Tag Archive: To be a mom


tshego

Once I’ve fed; entertained; disciplined; played with; answered a billion and 1 questions and then finally put the kids to bed, I get to relax and watch some tv – I am exhausted.

I don’t do this everyday, only every so often, to give those who do a chance to enjoy their long lost freedom – I am the babysitter.

I’m a firm believer in the saying “it takes a village to raise a child” and have chosen to avail myself, to a couple of good friends, as a helping hand to their adventurous child filled life. I love children; so much so, that I could not think of anything better than spending some good old time with them – everyone wins.

Now you’re probably thinking… “She’s crazy!” Or “it’s easy to be a part time parent, but she has no idea what it takes to be real parent” and you would be completely wrong. Yes, I may not understand the daily experiences of a 24/7 parent but, I’ve had my fair share of the ups and downs of the job and have learnt enough to understand the stressors associated with it.

I’ve been traumatised by the non-stop screams of a scared and confused toddler and awoken by the cries of a sick and uncomfortable child. I’ve been left defeated by the demands of an upset baby boy, who just refused to be put down because all he wanted was to sleep in MY arms until his mommy got home. I’ve been entertained by their excitement to many a discovery and amused by their unlimited boundary pushing tactics. I have been moved by their unconditional expressions of love and intrigued by their intentional acts of attention seeking. I’ve celebrated their applauded victories and consoled them through their misunderstood frustrations – I’m well aware that the task of parenthood is nowhere near easy…

Being a mom (or a dad for that fact of matter) is a roller coaster ride that often requires a lot of blood, sweat and salty flavoured water because…

To be a mom requires you to make some tough decisions, deal with temper tantrums and juggle a variety of life’s never ending tasks, simultaneously.

To be a mom requires you to overcome sleepless nights, overlook the chaos of clutter and face unimaginable criticism (from the people you’d think would be rooting you on because they’ve been there and done that), all while keeping your head held high.

To be a mom requires you to know it all, fix it all and carry it all.

To be a mom requires you to constantly support, encourage and counsel when and as it is demanded of you.

To be a mom requires you to put yourself aside, and learn to devise and conquer despite the overwhelming fear and persistent need to call quits.

To be a mom will require you to sacrifice every aspect of who YOU are, for the benefit of who THEY will become.

To be a mom requires you to love beyond, above and outside of yourself.

To be a mom requires you to be a superhero without any superpowers – your mission is to defeat, defend and deliver…. Good Luck!

To be a mom is a tough and exhausting job that requires more and more out of you each and every day.

And yet, in spite of all this, I have observed that…

To be a mom is the biggest and most rewarding yet underrated blessing, that is given to mere mortals such as you and I.

And if you really think about it…

To be a mom is an incredibly symbolic representation of our relationship with God.

[For more stories looking at the concept of ‘To Be A Mom’, click here]

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Lily

To be a mom used to be something I dreamed of. From the time I was in elementary school I told people that I planned to have six kids (mostly girls with one or two boys thrown in). I regularly made and updated lists of my favorite baby names.

I grew up in a home where motherhood was valued and praised and since I have two siblings who are significantly younger than me I started practicing my mothering skills at a young age.

To be clear, there was never any pressure or expectation placed on me by my family that my calling in life was to be a wife and mother. I simply had a natural bent towards domesticity and nurture. I like cooking and baking and I love small children. I think I “get” them better than I get adults. Maybe this is because there are parts of childhood I’ve never outgrown – for example, the urge to stomp my feet when I am frustrated or to sing tuneless songs narrating what I’m doing or to be scared of things like balloons that might pop at any moment – so I understand where they’re coming from a lot of the time.

I started babysitting when I was twelve didn’t stop until I was 25. I taught 4-year old Sunday school class at my church all through college and after college I transitioned into full-time nannying, which is the closest you can get to parenting without actually having your own kids. (Of course, this varies from situation to situation, but in some of my jobs I did the grocery shopping, prepared meals, did homework and school projects, washed clothes, bought clothes, arranged play dates, bought birthday presents for parties, and attended school functions so I honestly think it’s fair to say that this was part-time parenting).

I met my husband at 18 and was married at 22. Our plan was always to wait a few years before we started our family, but I still wanted a big brood of kids and felt pressure not to wait too long. As I was nearing 25 and nothing was happening for me career-wise I started to think, “Maybe we should start having kids.” I believed that having kids would be meaningful and frankly, I believed I’d be good at it. It was something I’d always wanted to do.

And then, about two years ago, something in me changed. I can’t explain exactly how or why, but I woke up one day and I no longer felt the desire to have children. People joke that nannying is its own form of birth control. I don’t think it was that nannying made me stop wanting kids. But I do think nannying made me want to be the right kind of parent.

To be a mom, to really be a good mom, you must be willing to die to yourself and to invest the best of you into your children. I have a mom like that, so I know what it looks like. I have worked with different kinds of families and there is a profound difference between the parents whose priority is their children and who are willing to sacrifice their comfort, their careers, and their dreams to invest in their kids and the parents whose priority is themselves or their careers or the image they want to project. I don’t doubt that these second kinds of parents love their children. But based on my experience with their children, I don’t think they are being the kind of parents their kids need them to be.

I started to wonder why I had wanted a family in the first place. Why do most people have children? I don’t mean that in a flippant or cynical way. It’s something I asked very seriously. One of my deeply held beliefs is that WHY we do things matters tremendously. So I started to ask. Do I want children because I’m hoping they will give me a sense of purpose? Because it’s the next thing to cross off the list? Because nothing else in life is working out and this feels like the next logical step? Because I’m afraid of missing out? Because I believe it will express a unique kind of love with my husband? Because I’m curious about what a mini-me-and-Jonathan would be like?

For many people, the desire to have kids is probably some combination of those things. And that’s not necessarily wrong. I’ve just come to believe that it’s not ENOUGH. For me, there has to be a deeper sense of calling and with that a commitment to sacrificing whatever is required to parent well.

Understanding what parenting really means and what it requires has convinced me that it isn’t something that should be undertaken lightly. I believe that God took the desire for children away from me for a season because it isn’t the right time. Not long after I’d had this total change of heart, the opportunity for my husband and I to move overseas came up. Our move abroad has been one of the best decisions we’ve ever made, and we wouldn’t have made it if we’d had a child or even been trying to have one.

I don’t know if this feeling will last forever or if God will bring back that desire again at the right time. I do believe that God is ultimately in control of my family and that whether or not we have children depends on him much more than on me. But as much as it depends on me, I want to make sure I pursue motherhood for the right reasons. And if I should get pregnant unintentionally, then I will embrace that as a clear sign of God’s timing and will trust that he will equip me for what he’s calling me to.

I used to long for motherhood, but now to be (or not to be) a mom is something I strive to hold with open hands. I want to keep it in proper perspective, neither looking at it as a means of personal fulfilment nor refusing it out of fear or selfishness. To be a mom is a high calling, but it isn’t everyone’s calling. I want to be sure I’m listening to mine.

Lily Dunn is an ice cream connoisseur, a Disney fanatic, and a fellow raiSIN hater trying to live an authentic, intentional life. She lives and teaches with her husband in Daegu, South Korea and blogs at lilyellyn.wordpress.com. Follow her on Twitter @lilyellyn

[For a whole range of other stories arising from the phrase ‘To Be A Mom’, click here]

mandy1

It’s hard for me to admit this, and I have a close circle of friends who understand me and the experience I’ve had as a mother. I’m so grateful for these friends because being a mom has not been the most natural thing for me.

My daughter is 2 years old and is a light in my life. However, no one could have prepared me for the journey of motherhood.

There is so much judgment that surrounds a mom- every decision you make is scrutinized and dissected and its honestly not fair.

Yes, I didn’t breastfeed past 6 weeks because I chose to stop, yes I chose to send my baby to creche at 4 months old because I had to work, yes I give her hidings and sometimes I can’t wait til she goes to sleep over by her granny so I can sleep past 5 for just one day.

I make decisions every day, big and small, and there are times when your judgmental glances and comments don’t bother me.

But there are times when they hurt terribly.

All I ask is the next time you comment because my 2 year old isn’t wearing shoes just think that maybe I’m teaching her a lesson in that somehow, or maybe I’ve decided that I’m tired and I’m picking my battles today- putting shoes on a 2 year old is not the one I’m dealing with today. So all in all I ask, be kind to mommies too – sometimes we’re so busy looking after others that we need a kind word or even just a smile.

[For a variety of different stories based on the phrase, ‘To Be A Mom’ click here]

mandy2

candice1

To be a mom, I’m sure means different things to different moms. Each journey into and through motherhood is littered with moments and memories that are particular to that mom and to her journey with her children.

I’m a mom of two ~ and believe me, I don’t profess to know anything at all about being the perfect mom. Actually, the longer I’m a mom, the more I realise how much I really don’t know at all. The only thing I can lean on is daily grace and patience from their (and my) Creator and the never-ending, unconditional well of love for my two little mini-me’s.

What does it mean to be a mom? Through my “I’m-Noah-and-Tyla’s-mom” lens, here’s what it looks like to me so far ~ because I don’t think I’ll ever stop learning.

To be a mom is to be able to laugh at yourself. Life with babies is serious business but in all honesty, sometimes it’s just so not funny, that it’s hysterical.

To be a mom is to be a personal chef, chauffeur, doctor, artist, hairdresser, stylist, counsellor, walking encyclopaedia of a wide number of subjects (right now for me it’s the solar system and superheroes), cheerleader, advice giver ~ the list is endless. You’re everything to them.

To be a mom is to know more about Veggietales, Dora the Explorer, Cars, Barney and Bob the Builder than you know about current breaking news stories and the latest One Direction single.

To be a mom is to realise that growing up is over-rated. Who said moms can’t climb on jungle gyms and hang upside down on the monkey bars? (I still do this…) Who said that when you reach a certain age you can’t wear your princess fairy dress up costume to do the grocery shopping? My children show me every day that life doesn’t have to all that serious, really.

To be a mom is to realise how much magic you miss out on, just because you don’t take the time to notice it. My children notice that there’s magic every day in the small things ~ lying in the garden and watching clouds, putting on your favourite song and prancing around like no-body’s watching, driving with all the windows down and letting your hair dance behind you .

To be a mom means encouraging your kids to do things that you might be afraid of them doing. It’s not our job to instil fear in our children when they try new things. My daughter loves her gymnastics class and at three years old, I can’t tell you that it doesn’t scare me to see her on the bar already. She could hurt herself!  I’m scared, but she’s not ~ time to paint on that encouraging smile and take a long sip of Coca Cola.

To a be mom is to realise how many things are actually out of your control and in turn, how much we need to trust our little treasures to our Heavenly Father. Motherhood should drive us moms to our knees ~ we should carry them to Jesus daily as we realise just how much of their lives we don’t have control over and  how much of the world we can’t protect them from.

To be a mom is provide ultimate security and trust all within the palm of your hand, literally. When you hold a little hand in yours, just know that that little heart believes that whatever happens next, you’ll be there to get them through it.

To be a mom means keeping your promises. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. Always be the ultimate example in keeping your word and following through when you say you will.

To be a mom is to be brave, is to be strong, is to fight ~ even when you can’t imagine taking just one more step and putting one foot in front of the other.

To be a mom is to sign up for sacrifice. The essence of motherhood is sacrifice.

“The emotional labour pains of becoming a mother are far greater than the physical pangs of birth; these are the growing surges of your heart as it pushes out selfishness and fear and makes room for sacrifice and love.” *

To be a mom is to listen intently and show grace.

To be a mom is to create and leave a legacy.

To be a mom is being conscious of the fact that little eyes are always watching.

To be a mom is to live with open arms, no matter what.

To be a mom is to witness the fingerprint of the Father on every detail of a life.

To be a mom is to realise that you matter.

AND MOST OF ALL, I couldn’t say this better and to this day, it’s the best description of motherhood I’ve ever read:

To be a mom is to decide to forever have your heart go walking around outside your body.**

 

* Quote by Joy Kusek

**Quote by Elizabeth Stone.

[For more stories on the theme of ‘To Be A Mom’, click here]

[To read what Candice had to share about Raising your Children as World Changers, click here]

candice2

bek

I am ‘Mum’ to three amazing biological children. Sir J, aged 14, Lady M aged 12 and Little Miss 7. You can stop pulling that face, these are not their real names, just how I refer to them in order to respect their future online identity and privacy.

My initiation into motherhood didn’t begin with a pretty white dress, two rings on my finger, a Christian husband who’d vowed to love me for life, or a mature and well thought out approach to ‘family planning’.

Nope, it was quite the opposite actually. Instead, as a drug addicted, just turned nineteen year old, partying at a bar with friends renowned for its bikie population, I met my Prince Charming.Actually, I met some random, heavily tattooed, good-looking bad boy who was a prospect for the Hell’s Angels.And so, with the knowledge of his first name, and age (27), I accompanied him home… To play chess, you see.Soon after our first introduction, we began ‘dating’ (I use the term loosely).And a few weeks later, BOOM-pregnant! Just like that. Who knew chess had such life-changing consequences!

My relationship with biker boy was never going to last. We were world’s apart, and although he didn’t think it was a good idea for me to have a baby at such a young age, he still respected my decision to continue with the pregnancy and raise this unexpected child.And so, we parted ways. He alone, me with burgeoning belly.

As a single, pregnant, nineteen year old, self-detoxing from a cocktail of drugs, woman, my journey into motherhood was never going to be easy.

I was the only child of divorced parents, living in a low socioeconomic area. Teen pregnancy was the norm, and I was acutely aware that I’d just become another statistic.But I made a decision. I was going to be different, I was going to break the mould, I was going to break the poverty cycle! I might even study to become a lawyer!Yes! I would make a difference indeed!

And so my baby boy arrived, I was a mum.Motherhood came easily for me. And I don’t say that with even a hint of conceitedness, truly, it was just the only thing I had ever, and have ever really known what I was doing (we’re only just into the teenage years, I’m aware this could all change!). But I guess that being so young also meant that I had the advantage of ignorance. Yes advantage. I’d never read parenting books, I certainly had no ‘mummy friends’ to swap notes or make comparisons with. It was innate instinct and Holy Spirit baby rearing.Thankfully it was during my early pregnancy that I decided to do things God’s way….most of the time.

Remember how I was gonna break the status quo? Yeah, I showed them! I got my law degree whilst being a single teen mum! I lie.Actually, when my son was 14 months old, I became pregnant, again, after an über short-term relationship. Sigh. Some behaviour patterns prove harder to break than others. Though this time, I’d not hooked up with a biker. Instead a chef, a young man the same age as me, who decided he wanted to do the right thing and make me a wife. And he did. Exactly six months after we began dating, just in time for Lady M to arrive.

I spent pretty much the first 10 years of motherhood, trying to prove to everyone that I wasn’t a complete screw up, that despite my background I could raise healthy, intelligent, obedient, polite and caring kids.

It wasn’t until Jordan, aka chef boy, and I had been married 5 years and settled into our instant-family-married-life, that we felt as though we had the right to plan for a third child. We knew we’d disappointed so many people, especially from Jordan’s side. Let’s be real, it’s not like you really want your son to fall in love with some chick from the wrong side of the tracks, let alone one who already has a kid! Don’t get me wrong, people were supportive, but we weren’t entirely stupid, we’d heard the whispers, seen the tears, felt the vibe. It’s not like people were excited for us

Choosing to have a baby, in wedlock, with mindful planning was an entirely new experience.That pregnancy was when I really stepped into the role of motherhood and felt like I’d earned it, not that I’d had to prove I was worth it. I finally owned motherhood, along with my own mothering style, quirky as it often seemed to others. For I have always believed I am not raising children, but instead raising people who will become adults and therefore must learn the responsibilities that come along with it. Yes, ironic and somewhat hypocritical coming from me, but I’d learnt these lessons the hard way, best I do all in my power to prevent my kids doing the same.

Motherhood became a symbol of responsibility, maturity.But it was around this time I also realised, that mums are allowed to have their own personality. We are allowed to have a life outside of our children. It’s actually okay if your kids aren’t the absolute centre of your universe at all times! I’m going to take it a step further, it’s ok if your husband is in fact your primary priority, above the kids! Yep, just said that.And no, I’m not talking from some submissive, anti-feminism, wife point of view, quite the opposite. I speak purely from a equal, friendship, partnership perspective.

And so the traditional thoughts of motherhood, martyrdom, and baking that I’d long held onto, started to dissipate.

I can no longer answer the question of what it means to be a mum, because it takes on all forms.

There are a handful of phenomenal older (not old!) women in my life, who mother me spiritually and emotionally.I have childless friends who carry fearless and nurturing mother traits that will never be used on biological nor adoptive children of their own, and yet they mother.I have two amazing kids from my church family, who call me ‘Mum’, and another who calls me ‘Mama B’. I am not their mother, and yet there are some levels, different with each of them, on which I mother them. My heart aches for injustice that has been done to them and I know God has placed upon me a burden to speak life back into the parts of them that have been neglected and broken.

There have been times during my marriage, where I have experienced heartbreaking personal circumstances, and in those moments, some of the greatest and most healing mothering came from my husband.

It is only within the last three years that I have been able to identify and relate to Father God. Up until that point, I just couldn’t trust a God who might be a Father. And do you know what? God never asked me to see Him that way, instead, up to that point, for thirty years, He mothered me!He is not threatened by our disbelief or anger.

To be a mum is to see a need in the life of someone else and fill it. What form that takes, how that looks, what gender enacts it, I don’t know, but I know it’s far more diverse than can be expounded upon.

What I do know is this, the best of mothers that I have personally come across, are those who are intimately tuned in and obedient to The Father’s Heart.And you know what?The Father’s Heart and a Mother’s heart aren’t too dissimilar .

-Bek Curtis

[To read more stories inspired by the phrasxe, ‘To Be A Mom’ click here]

[For more of Bek’s writing via her story on her struggle with Porn and a link to her blog, click here] 

Lauren

To be a mom

I was never one of those girls who dreamt of her wedding. I never dreamt of babies or being a wife. I climbed trees, hid stray animals and dreamt of exploring the world. I’ve had an independent spirit from as far back as I can remember.

My life changed when I fell pregnant at the age of 22 – the devastation gave way to instantaneous, glorious, immovable love the second I gave birth to this blue wrinkled squawking person. She suckled without me showing her how and fiercely took hold of my heart.  Her guns were blazing in such a way that her entrance to this world was followed by two surgeries on me. For 3 months she cried solidly and I paced the floors with her at night, finally giving us a full nights rest shortly before her second birthday. As she grew her eyes became firmly fixed on me. What I said, what I wore, what I laughed at. This resistance grew inside me. A resistance to being someone’s role model when I knew all the messiness that lay beneath my surface. As much as I resisted and tried to point her in other directions, her homing pigeon kept returning to me. I balanced my course books on one knee and her on the other, while completing my honours degree. More than anything I want this girl to know she didn’t stop me from educating myself. Shortly after I graduated I went to work – 10 hours here, 4 hours there – whatever I could fit around her.

I birthed our boy 4 yrs after his sister. He was quieter, complained less and slept more. But with his birth came the onset of a depression and disease that ravaged my body. I sunk into a darkness and my body withered to the point of dreading the morning. My joints ached, my hair fell out and I shivered continuously. Surely my babies were better off without me.  Through all of this it was the smell of my baby that kept me going. There is something almost primal about smelling your baby. It awakens resilience within you. 7 months later we discovered I had an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s.  I was put on treatment and continue to manage it.

After the second baby I started to become more comfortable with the idea of being a mom. I started enjoying the puzzles, the baking, the colouring in, the Richard Scarry ad nauseum. I started seeing how quickly these little people learn and grow and change. I started feeling a warm, soft, gentleness wash over me when teaching, explaining and disciplining. Instead of the usual feeling of suffocation when being touched, licked (yes- my sons a licker), pushed and pulled – it has given way to being fluid in this movement and allowing them to feel my body touching them and consoling them. Being a mom has never come naturally to me but at some point I guess it just melded into me.

The intersection of the momness,  wifeness and professionalness . Why is it so unacceptable to want to be a mom and a professional? Why do we make women choose? Don’t assume I will fall into line. I am not you. I am me. I am a mom, I am a wife and I have ambitions. Why must I prescribe to your one dimensional idea of what a working mom is.  Why can’t I achieve, create, meet, design, persevere? Why can’t I take my kids to school, catch tadpoles and kiss them when they fall?

To be a mom means to achieve the things you want, it’s going to be trickier.  To be a mom means there are barriers that are put up, decisions you will be forced to make.  To be a mom means the workplace is not kind to you. To be a mom means your babies always form part of that choice. When there is a choice to be made, you listen to that still small voice that says “I will make a way for you”. I have battled unplanned pregnancy, traumatic birth, sleeplessness, depression, chronic illness and my own personal demons. Still I stand and still my choice is the same. I choose you.

[For the next post in this series, meet Bek Curist, who because she is Australian, writes on, ‘To Be a Mum’]

a friend of mine sent me an email with a post titled ‘To be a Mom’ in it.

i’m not sure why she sent it – i can’t remember if it was part of something i had asked her to write or if she had just decided this was something needing to be written and had sent it to me.

what it did though was spark something inside of me: What if i gave that out as a framework to a bunch of my friends – all they get is ‘To be a Mom’ and then write a post on however that inspires, informs or directs them? – a brilliant idea, and if only i could claim it as my own.

What would you write, if the only thing you were given was the words, ‘To Be A Mom’?

Here are the stories that were shared with us as a result:

Not Your Typical Fairytale beginning – Bek Curtis

It Means All These Different Things – Candice Fourie

Intersection of Momness, Wifeness and Professionalness – Meet Lauren McGill

Be slow to judge – Meet Mandy Lea Friedrichs

Not sure I want to be a mom right now – Lily Dunn

From someone without her own biological children – Tshego Motiang

For a different flavour, check out these ‘To Be A Dad’ posts, starting with this one from John ‘Zippy’ Benn

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