and discouraging road of motherhood. But she reminds me it can also be a beautiful road. One I am capable and called to walk. Her words are a gift. Gift them to a mother in need today.