a Mother’s Day article
(originally written for Fountain of Life magazine)
It was the only time I ever called a radio station. At least so far. Who knows, maybe tomorrow another desperate situation will arise. That time, I was a young mother, and the talk show topic was how to keep your preschoolers busy and out of trouble. I called. And pleaded…
“What do you do with a three-year-old, a two-year-old, and two three-week-old twins?”
The radio host’s response? “Uhh, could you say that again?”
It had been a rough day. The first day I’d been alone with four of my offspring. My husband was back at work, the relatives and friends had all gone home, and I was on my own—way out-numbered kids to arms. So far, in just a few hours, my older two preschoolers had colored the floor tiles with permanent markers, cut up a hand-knitted keepsake baby blanket, spilled two liters of CocaCola across the kitchen (so now our shoes schlup, schlupped with every step), and finally—while I took a desperate two minutes in the washroom—carried my 21-day-old twins across the house… from the bedroom to the front door… by their heads! Chubby toddler hands on either side of infant heads pressed over infant ears, tiny infant legs dangling down between straddled toddling legs. Get the picture? Now, looking back, I wish I DID have a picture of it. In fact, looking back, I can laugh. Then? I wasn’t laughing. As my eyes met imminent disaster, all I could do was gasp a hoarse “No!” and rush gently to reach the foursome, hoping frantically that my fear didn’t cause my tiny girls to drop my tinier babies. And WHY did my older two decide to carry their infant siblings by their heads? “They were crying, so we decided they needed to go outside.”
It had been a rough day!
While I thankfully never had another day with quite that series of unfortunate events, it would not be the last of my rough mommy days.
One started with a fun playdate with friends—and ended in the Emergency Room after my 15-month-old toppled down said-friends’ 15-step stairs. All the way down, from top to bottom. I leapt over a couch to catch her just before she hit the landing. But not long after, she started throwing up from a concussion. After several hours and tests and IVs in the hospital, she started to perk up. A nurse walked in. “Ah, our little patient looks so much better. And so does her mommy!”
There were the days when I messed up: like when I forgot to bring birthday treats to school for my twins. It was a super-hot day, and the twins were so excited. They told their classmates I was bringing popsicles. Then their classmates were so excited. Fifty-some kids ecstatically waiting. And I forgot to bring them. Or when I neglected to confirm the date of “pajama day” with my daughter’s 1st grade teacher and sent her in pajamas on the wrong day. Or the day I tried to stop my child from spilling her little drink and accidentally dumped my large ice cold soda all over her. All “Mother of the Year” moments. NOT!
Face it. Mothering can be hard.
But there are also those wonderfully sweet moments. When your children—all on their own—paint wooden hearts with sweet sayings about mommies. When they realize you’ve had a rough day at work and text, “I love you, Mom.” When you realize all those nights you kept finding them staying up past their bedtimes, they were really sewing you a very special quilt. When your son, now tall enough to tower over you, bends down for you to kiss the top of his head. When you hear one of them counseling the other with the very words you’ve said a hundred times but always thought they weren’t listening… And especially, when working with your children’s weaknesses reminds you of how graciously, wisely, and mercifully your Father in heaven works with you.
No, mothering is not for the weak. But it’s not MY strength I have to depend on. It’s His. The One who formed these very children in the womb. Who knew their innermost parts even before the creation of the world. Who loved them enough to die for them. Who reminds me, “Keep your eyes on Me as they keep their eyes on you.”
What does that look like when my arms are just too tired to hold the days piling up? 1 Samuel 30 describes it as inquiring of the Lord, taking your weeping to the Lord, accepting the work God has entrusted to you, whether that means going out to fight or staying with the baggage. And Isaiah 34:16: Seek the Lord’s book. Read it! Ezekiel 34:15: Let Him feed you. Give you rest. Strengthen you when you’re sick. Bind your broken parts. Then? Luke 22:32: Strengthen others: in the case of mothering, your kids…and other mothers.
Because tomorrow, when those desperate situations arise –like you feel like someone’s carrying you by YOUR head—calling a talk show may give some great advice. But real help—lasting help and strength—comes from the Lord. His steadfastness; His patience. According to His glorious might (Col. 1:11)… through His Spirit in the inner man (Ephesians 3:16)…because He prays for you (Luke 12:31). So when you fail—or when they do—turn back to Him. And listen for His still small voice that whispers softly to your tired heart: “Turn them to look at Me. Because, while you aren’t perfect, I AM.”