Being a Mom

I have a friend who had a baby recently. I sent her an e-mail to encourage her in the difficult days of having a newborn. Robert, my husband, encouraged me to blog about it, but before I share that with you let me just say that I am by no means an expert mother. I don’t think that I’ve got it all together and under control. I am a mother of four beautiful children and the oldest of six. I do feel like in my 9 1/2 years of motherhood that I have learned a few things and I sincerely want to be an encouragement to any mom who might need to hear this.

My mom told me a lot about what to expect once you have a baby. She has six children so she’s
been through a lot as a mom. I felt like I was as prepared as I could have been, but no matter how
prepared you think that you are a lot of things about motherhood are unexpected and frankly kind of ugly. Most of the time you hear how wonderful it is to be a mom and how you never imagined how much you could love this person that you just met. People don’t usually tell you about the nights that they cried right along with their baby at 4 a.m. because they were so exhausted and hormonal. They don’t tell you that while motherhood is one of the greatest joys in life, it is also the hardest job in the world.

I don’t like superficiality. No one is perfect and no one has it all together. We are all in the
trenches of motherhood trying our hardest by the grace of God to raise up tiny warriors for the
Lord. I pray everyday for God to give me patience and strength as a wife and mother. I am so
proud of who my children are becoming. It is so wonderful to see their different strengths and
the way the Lord has gifted them each individually. I am doing my best every day, but to steal a
phrase from my wonderful mama, “my children are who they are in spite of me!” By the grace of
sweet Jesus, our children are who they are only because of Him!

Here is what I shared with my friend. I hope that it can encourage someone today:

Hope that y’all are doing well and getting some sleep. Your baby is beautiful! I know that it’s
not easy adjusting to an infant and I just wanted to encourage you and tell you that you’re doing
a great job. You can read so many books and listen to everyone’s advice about what worked for
them. Ultimately you have to figure out what works for you and your baby. Try to be flexible. If
he’s not on a schedule it’s really ok. Sometimes babies actually need to eat more often than every
three hours especially when they’re going through a growth spurt. I remember at different times
nursing our kids every hour and a half for several days in a row because they were doing just
that. A baby definitely changes your life, but I don’t believe they should change the way that you
do life. I don’t think that you should stop doing anything just because he needs to nap, eat, etc.
Sometimes it’s ok to let them nap or eat on the go or to have a later nap than normal. It’s good to
have somewhat of a normal, but not to be so extreme with it that you feel like you can never do
anything unless it fits into your baby’s schedule.

All of our babies were so different. Some slept well and some did not. Some were good eaters
and others were so distracted or sleepy that I really had to work to get them to eat. What worked
with one did not and still does not always work with all of the others. I hope that this does not
sound like a parenting lecture. I mean it for encouragement for you to relax and enjoy your time with your son. Being a mom is so incredibly difficult and so incredibly wonderful and rewarding
all at the same time. I hope that you know that no one has it all together. Sometimes that’s hard
for me to remember, especially on particularly difficult days. Some days are definitely a lot
harder than others.

I know you’re exhausted. Just remember this is a season. I know sometimes it seems like a
season that may never end, but when you remember back to these days it will seem so short.
Someone once told me that motherhood is filled with long days and short years and I think they
were right. Some days seem like they will never end, like bedtime will never come. Then you
blink and a year, two years, four years have gone by. Our oldest is nine now and I think “when
did that happen?” Having a baby definitely has a bigger affect on a marriage than you ever
expect. Hormones, exhaustion, and your baby’s need for you all of the time affects the way you
sometimes feel towards your husband. It’s hard to feel like being intimate when you’re in “mom
mode” literally 24 hours a day. I remember feeling like our marriage would never be the same as
it was before we had kids and truly it never has been. Thanks be to God our marriage is stronger
now than it ever was before. I love Robert more today than I did when we were first married. It
was a struggle after the birth of each of our children to get that back. A good marriage is hard
work and that is made so blatantly obvious when you are in a difficult situation. You have to
fight through these seasons and stay true to the commitment that you have made to one another.
I’ve heard so many times that love is not a feeling but an action and it is true. You keep loving
your husband and children even when it’s hard. Don’t give up. Fight for your marriage. You will
come out on the other side so much stronger and full of more love for one another than you could ever have imagined.