The Truth About Motherhood

I often wonder when I will finally be The Mother that everyone celebrates on Mother’s Day. But at the end of this bittersweet day for so many, I’m still scratching my head about what that means.

When I was young, it seemed so simple. I tried to spend the day showing my mother I loved her. I made silly cards with handprints and poems, delivered flowers, and even attempted breakfast in bed along with my four younger siblings.

But over the years, life became more complicated.

As an adult, Mother’s Day came and went, and I began to wonder… Will I ever have children of my own? The doctors weren’t so sure.

Eventually my two little miracles arrived. But along with them came significant layers of fear, pain, doubt, miscarriage, addiction, divorce, single parenthood, illness, and other trauma I hadn’t anticipated. And to be honest, it’s hard shake all the baggage of years past and feel celebrated on this day devoted to motherhood.

It’s much easier to succumb to the all-too-familiar feeling that this holiday is set aside for someone else. For my sweet mother. For the other mothers. For that elusive “Mother” of Mother’s Day that I’m never sure I’ll ever be.

This year I finally realized that I’m striving for something that isn’t real.

Living in a digitally saturated world doesn’t help. We are constantly bombarded with Pinterest-perfect images of postcard families in ads, movies, TV shows and social media. Smiling families. Tidy families. Families on vacation. Families celebrating special occasions, having new babies, and cheering on children at graduation, soccer games and dance recitals. Perfection.

And behind those perfect families are perfect Mothers. Right?

When it comes to digital parenting, we fall into the same trap. We assume the perfect Mothers have that all figured out too. They know exactly how to keep their kids safe online and the ideal time to give their kids a cell phone. They’ve read all the latest research and have the inside scoop on parental controls, new digital devices, and filtering software. They know it all and do it all. Right?

Here’s the truth: Motherhood is a process.

The ads aren’t real. No one has it all figured out. And the showcase on social media is a string of highlights. Not real, mundane, down-and-dirty everyday life. Who would want to read a news feed about that?

The truth is, I am enough. And you are enough. We might not be Pinterest-perfect mothers. But that’s kind of the point. We are The Real Moms.

In closing, I would like to share a quote I heard in church today. I hope it lifts your heart as it did mine:

“May I say to mothers collectively, in the name of the Lord, you are magnificent. You are doing terrifically well. The very fact that you have been given such a responsibility is everlasting evidence of the trust your Father in Heaven has in you. He knows that your giving birth to a child does not immediately propel you into the circle of the omniscient. … If you try your best to be the best parent you can be, you will have done all that a human being can do and all that God expects you to do.” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “Because She Is A Mother,” April 1997 General Conference)

So keep it up, mamas. Keep praying and reading and trying and doing what you do best. And remember to be patient with yourself.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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