Thinking back, I remember the days each of my children joined our family like it was yesterday. The excitement. The fear. The love. The anxiousness. The unknown.
I’m sure you do as well.
For our biological children, I remember the hospital. I remember the complications. I remember those first cries. I remember seeing their faces for the first time.
For our adopted son, I remember the trips to Russia. I remember the plane ride home with him. I remember the language barrier. And I’ll never forget the moment of introducing him to his siblings.
Motherhood is rarely what any of us expected. The tantrums, visits to the principal’s office, and personal challenges my children experienced certainly weren’t things on my list of expectations before becoming a mom.
However, whenever I take the time to look back on it, I feel so much gratitude for the journey God had for me. I’ve often said, “You are not a perfect mom. But you are the perfect mom for your kids.” God gave me the perfect kids for me, and the opportunity to nurture each of them uniquely is a special, meaningful, and even professional calling.
I hope you know that today, too.
Motherhood can often feel like it’s equal parts fulfilling and challenging. In this letter, and as we approach Mother’s Day, I just want to share some encouragement with you about a few specific facets of the motherhood journey:
On your identity…
When your children begin to speak and you’re now called “Mom!” seven thousand times a day, how could being a mother not become one of the biggest parts of how you identify yourself?
When I think of who I am, one of the first things that comes to mind for me is that I’m a mom to 5 kids. It’s likely a similar experience for you.
I also want to remind you that you are more than a mom. You are a woman with dreams and interests. Hopes and curiosities. There are certainly sacrifices that being a parent requires, but don’t let those pieces of you go. The intricacies of who you are deeply matter.
Most importantly, though, I want to remind you today how loved you are by God. In fact, He loves you so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to make a way for you to have eternal life with Him. If you have accepted Christ, the Bible says that you are a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). This means that your identity is no longer just in what you like and what you do, but your identity can now wholly be found in the love of Jesus, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
I hope that each of those aspects of who you are settle in your heart in a fresh way as you read this today.
On the frustrations…
Frustrations? In motherhood? Yep…
Sometimes being a parent is just plain old challenging. When kids are young, the days can feel long. Even though you try to savor every moment, it can be hard to take it all in when navigating hard behaviors, keeping track of the details, and just handling the everyday requirements of life with kids.
Then they get a little older and the days still feel long sometimes. Middle school can be confusing. The teen years hold deep-rooted and unique challenges for most kids. Then as our children get older and start to leave the nest, they may make a few more decisions we don’t entirely agree with.
I want you to know that it’s okay to be frustrated during the journey of motherhood. It’s normal, and it’s okay.
I also want you to know, though, that you can release that frustration and replace it with God’s peace. In Philippians 4:6-7, the Bible tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
When we feel those frustrations, we can talk to God about them. His promise is to help us replace that frustration with His peace.
Why does that matter? Well, when we approach motherhood with peace, we have so much more space in our heart for things like joy, empathy, curiosity, and love.
On the impact you’re making…
In the “mundane” of lunch-making, laundry-folding, appointment-making, and homework-completing, it is far too easy to start believing that your role is a small one. A simple one. If motherhood is your “sole” profession, you might even refer to yourself as “just” a mom.
Don’t believe those lies.
You are shaping future generations.
You are creating lasting memories.
You are setting the groundwork for how your children will parent someday.
You are modeling growth and humility.
You are developing self-confidence within your children that could truly change the world.
You are helping your children discover the love of Jesus.
All that because you are a mom.
Lastly, I want to acknowledge that motherhood can feel like a lonely journey sometimes. (My daughter Anne and I share about this in Better Together: Because You’re Not Meant to Mom Alone.)
Especially in the world we live in today, I know that it’s easier than ever to stay isolated. To keep screens between us. To use our free time in ways that feel more “productive.”
We need community, though. I do and you do.
We need people who understand us. Challenge us. Encourage us. Hear us. Love us.
We need to be face to face with those people sometimes.
Finding that community can feel scary or uncomfortable (here’s a great place to start), but it’s worth it. You need people in your corner who you can count on and connect with.
Please don’t rob yourself of the opportunity to connect deeply with others who understand what you’re walking through.
Dear mama, above all else, no matter where you are in the adventure, you have an incredible journey ahead, and you matter. ❤️
Happy Mother’s Day!
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When my children were little, I would often lament to my mother about how hard it was to be a mom and how long the days seemed to be. There were two things she told me, both of which she attributed to my grandmother:
“If you didn’t have them to cry over, you wouldn’t have them to laugh over.”
“The days are long, but the years are short.”
After 22 years of being a mom, I can attest that both statements are true.
*** A note about postpartum depression. I suffered from this after my daughter was born. My mom recognized the signs. To any new mom out there, motherhood is not a bed of thornless roses. It is not the idealized image that we often see or read about. It is hard, and if you feel like you could harm your child or yourself, please, please see your OB/GYN or your primary care physician right away. They can evaluate you for postpartum depression and provide you the help you need. There is no shame in seeking help. The shame would be if you harmed your child or yourself by not doing so. Doctors see postpartum depression a lot. Your baby won’t be taken away from you because you admit to experiencing postpartum depression. Let them help. ***
Such wisdom, Kim. And thank you for the important encouragement you shared about postpartum depression.