Matter Over Mind
Motherhood. Just the word stirs up a myriad of emotional complexities that make my head spin.
Does it ever feel like it's just too much?
The physical, mental, emotional, and psychological work that being a mom requires is enough to send any person into a panic, no matter how many great routines and rhythms you've got in place.
From the moment our children are entrusted to our care, we become uniquely tuned in to what they need, when they need it, how we can best provide it for them, and what to do when it all gets turned upside down. The amount of time that I have personally spent in a legitimate panic over how to deal with all of the “mommy choices” that come up in even just one day are really mind-blowing.
What a mother knows and what a mother can do is special. We know our children in a way that no one else on this earth can know them. Being a mom is a precious gift, so why then do we worry that we’re messing it up?
I struggle with it. Motherhood, I mean.
I never even thought I would be a mom, so I never spent much time thinking about what I would do or what I would say or how I would feel about taking care of other human beings. And the thoughtful and seemingly endless work that this job requires makes the struggle all too real. And that can be overwhelming.
My brain tells me that I can’t be the kind of mother my daughter deserves. And how could I say that’s a lie when I know who I was before I became her mom? All of the terrible choices. All of the awful things I said and did to myself and to others. If I'm not careful, even I'll start to believe the lie that because I don’t have it all together, and especially because being a mom doesn’t feel right or come naturally, my girls will suffer.
At times, I doubt myself. In certain cases, I lack confidence in my ability to do this job. The question is why. Am I not the most qualified person to do it? Is there someone who can love these little girls more than I do? The answer is no, but it's like I’m hardwired to look at myself and doubt, then look other moms and measure myself against them. My own shortcomings are that much more apparent when I encounter and compare myself with others who are “doing it better.”
Brenda Garrison tells me that these feelings are normal. It wasn't too long ago I had the chance to speak to her about this and more. Brenda is a lovely woman of God and the author of several books including Love No Matter What, Queen Mom, and Princess Unaware. She aims to encourage and challenge women to navigate motherhood and other areas of our crazy lives.
“Sometimes moms feel like the work they are doing doesn’t matter,” she says. “It feels like someone is always doing it (motherhood) better than we are.”I know that feeling. Clothes. Meals. Activities. I’ve Pinterested myself silly trying to add that bit of “better,” only to feel like I’ve come up short. I never feel like it’s enough, but I need a dose of reality. And there’s Brenda again. “No matter how small the contribution, we are making a difference."
"God is the one that makes what we do matter.”
Mom. Mentor. What you’re doing matters.
God chose you. It's supposed to be you.
I know deep down that it’s supposed to be me. I know it because of what I’ve been through and what it took for God to get me here. It is a miracle. But sometimes that reality isn't what steers my day to day. That truth is silenced by the voice inside that says, you don’t really know what you’re doing. It can be exhausting trying to stay ahead of a game that you never really feel like you’re winning. And then, there’s that voice. The voice of someone who knows, who has been through it, who has seen the hard times and made it through to the other side.
“Trusting God and staying faithful to His plan is hard work,” Brenda reassures me. “This life is not a glamorous one. We are the mothers. We are the ones behind the scenes. We keep things going. We make life happen, and small acts of obedience are making a difference.”
She’s right. Your presence in your girl's life is worth something. It is worth much. All of the thinking and deciding and doing that make up your life as a mother…it means something. You're here, and you want to do the best job you can, but sometimes you're not even sure what that means. Brenda does, though. She knows exactly what that means.
“We need to keep showing up,” she says. “We need to pour into our children. It’s not that you have all of the knowledge or have it all figured out. It’s that your girl knows you are there to help and love her. That will make all the difference.”
And I am there. I always want to be there for her. I want her to be able to talk to me and know that I am really listening, not just waiting for her to stop so I can interject the right piece of advice that I want to push on her. If I’m not careful, I know that’s exactly what I’ll try to do. I’ll try to give her the answers before I even hear her problem, and tell her what to do before I know what’s already been done.
Ladies, let's catch ourselves before that happens. Let's ask God to catch us before that happens.
Can we be women who gently encourage our girls to be the gracious, loving, strong young women God made them to be? We can, but where do we begin?
“Affirm your girl,” Brenda nudges. “Affirm her, and don’t ignore her. It sounds simplistic, but parents are becoming more and more hands-off and allowing their children to be alone. Our daughters are starving for our recognition and to see and find themselves through us. Build their confidence and endurance by finding their passions together.”
Passion. It took me a long time and many of life’s tough turns for me to find mine. I pray for ways my girls and I can find and celebrate their passions together. I pray for God to show me what He's gifted them with and how I can help them develop it.
He can, and that truth is a monumental, life-giving reality that quiets my nerves and soothes my soul.
Those beautiful creatures rolling around on my living room floor, making messes at the kitchen table. They carry the steady beat of my heart inside their bodies. They have become main characters in my life's story. And the moments spent together, the memories made, are the ones that count.
When we do right by them, when we train them up in the way they should go, if we're careful to teach them what they really need to know, will really matter what their bedrooms looked like? Will they wish for different mothers because we had leftovers tonight instead of a five-course meal?
Maybe you're not a Pinterest mom. You're not as put together as some other mothers seem to be. Sometimes you don’t go for a run because you just don’t want to. Sometimes the dishes don’t get done, and sometimes you could really use a glass of wine.
But you are a mother. A leader. One no less fierce, no less faithful, and no less equipped to handle the ones you've been called to lead.
They are yours, and you are theirs.
And when you look at them, remind yourself you were chosen for this, for them. God chose you, and the choices you make for them will be the right ones because you will keep Him at the helm.
It's your job to do it and, as Brenda says, it's God's job to make it matter.
And if you truly believe that God doesn’t make mistakes, you can rest assured knowing that you are the one best fit for the job.
Have an awesome day!
If you’re looking to support your girl to grow in strength and character to be the person God made her to be, do not miss our brand new digital subscription, Bible Belles Monthly. We’re highlighting positive female role models and arming your girl with fun and faith-building activities delivered straight to your inbox. Click here to learn more.
Need resources to point your daughter to the female heroes of Scripture? Check out our Bible Belles book series, The Adventures of Rooney Cruz. You can find books, devotionals, activities and more by clicking here.