Being a mom hasn’t always come ‘naturally’ to me.
I am crazy in love with our three kids. But let’s be honest, when they were born I didn’t cry with happiness, I was more like, ‘who are you and what in the world am I supposed to do now?!?’ Motherhood has been a journey; a challenging and beautiful journey. I tell our kids often as they’re growing, ‘the bigger you get the more of you there is to love’. And I do cherish how our love grows as they grow, as we continue to ‘get to know each other’.
I spent many years feeling shame for being on a motherhood journey, that I needed to journey at all and hadn’t already arrived. I wanted to start where I am today, 13 years in, but that wasn’t possible, at least not for me. I remember when I was pregnant with our first child and spent HOURS watching ‘A Birth Story’ and crying right alongside the moms featured on the show as they brought their little bundles of joy into the world. That to me was the benchmark: love at first sight. So when my response was different I felt their was something wrong with me. I realize now that I needed to be kind to myself and embrace the adventure of being a mom.
Embrace it I have surely done, but this too has been a process. When we had our third child my husband gave me a ‘push present’. It was a little silver bracelet with 3 jewels. He told me as I wear it to remember that our children are treasures and not chores. This little reminder changed my life and changed my motherhood. For a year I never took it off, instead whenever mothering our 3 kids overwhelmed me (which was quite often!) I looked at that little bracelet and breathed a prayer: ‘help me treasure our children right now’.
It didn’t happen overnight, but gradually I found more and more joy in being a mom. I felt my approach melt from feeling overwhelmed by all there was to do, instead, to allowing myself to let some of the chore list go. I exchanged the less essential things (like folded laundry - seriously!) for being more present in the moment. Our kids care little about the dishes in the sink, but they love playing ‘go fish’ on the shag rug together. Floor time, face time, together time - matters. And as I tried to be more intentional with the cherishing I found that even the chores of motherhood slowly became more of a joy as well, much to my surprise.
I began to open my heart to loving and being loved fully. This also surprised me that it took intentionality and didn’t come naturally. Kids love unconditionally and this is such a beautiful thing. I am so critical of myself and yet they see through a completely different lens. This gift melted my heart further until it felt almost overwhelming = love. This bubbling of love I feel for our kids seemed as if it was all-of-the-sudden when in reality I know it’s an answer to years of prayer, surrender, heart-work and growth. Even the emotion of deeply missing them when they are away visiting their grandparents now is refreshing. Before I mostly felt relief at the chance to have a break and now I count down the hours until they are home. This feels sweet. And I want to continue growing in this journey of motherhood and love.
I write this to give you hope if you are a mom struggling in similar ways to balance the mounting tasks of motherhood alongside cherishing your kids. Stay the steady good course and let love surprise you. Let go of anything you can that isn’t essential that might be choking your heart in loving freely. I know it’s easier said than done, but I invite you to embrace a bit of intentionality and assessment. Steal away for a bit (if possible) and pray about how you can love your kids better (and your husbands - I know that’s a whole other blog, but really it’s all so connected!). What ways are you seeing them as chores and what ways are you / can you treasure them more?
Summer is here and with that brings a whole lot more time with our wiggly kiddos. I have mixed feelings about the change of pace it brings but am choosing to be okay with being less productive with my days. Instead, I’ll spend more time in the salve of the sunshine with our kids, get dirt on my knees and under my nails, and do cannon balls into the pool where I may or may not have a margarita waiting on the table (virgin ones for the kids!). Enjoying summer together like this is a newer thing for me, but it’s so much better. I’ve spent so many years safe on the sidelines. I don’t know why. I don’t know what I was waiting for. But I’m done waiting and I’m diving in.
Let’s dive in together. Here’s a little video to help, think of it as a diving board ; )
I wrote this song, More Than Diamonds, after a surprisingly sweet summer day playing outside with our three kids. Life rarely—well, never—looks like a Norman Rockwell painting. But this day came close. I remember kisses, tickles and giggles as we tucked the kids in that night. I was lying on the floor with our two-year-old under a fort we’d just built, my face next to his. I said, “I love you!” He leaned in closer (I thought he was going to kiss me) and he said, “I love jelly beans!” And that sealed it. I HAD to write this song!
Here’s to motherhood and loving well. Hats off to all you momas out there. Here’s to cherishing all the little things with our little (and not so little) ones! Here’s to the journey and the adventure!