"Wow, you've really got your hands full."
"Are they all yours?"
"You must be so busy. I don't know how you do it."
Since adding a 4th child to our family this past winter, these comments and many others have begun to abound when we set foot outside our home (I know- still such a small family, right?). In fact, they began even earlier, when I first had a toddler and a newborn, and salespeople would shake their heads and cluck sympathetically.
Sadly, it’s common to hear negative remarks about children in our society. People frequently grumble about the expense, the noise, the trouble, the mess, yes the burden of children.
But moms, I have to ask this question (and I’m asking myself along with you)… what are WE saying about children?
Last week and this week, I’ve been taking all the kids to a local swimming pool for lessons every morning. Each 30 min. session of lessons requires getting everyone ready at home, packing up towels, soap, combs, clean underwear, and the proverbial kitchen sink, then driving there, getting them ready and into the pool, watching lessons, showering and dressing afterwards, back out to the car (lugging a heavy baby seat because my stroller is broken), and then driving home in an un-air conditioned van. It's a 2+ hour marathon.
These lessons have honestly felt like a chore to me most days, instead of the fun activity I wanted them to be (granted, the kids are having fun and learning water safety, so I've achieved my goal).
When someone sees me red-faced, struggling along with my brood, tired, back aching, trying to keep everyone safe as we navigate the massive and crowded pool parking lot, and they comment “you sure have your hands full” or “glad it’s you, not me”, I’m sorely tempted to agree with their assessment of the situation.
When I find myself in the dirty, sticky, sweaty, exhausting trenches when motherhood feels hard, I’m not likely to wax eloquent about the blessings of children and why I love being a mom. More often than not, I’m liable to nod and sigh and agree that my lot in life is hard indeed.
But I'm wrong.
I’m wrong when I complain and whine and agree that motherhood is too hard. I’m wrong when I fail to affirm the beauty and sheer privilege that it is to know and raise up these precious little ones.
I’m wrong when I go along with the culture’s flawed perspective on children and their value. And I'm most definitely wrong when I refuse to open my mouth to attest to the goodness of God’s plan for families, to treasure and be enriched by the children He's given us.
Mothers, we get all up in arms when we sense that society is belittling us, making our choice to be with our children trivial and insignificant, and portraying motherhood as a mindless career full of nose-wiping, potty-training and crust-cutting. It angers us when we are demeaned and looked down upon as mothers. But what are we doing about it?
When was the last time that you took a stand for motherhood?
When someone says, “are they all yours?” do you smile and say “yes, I am so blessed” and really mean it? When a full-time career woman with no children wonders aloud how you can handle being home with your young children all day, are you quick to tell her that you can’t imagine doing anything more fulfilling and that you love spending your days with your kids?
I’m not a particularly emotionally-expressive person. My husband sometimes has a hard time knowing when I am especially happy, or enjoying myself. He knows I feel it on the inside and think it in my head and sometimes I express it in simple words, but he occasionally reminds me that I also need to “tell my face”.
Perhaps we need to “tell our face” that we love being a mom.
We need to make it abundantly clear, both to ourselves and to the others watching us that loving our kids is more than lip service. Of course we all adore our kids, but we need to show that we also love being with them. That we cherish their companionship. That caring for them and serving them day in and day out is a true privilege and unspeakable joy for us. That there's nothing burdensome about it.
I’m going to start us on a list of reasons why I love being a mom. And then I want you all to finish for me, with your own reasons why you also love being a mom.
Here are some ways that you can join me:
1. You can leave a comment sharing why you love being a mom.
2. You can pin this post, along with your own reason.
3. You can share this on Facebook with a reason.
4. You can tweet your reason.
I would love nothing better than to see this post go viral, not because of anything I’ve written but because other moms got on board and publicly shared what makes being a mom so unbelievably great.
Things that I love about being a mom:
- Holding a sleeping baby and feeling their soft, warm breath
- The make-believe worlds of my children
- Toddler pronunciations... affority (authority), babing suit (bathing suit), ank oo (thank you), chik-munk (chipmunk), or the entire way that my son speaks, like a mix between a southern and English accent (um, random?)
- My 3 year old blond imp of girl, sweetly shrugging her shoulders at me and smiling to try to get her own way
- Praying with and hugging my kids after I have to discipline or correct them
- Gathering on the couch to read a good book together
- Watching my first baby girl begin to metamorphasize into a lovely young lady
- A very full queen-sized bed when all four come and join us on deliciously lazy mornings
- Blueberry-stained children after a Saturday morning pancake breakfast
- My 5 year old son, stealthily creeping down stairs before anyone else is up, asking if he can join me for devotions
- Seeing my children learn to show generosity and kindness and compassion to others
- Bouquets of dandelions, daisies, honeysuckles and other assorted weeds