I hear the pitter patter of the kids running to the window to see who is there. The dog chases shortly after while knocking down one or both of the kids. I hear my friend yell through the door, “be right there…honey, can you get the kids?”
The door opens and my friend is balancing a kid in one arm and an Elsa doll in the other. She is wearing her comfy workout clothes, hair up, looking slightly exhausted but overjoyed because we haven’t seen each other in some time.
It is afternoon. The kids have already had their naps and it is that time when wildness meets worn-out. It is that peak hour right before dinner when the kids don’t know if they need food, the trampoline, or a long night’s rest. According to some parents, it is pure mayhem.
Dinner is prepared during the chaos with little to major damage control. The plastic colored plates lined up and the food is dispersed and served. Not too hot, not too cold. A lot of the food ends up in their mouths and a lot ends up being the leftovers for the vacuum…a.k.a the dog.
Now it is bedtime. If it is bath night, let the bubbles begin. Then PJs, brushing their teeth, nursing, story-time, rocking, singing, shushing, bouncing, sound machines, night-lights, praying…whatever it takes for the sleeping to set in and for the kids to feel loved. Then my friend shuffles out noticing the trail of mess from toys, to little shoes, to dinner dishes. She can’t quite tell if she needs to wind down with a cup of tea or a stiff cocktail. Either way, to me, she is a superhero.
To The Young Moms,
I want to write you a note as The “Honorary Auntie” you have invited me to be. I want you to know what is seen from someone who is not yet a mom. You are teaching me what it truly looks like to sacrifice for the sake of love. I have no doubt each of you would take a bullet for your little ones. You want the best for them. You are willing to stay up late reading blogs and books to learn about foods, birthing, helping them sleep, etc.
You want them to be free. You want them to be fully who they were created to be. I love the names you have chosen… names that call out something greater in them before they are even born. Names like Ember, Harper, Caleb, and Josiah.
I have watched some of you grieve the loss of a miscarriage and yet still find hope in the next season as you overcome utter fear, doubt, and worry.
In your hustle as a mom, some of you even show up for full-time jobs or raise your child as a single parent. You rarely complain and your dreams now include a moment of silence while finishing a cup of hot coffee at the same time. Life has extremely changed for you since you were without kids. Some of you may not even remember what life was like before. Can you see why I think you are the heroes of the world? Don’t get me wrong— I love the fathers immensely, but this letter is to the moms. You care and believe in the next generation like no other. They are your offspring and you are doing the best you can. I am inspired by your bravery to raise little humans and to love them into their fullness.
So I say in all the grace that has come upon you as a mom, grant yourself the same grace. You love so well and are doing what you can do! You are learning as you go as every mom has in the history of this planet. You have a grace to not sleep that much or to remember way too many details. Even when you forget your kid at school, it’s okay. We are still human whether we are a mom or not.
Trust your gut more and more. You know what your kid needs and doesn’t need. It may not look like the Jones down the street, but that is okay. You are your own family. You are creating a different legacy. You are the parent and they are a kid. They need your guidance and discipline.
Keep taking your kids on adventures and travels. They thrive outside, learning about bugs, making mud soup, and playing in the ocean. They love seeing you enjoy life too. Watch them in other cultures and learn from them. They have an innocence in the way they see people. But if the travel doesn’t come until a later time, don’t worry…they love the backyard just the same!
If you are married, take a date night. Take a date night often, even if the kids are young. The connection and romance with your husband is vital to your family functioning well. The kids are learning about love through that connection. Keep it alive. Babysitters are worth it. Heck, I’ll watch your kids. I probably sound quite naive in even suggesting this but I’ve seen it done. And if its a season its too hard, no shame! Go when you can!
Remember you are more than a mom. You are wild and free. Independent with passions and dreams. Take a moment for yourself and kill the thought that it is selfish (easier said than done). You are worth those moments. You will recharge, gain perspective, and find lightness again in mothering. When my friends who are mothers do this, something shifts in them and the family. They remember who they are again. You are still God’s daughter and he has moments just for you.
And thank you for letting me be a part of your family unit. Thank you for taking the time to hear my worries and fears of life and sit with me when you only had 4 hours of sleep. Thank you for letting me in on story time and even sometimes getting a babysitter so we can have an uninterrupted time together. I love both being with family and going deeper in the quiet moments. I am finding we need those no matter what stage of life we are in. You encourage me in my dreams and somehow make a space for me in your life. To me, you are a superhero! Keep doing what you are doing and know it is inspiring so many. Don’t doubt it for a second!
The Honorary Auntie Tara