Mark began the week abruptly with a messy diaper, wet pajamas, and a full-blown tantrum. I sat straight up in bed rubbing the sleep off my eyes as I stared at the clock. Of course he wanted to wake up an hour early!
I washed my face like I was spearing war-paint all over and then dragged my legs down the hall. Mark was really unhappy. We battled all the way downstairs to the changing pad. He wanted to be free, and I was determined to get him cleaned up. Nothing says motherhood quite like a toddler kicking and screaming during the first diaper change of the day.
I love being a mother.
But man this job can be exhausting! I often wonder where I am going to find the energy to get through the rest of a challenging day.
But as we deal with each new phase, from the newborn sleepless nights, to cutting teeth, to toddler tantrums, somehow we figure out a way to put one foot in front of the other. Then, we look around one day and realize that our baby is sleeping through the night, has all of his teeth (almost!), and has outgrown his tantrums (wishful thinking).
Where in the world does a mother’s strength come from?
It comes from the recognition that motherhood is so much more than just a job and that you are molding a young mind that will someday play a role in the world.
It comes from eating cold leftover macaroni because you would rather spend time with the kids than cook something else for yourself.
It comes from sticky hands wrapped around your neck and slobbery kisses.
It comes from middle-of-the-night cuddles with a sick child.
It comes from stories about trucks and dinosaurs read on mommy’s lap.
It comes from seeing those first few steps.
It comes from hearing your child babble “mama” for the first time.
It comes from piggyback rides that encourage fits of giggles.
It comes from the grins of a child being pushed in a swing.
It comes from wiped away tears and scraped knees.
It comes from a tired head resting on mommy’s shoulder.
It comes from bedtime snuggles and kisses.
It comes from the recognition that you are your child’s first teacher about the faith.
It comes from the understanding that raising a child is a gift that not everyone is given.
It comes from the realization that motherhood involves a lot of humility and trust in God.
Sometimes motherhood does not follow the path that we had hoped and our sweet babies meet the Creator sooner than expected. Where does a mother’s strength come from?
It comes from observing the strong women around you and those in the past, and learning from their examples.
It comes from striving to trust in God’s timing and plan.
It comes from time spent on your knees in prayer.
It comes from the prayers of family, friends, and complete strangers.
It comes from the hope that you will someday see that child again.
It comes from the prayers of a tiny saint in heaven.
It comes from God – the Creator, the Alpha and Omega, the Savior, the Redeemer, the Prince of Peace – The one who has a plan much bigger and more perfect than anything we could ever imagine.
Motherhood is truly a journey. It is typically bumpy, takes numerous surprising twists and turns, and our strength to move forward often comes from unexpected places. We regularly find ourselves on a new road we didn’t anticipate facing unforeseen challenges. This isn’t always a bad thing; the challenges from a new road can ultimately help mold us into better parents. With our eyes fixed on God, a bit of prayer, and maybe a few slobbery toddler kisses, we are bound to find the strength to push through the more difficult moments of motherhood toward our ultimate goal of heaven.