For When Motherhood Asks You to Be Brave

My teenager stood at my bedroom door unsure if she should come into the war zone. She was the only child in the house who didn’t have a fever or her own puke bowl.

We were on day six of the Apocalypse, also known as the stomach bug from the pit of Hell. Believe me, you don’t want details. But if it can be washed, it has been. And I’ve cried twice.

We canceled Spring Break plans and I warned people at the door that we were quarantined to our home.

My bedroom was littered with pillows and pallets and pathetic little people.

And I was in the middle of it.

brave

“Mom, aren’t you afraid to catch it?” My teen asked from a safe distance. I had Lysol in one hand and an empty gatorade bottle in the other. I look down at my rumpled shirt and blew my unwashed hair out of my eyes, “Honey, I’m the Mom.”

It was a simple answer that held volumes of truth. It said:

Mothers push past our own fear of sickness, intimidating laundry piles, smells that turn our stomach and we snuggle up to sick breaths and feverish brows because that’s what we do. 

We run straight into danger–whether it’s sickness, hurting kids, temper tantrums or math homework–  we fight the battles instead of turning away from them. 

Some days we long to hold up a white flag of surrender. But instead, we mother on.

Motherhood is about sacrifice. It’s about putting someone else’s needs in front of our own. It’s about risk. It’s about bravery.

It’s about facing our fears head on.

And sometimes it’s a very real danger-the kind that asks you to kneel beside the bed of a desperately ill child or on your knees for a desperately wayward one. The battle can be bloody and heart wrenching.

We don’t always feel strong or courageous. Some days we cry and rant, but we don’t quit. Most days, we feel outnumbered and out of ammo. But our inadequacies don’t make us any less a mother-soldier.

Motherhood is about reaching deep and when you find nothing left to give, you reach for God.

The battle of life is, in most cases, fought uphill; and to win it without a struggle were perhaps to win it without honor. If there were no difficulties there would be no success; if there were nothing to struggle for, there would be nothing to be achieved. -Samuel Smiles

I’m tired. I hurt for my kids. I’m disappointed sickness consumed our week. (But I am rejoicing that my little sick platoon can aim their vomit in a container now-silver lining).

I’m learning: When God stops you in your tracks, it’s time to slow down and pull close.

Just not too close, ifyouknowwhatImean.

My daughter returned to the Sick Room, holding two bright balloons she’d decorated for her siblings. She crossed over and handed them the simple gift and it made us all smile. Then she said the words I dreaded, “Mom, I don’t feel so well…” My husband came home a couple of hours later with the same confession.

And even though this battle is small and fleeting, I’ll conquer it. It will strengthen me for the unseen ones ahead.

Because it’s not if I’ll need to be brave again, it’s just a matter of when.


Comments

  1. says

    In times like these I repeat to myself over and over again, “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me” and He has NEVER let me down…not even once. He is so faithful!

  2. Kim says

    Kristen – you are such an inspiration! So well said. I find myself thinking of your past blogs and posts whenever I feel overwhelmed in this mom thing. It really does help to know that others are going through similar battles. Our kids’ ages are similar, but not the same; so there are a lot of close comparisons. (Mine are 12 girl, 12 boy, 6 boy).

    Would love to get together sometime if you’re in the Mansfield/Arlington area or if we come through your area.

    Be encouraged! You are an encourager!

    Love,
    Kim

  3. says

    So sorry for the plague. It’s awful. But it will end and your children will remember forever how you cared for them. Someday they will model the same sacrificial love for their own families. Prayers for y’all’s recovery.

  4. says

    Oh jeepers crow! The Plague is awful. Praying it hastens its departure. This was a beautiful piece of truth-telling. Being the mama entails having much more than a stiff upper lip. And each battle won does indeed prepare us for what’s around the corner. I was completely encouraged by this post!

  5. Lori says

    oh goodness – hang in there! I’m with you that the step of being able to puke into a container is HUGE

  6. Kristi F says

    Thank you for your inspiring story! You sure will get close with your family when they’re sick, won’t you? Speaking from recent experience with this same bug in our home, Lysol won’t work. But bleach water does wonders! All the best for your return to a healthy home!

  7. Heather S. says

    Had this over Christmas (literally started on Christmas Eve and ended Dec 29) – 3 out of 4 of us. I sooooo feel your pain! You can do this through HIS strength – Mother on!

  8. says

    So sorry to hear your troop is under siege! But I love your words of honesty and bravery. Much needed at a time when I feel tired too. Prayers for health for your house! Thanks for sharing!

  9. says

    When I first caught puke in my hands, I felt like I’d earned my mommy stripes. I was about 6 months pregnant with my first baby, and was taking care of my nephew who ended up not feeling so well. In that moment I said to myself, “I am TOO cut out for this mommy business!”

  10. says

    Wow! I have so been there. In January – February 2011, my two girls (ages 1 and 4 at the time) got the flu and step throat 2 times each. It started with Katie (the oldest). She had it the first week. Then Kinsley got it the next week, and then history repeated itself the following 2 weeks. The second round was worse than the first. Katie threw up for 6 days. The doctor prescribed enimas for her. Didn’t get one in. She just wasn’t having it. I missed a month of work. We survived, but anytime one of them gets the flu now, I ship the other one out the door.

  11. says

    If I might suggest that you Youtube the shortfilm “The butterfly circus”. It is amazing. Then perhaps watch the incredible life changing story of Nick Vujicic. He was born without arms or legs and has mastered skills that I can’t imagine. He is an amazing testimony. I hate the flu. My son had scabies earlier this year and it terrified me. Little monster mites living under my sons skin. How do you explain them to a 2.5 year old? He couldn’t understand why I could let him waller all over me. Why he couldn’t lay on his sister. Yet, as a family of warriors we washed everything, and showered our love on him. We are love warriors.

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