My sweet friend became a mom two weeks ago.
Yesterday, after church I took my family to meet her new baby.
And I brought chocolate.
I noticed the plush baby blanket on the sofa and the changing table in the corner of the living room.
The tiny bundle of pink was tucked into the portable baby swing sitting on the center of the coffee table in the middle of the room, in the center of their home, in the epicenter of their lives. And a bunch of people were standing around her.
This is what a child does to our home and hearts. They rearrange our furniture, our priorities and our lives and become the center of it.
And we work the rest of their lives trying not to let them stay the boss of us.
My friend placed her most precious gift into my own baby’s arms. My daughter looked proud and then when the baby started squirming, a little uncertain. Before long, the baby was crying as only newborns can do.
And in an instant, my friend scooped her up, changed her diaper and bounced–as only moms can do–soothing her.
Tiny pink legs pushed against mom flesh,”I think she has gas or maybe she needs to eat,” my friend said.
It was beautiful. And it was hard.
My husband and I shared eye contact because we remember these days.
Baby cries continued and we stood to leave. I took a mental snapshot of this little family because some days it’s good to remember how far we’ve come.
I also recognized the uncertainty and the exhaustion and although the parenting season has certainly changed for our family, I am still the uncertain and exhausted mother more days than I’m not.
My babies still cry and push against me. Craving comfort, needing me, but struggling for independence.
This is motherhood.
It’s the hardest, most challenging job we will ever do.
We are handed tiny humans wrapped in soft blankets and in no certain words told, “There’s no instruction manual. And just as you think you’ve got them figured out, they will change. Oh, and keep them alive.”
We cry, worry, fret, regret.
We mend, bend and refuse to break.
We wonder, anticipate, expect and forget.
We love, give, sacrifice.
We would die to keep them alive.
As we drove home, I had one kid not speaking to me and the other two arguing and picking at each other. I texted my friend, “You are doing a great job, Mom.”
Isn’t that we need to hear?
We don’t get annual reviews, evaluations or a salary. We don’t get sick days or time off. Most moms go days without appreciation and weeks without a thank you. But that doesn’t mean we stop loving, giving and serving.
From moms who are expecting their first child to moms who are expecting their 10th grand baby, for mothers of rebellious children to moms of righteous ones, to stretched-thin adoptive mothers and worn out foster mamas –we are simply doing our best.
So, you there with your mom bun and yoga pants in carline and you with the toddler who won’t sleep, you homeschooling this morning and you with the burned dinner and angry teen tonight, you with the precious special need child and you with the house full of sick kiddos, you there with the tiny newborn—what you’re doing matters.
You’re not a perfect mother. You don’t have it all together. You don’t always know what you’re doing–but you’re trying and that means more than you know.
Mothering is the hardest job you will ever do.
And just in case no one has told you today…
Mom, you’re doing a great job.