For Mother's Day this year, I have one small request.
Please, fellow mamas, stop warning me that motherhood is passing me by too quickly.
Because I get it: one day, I will look up and my daughter, who is just starting high school, will be in a graduation gown. My ten-year-old twins will be parallel parking. My seven-year-old chubby-cheeked baby will be texting his girlfriend.
I have heard your warnings and I promise not to complain no one told me. I might even had a T-shirt made: “I get it. It goes fast. I AM ENJOYING IT!”
Here’s why I need your encouragement and grace much more than I need your warnings and expectations:
First, life is more than motherhood.
I have been at this mom-ing thing for more than a decade. Do I remember every first step and every toothless grin? Of course not.
But I do remember enough to know that each of them delighted my heart at the time. Every wobbly step and Christmas-morning moment was so fun, so joy-filled right then.
Know what else has brought me unbelievable joy? The first time I danced with my husband, all the times I have snort-laughed with my friends, and every Technicolor sunset I’ve watched.
A life of gratitude—one tuned to the unique blessings from God—is filled with one million moments that will take your breath away. Let’s celebrate each of them.
Let’s not tell each other that washing your baby’s hair is all there is and joy disappears when she can do it herself.
Second, let’s not mourn our children’s growing independence.
My daughter is starting high school soon and we are about to witness one significant moment after another—dances, and driving, and the drama of the SAT.
Then, in four years, she will pack up her room and drive to college, where she will (God-willing) be a servant-hearted, Christ-loving member of society. Hallelujah and pass the chocolate.
Because, what exactly is the alternative? Suggest that when she leaves home she takes with her my identity? That’s a lot of extra baggage for her to pack up with her new dorm-room comforter.
Or worse, paralyze her independence by convincing her that childhood is where the magic is and life only gets complicated after she moves out?
That’s a lie. I have zero interest in fulfilling some Pinterest-version of life that piles magical expectations on any hard, sinful season of this life.
Childhood, like adulthood, is complicated with so many mistakes and failures and all you can really count on is the life-giving grace of our God. That is the constant, whether you’re celebrating your 13th birthday, your 30th, or your 93rd.
Third, moms need encouragement, not more expectations.
Yes, motherhood is a gift, but it is also so hard. Those of us in the thick of it don’t have the luxury of zooming out and understanding which decisions were right and which were catastrophic. Not yet.
We are zoomed in very closely on whether it’s time to wean the baby, if our struggling reader should repeat kindergarten, and what age is right for her to have her own phone.
We all feel much like my husband, the marathon runner. At Mile 18 of his race, he is in zone of putting one foot in front of the other. He is bone-tired, frustrated with his performance so far, and trying his best to finish.
At that moment, he needs water and cheering. He does not need me to pull him aside and tell him he should really be enjoying this experience more.
So, to those of you moms who have the finish-line gift of perspective, remember how it felt to be terrified you’re not doing it right. Meet us young(er) mamas where we are and give us the encouragement we need at a soul-deep level.
Finally, remind us of the sweet grace we have through His Son, Jesus.
We want this more than you can imagine. We don’t need more expectations piled on us during this delicate season. We are so hungry for the good news that even this season (especially this season) is filled with our disappointments and failure and sin—and that’s okay.
Why? Because we also have Easter, and the empty tomb, and a God who loves us, even when we totally mess up this mothering thing.
And yes, we hear you, motherhood is precious.
And it all passes in the blink of an eye.