What is motherhood?
Or maybe…the angel Gabriel. He laid the heaviest burden imaginable on a teenager. An unmarried teenager. It wasn’t just motherhood it was her calling, her whole purpose. It was what God had put Mary on the earth for…to be the foster mother of his son. Now why can’t I look at my life that way? It’s not because I think my daughter is less of a calling (she’s obviously not God incarnate), but its more that I get bombarded every single day with images of do more and be more and do it better and do it all. And the lie that you can have it all.
I struggle daily with my own ideas about motherhood and being a wife. I don’t want to be the 50s version. Or the 70s version. Or the 90s version. Or to go farther back…before women even had the vote. I want to be me. I want to read books all day and not change out of our pyjamas. I want to go to lunch with friends and walk the fields of my childhood home while that little hand is wrapped around my finger. I want to have a job eventually and I want to have a hobby. I just want to be me. But most of all I want teach my daughter everything I know. I want to teach her that she has to be herself in a world that’s trying to make cookie cutter women. Women who all look like super models and have just the right IQ, who are party planners, interior decorators, fashionistas…everything at once.
I want to teach my daughter this because I need it too. I need to show her what a godly mother, wife, woman, and member of society is. I need to teach her how to change a tire, build fences, imagine whole worlds, read, write, create, do her taxes…all those million things her Dad and I won’t be able to do for her one day. But I won’t be able to.
I’m so far from perfect. The love I have for my daughter is horribly tainted by this world. I get mad at her and freak out when she almost rolls off the couch onto the hardwood floor and I don’t always re-read her ABC book 10 times like she wants. I want so desperately to be her hero, her confidant, protector, and the one she goes to for everything the world can’t give her, like just a hug when a boy breaks her heart.
In the end motherhood is harder than the workload of a CEO, CFO, CMO, HR, and legal counsel all crammed into one job. But it’s also infinitely more rewarding. Clients don’t take their first steps and the law doesn’t say “I love you” before going to sleep and at the end of the day money doesn’t wrap its arms around you and ask you to kiss their “wowie” (any and all boo boos) and then say “all bebber” with a smile.
So when it’s a long day and your back aches and you didn’t get anything done you were supposed to…you think of Mary. You remember that you are a foster mother to one of the Most High’s precious children and that he chose you specifically for this purpose.
I only have Little Miss Owl for a short time. Soon she will marry a wonderful man and she will love someone else more than her Dad and I. And then one day we will be in a hospital room smiling at each other while her Dad cries over his first grandchild. And then I’ll tell her everything I learned and everything I still struggle with as she herself carries the mantle of motherhood.
images courtesy of Courtney Jacobs Photography