Long before we ever became mothers, most of us had a pretty good idea what motherhood was all about. We knew there would be messes, skinned knees, and tantrums. There would be snuggles and perfect moments and giggles. But what most of us didn’t know is that it would be all of these things and so, so much more.
But for all the things that motherhood is, there are just as many things that it isn’t and it’s those things that are sometimes the biggest surprises of all …
Motherhood isn’t fair.
Every woman who has struggled along the path of fertility, every mother who has loved and lost her beautiful child, and every mother who has faced insurmountable odds knows that motherhood isn’t impartial, nor is it always generous or kind. It’s an exercise in faith, an endless marathon of the heart, and a living testimony of resilience.
Motherhood isn’t everything.
While mothering is among life’s most important work, being a mom isn’t the whole of who you are. You’re a partner, friend, daughter, and sister. You’re a citizen, a believer, a doer, and a woman. Mother on and mother on well, but allow your light to shine upon the world at the same time. Give of yourself in service to others, allow your talents to make a difference in the lives of many, and inspire those who are searching. Make good on your many talents and roles for your children, not in spite of them.
Motherhood isn’t easy.
Motherhood demands pieces of your heart you have yet to discover, resourcefulness you never knew you had, and strength you’ve had to dig deep to uncover. It’s remembering the Tooth Fairy after a long and exhausting day, it’s rescheduling an important work meeting to attend that school assembly, and it’s explaining a difficult situation to your child when you can’t seem to find the words. It’s uncertainty and doubt, confusion and raw emotion, but it’s also immeasurable joy, endless wonder, and heart-bursting pride.
Motherhood isn’t punctual.
For every mother who’s waited patiently to become a mom, for every woman still waiting, for every mom running late on account of a missing jelly sandal or baseball cleat, we know all too well that we can’t control the hands of time. Our babies will find their way into our arms when the time is right. Our children will walk, talk, and use the potty when they’re ready. We’ll earnestly attempt to rush schedules and fail, shake our raging fists at the clock and moan, but motherhood will never be rushed for it knows that time passes all too quickly.
Motherhood isn’t one size fits all.
Motherhood isn’t breast or bottle. It isn’t homeschool or public school any more than it’s attachment or free-range. Motherhood is what makes sense for your child in your family. Motherhood is love no matter the choices or circumstances.
Motherhood isn’t tidy.
It’s snot and poop and vomit. It’s jelly-laden fingers and glitter from unknown, yet magical places. It’s stains you’re almost afraid to investigate and dirty diapers that somehow never made it into the trash. It’s gross and hilarious and humbling and liberating!
Motherhood isn’t a competition.
It’s not about who loses the baby weight first or nurses with ease, nor is it the child who walks first or reads above grade level. Motherhood is about giving your all to the small people who own your heart and learning a little something new about yourself every day.
Motherhood isn’t weak.
For all the times you went mama bear, were called to advocate, or forced to remain strong when you weren’t sure you could … motherhood’s bold and tenacious spirit had your back.
Motherhood isn’t the end.
It’s the beginning of so much more. Welcome to a new and beautiful journey of the heart.
Motherhood (through raising children) isn’t for everyone.
For every woman born to mother children, there’s a woman born to mother another way. Whether she mothers a business, personal passion, or her fellow citizens, it’s important for us to remember that the act of mothering isn’t limited to children. It’s about the birth of an idea or a movement through care and affection.