These were the upgrades I signed up for when I became a mum, or so I imagined.
I like surprises. When we got married I let my husband plan our whole honeymoon and delighted in being whisked away without a clue where we’d end up or what we’d do. I really enjoy the injection of the unexpected into everyday life. Mostly, I’m pretty happy to just potter along, my eyes open to interruptions, taking things as they come and compromising to reach an outcome. I notice changes and I respond, but I am so easily distracted. Flexibility is my greatest strength. Flakiness is my most obvious weaknesses.
In the back of my mind I thought this was going to change when our tiny human arrived. I thought that I would change; like somehow I’d solidify into a more grown-up version of myself in response to the responsibility of parenthood. I was a parent now. I had to be grounded. I had to be the rock.
But I didn’t change. I am the same flexi-flake as ever I was, with the additional title of ‘Mum’ draped over my tired body like a big old hand-me-down shirt.
Over the last two years, the most grown-up job I’ve ever had has also proved to be the one that’s made me feel most lost, shaky and emotional. Motherhood has stripped me down to my essential self and held my face, wide-eyed, close to what I have found there. And some of what I saw was upsetting. The new pace of parenting forced me to stop at bits of myself that I’d long covered up with the busyness of life. But there was also hope.
Before I was his mum, I was His child.
That was my first role, and so it remains – to come and sit before my God as His precious daughter; His child. And I want to teach my baby boy that this is his first role too.
So I’m learning,
Instead of more responsible, I’m more surrendered.
Instead of more reliable, I look to Him for provision.
Instead of being strong, He sustains me.
Instead of hardening, I soften.
In motherhood my heart is fragile. I am laid lovingly bare.
Psalm 131 is one I find incredibly comforting. Titled “A Pilgrim’s Song”, it is fitting encouragement for this journey:
“God, I’m not trying to rule the roost,
I don’t want to be king of the mountain.
I haven’t meddled where I have no business
or fantasized grandiose plans.
I’ve kept my feet on the ground,
I’ve cultivated a quiet heart.
Like a baby content in its mother’s arms,
my soul is a baby content.”
(Psalm 131:1-2, The Message)
I especially love that last line, “My soul is a baby content”. Just because I became a mum, doesn’t mean I left myself behind – both my strengths and my weaknesses remain. If I can allow myself to be His child, I can be content with that reality. Just as my newborn baby was reliant on me for all his needs, so I am reliant on God.
When this motherhood gig gets you down and you’re feeling unfit for duty, it’s a relief to know that you don’t have to be the rock. All you have to do is stand on it.
Cat is a follower of Jesus, the tea-drinking wife of a coffee roaster and the stay-at-home mum of one busy toddler. She delights in the mingling of art and science, small and simple pleasures, wit and whimsy, and the doing of life. Her heart is to encourage. When she’s not pottering behind the scenes at Precision Coffee Roasters, you’ll likely find her eating cake, trying new recipes, making lists, or just playing – with or without a child.