Last weekend I was invited to an afternoon tea for moms at a friend’s home. I’ll admit that I was a little, or maybe completely, out of my element. I’m a true Texan girl so I drink more tea than water but I drink it the right way: sweet and iced. I wasn’t really sure how to act at a table full of fancy dishes, kettles and a box full of fancy teas. I didn’t break or spill anything though so I call that a win. (Looking back I think I have been spending too much time with my children when that counts as a win.)
After tea, everyone moved into the living room for a Bible study. We settled into Ann’s big couches with ice cold cucumber water and sat quietly while she opened with a prayer. It was a simple prayer but something in it struck me. Of course she thanked God for the chance to spend an afternoon with friends and learning about His word but then she thanked Him for motherhood.
Thanking God for motherhood really struck me. We are often told to give thanks for our children and our families. Even on the worst days, my kids are a blessing like no other. Each of them is an answer to a desperate prayer. I think there is a difference between being thankful for my kids and appreciating this amazing identity that is so much a part of me.
Motherhood did not come easy to me. I remember hours spent praying in the rocking chair of the room that would become our nursery for the children I was yet to meet. I remember bitter tears and living in the story of Hannah. I also remember what it was like to finally be accepted into the global club of women who understand what it means to love a tiny human with more passion than you ever thought possible.
I know many others who have lost babies or waited years for children who never come. I know women who have chosen to share their homes and hearts with other women’s children and have had their motherhood questioned. I know others for whom parenting was thrust upon them against their will or ahead of their schedule but they have risen to the occasion.
Mothering has been the most rewarding and the most devastating thing I have ever done. It has been both the easiest thing and the hardest. Motherhood is not simply something I do. It is a part of me. It is a piece of my identity. I am a mother in the same way that I am a woman and a Christian and a Texan. Like every other permanent identity, motherhood shapes the way that I see the world and interact with the people in it.
There are days when I struggle as a mom. There are times when I feel inadequate or I am convinced that someone else is better suited to this brood. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the daily responsibilities and the constant pressures that come along with parenting. Some days I think I need to be reminded that motherhood is a gift. These children, this family, and this entire identity are blessings. I’m thankful than that.