I've been thinking a lot over the pasts few days/weeks about moms...and all of the changes we go through during the parenting process. Because there's a lot being written about and shared on social media this time of year...I can hardly stand these back-to-school posts. And the pictures. OH MY WORD.
There are just some pictures and posts that just take me right back...and I can feel the knot in my stomach and the tears start to well up.
And do you know what you don't want to hear, as a mom sending a child off to school for the very first time? This: "Just waiiiiiiiiiiit...you'll blink and he'll be leaving for college."
I'm pretty sure I've said that to people...and even as the words were coming out of my mouth, I wanted to punch my own self in the face.
Because those words are not comforting. Not at all.
This mom gig is HARD. Emily P. Freeman says, "motherhood is both miracle and madness," and that is true. It is also exhilarating and frustrating and discouraging and satisfying and gut-wrenching and joyful and sad and heart-stretching and heart-breaking.
All of you hopeful young wives out there...don't everyone rush to get pregnant all at once now. Because when you put it like that...doesn't it sound super fun?
It IS super fun. Being a mother is one of my greatest joys, and pouring my life into these humans God gave me has been the best investment of my time. It's also HARD...because these kids did not come with an instruction manual. There's the Bible for how to guide them, yes, and we have used the fire out of God's word around here. Still, there are days when I felt I got it right...and there were days when I felt like I did it all wrong. On those "wrong" days, it was encouraging to talk to other moms...the ones walking in the trenches with us, and the ones who have made it through to the other side.
This is the time of year when kids are starting school, or starting a NEW school, or leaving home. We need to look past our own sadness, as we turn our children out into the world...out into Kindergarten, 1st grade, middle school, junior high, high school, college or life...and find another mom we can encourage. Because all of these stages? THEY ARE ALL SO HARD on a mommy's heart.
At each stage, our children break away from us a little bit more. That's one of our goals, right? We want to teach them to love God, love family, serve others...and we want them to be able to stand alone. We hope they don't have to, but there might come a time when they do.
A mom who is sending her child off to school for the very first time CANNOT IMAGINE what it's like to be sending one off to college. They might even tell you that: "I cannot imagine sending my baby off to college." I'm pretty sure I said that to someone...to their face...back in the day.
Surprised she didn't slap me.
She should have.
No, the mom of a young child cannot imagine what it's like to send that baby off to college, but guess what? WE can imagine how THEY are feeling...because we've been there. We sent our babies to school on those first days...just seems like yesterday.
Let's don't patronize them with the "YOU JUST WAITS," and the "this is easy compared to what's ahead" comments. Let's be tender with their hearts and emotions, and offer the words of encouragement that maybe we didn't get from others during that time.
Like, "how can I pray for you?"
Or, "let's meet for lunch?"
Or, "I'm bringing you dinner tonight."
Or, "I'M PRAYING FOR YOUR SON (DAUGHTER) WHILE THEY'RE AWAY AT SCHOOL."
There's so much of motherhood that is hard. I've loved each stage, but each stage is hard for different reasons. Could we maybe reach out to other moms...learn from them...pray for them?
Send a text, make a call, write a note.
We need each other, y'all.
"So each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11