As I sit here in the midst of graduation preparation, kids starting new jobs, buying cars, moving out on their own, planning college experiences and starting careers... it is easy to say that I am a bit overwhelmed by the major revision my “Mom” job description is undertaking. It is a hard thing, this changing the way that I mother as my kids grow up, and as much as I would love to have an actual job description or manual, we mamas know that they don’t exist.
No one tells you how hard being a mom is. No one tells you how much you will cry, or yell, or just drive somewhere with the radio blaring, all alone, so you don’t have to hear ONE MORE ARGUMENT.
But motherhood is so much more than the frustrations.
There is so very much that I was clueless about when I found out I was going to have my name changed from Jen to Mama. This journey of motherhood one of constant evolution- as a person, as a spouse, and as a mother. I have learned and then learned better. I have read books and then ignored every piece of advice because it didn’t fit MY child just because it did someone else’s. I have recognized mothering genius in others around me and appropriated it on the spot. I have made and broken my own rules.
Given that it is almost Mother’s Day, I thought that I would share some of the things that stand out to me as a mother who is still trying to get it right.
Mothers come in all shapes and sizes.
The women in our lives who have contributed to our growths don’t specifically have to be the person who gave us life.
Mother figures can be biological, adoptive, foster, step, grand, those women Who are a mother hen to every person I meet, to the women who won’t see their babies again on this side of eternity, and so much more. The women in our lives shape us all in a way that leaves no comparison and no matter what the relationship is on paper, if they step into that role for you at some point, tell them that. Tell that mama how you were a better person because of their influence in your life.
It takes a village. My journey of motherhood has not been a solo flight. My mothers (my own flesh and blood and the one I was blessed with when I married) were, and are, instrumental in my effort to raise God loving, hard-working, productive members of society.
I did not know that I would have to travel hundreds of miles for work when I started my family. I did not know others would cheer for my babies at school assemblies and send me pictures. I did not know that boo-boos would be kissed or problems would be talked through by someone other than me. I did not know that my family would step up and plan as well as finance my daughter’s sweet 16 birthday while I lay, emotionally crushed, in the hospital because a “simple outpatient procedure” turned into multiple near death experiences and a month-long battle in the hospital. So many things in our lives that happen are unplanned. But to have a tribe of women surrounding my family, stepping-up and in for one another, when the need arises, is a gift I didn’t know I needed, but one I cherish deeply.
Failure is eminent. As a new mom, I would never have considered just how many times I would fail at this mom gig. As a more veteran mom, I now realize that we mamas are all just doing our very best to love our children in a way that shows them we love them more than they can fathom and even with that, stumbling is part of the learning process- for the kids and for us mamas.
Your children will teach you as much as you teach them... if not more.
Motherhood is a lifetime commitment. I say this not from my experience as a mother, but instead from my experience of being mothered. If you have journeyed with Jen for long, you likely know how at 42 years old I still talk to my mom every day and seek advice, assistance, and sometimes just someone to come bring me a Gatorade and rub my head when I am sick. That’s right, 42 years old and I still often want my mommy. This is where I am doubly blessed because I also have the world’s most fantastic Mother-in-Law. I know there will be a point where my children bring spouses in to their lives, and those individuals will step in to the place of confidant, protector, and fill the space in their hearts in a way I have prayed for since they were children. I can only hope I do so in a way that is some semblance of the way my daughter and I were welcomed into the Family Shultz.
There is nothing like it. When I held each of my children in my arms for the first time, I would never have considered just how much those soulful little eyes would need me, would teach me, would try me, would heal me, and would develop into a love so big and so instant that there’s just zero chance I would ever be the same.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mamas in my life. I’m so very blessed to have had such strong matriarchs in my family and such an amazing tribe of women around me. You all SHINE!
Hi, I’m Jen-
a small town, Oklahoma girl married to a superhero. Together, we are raising a family on second chances, shiplap, and a shoestring.
I am a firm believer in grace, organization, and efficiency. I find great satisfaction in taking broken items and giving them new life, likely because that is exactly what God did for me.
I over use the word shine, exclamation points, and emojis. I cheer too loud in the stands of my kids’ activities and hug more than is socially acceptable. A natural born encourager and armchair warrior, I am learning to redefine my mission field and make the most of each day I am given.
I am chronically ill and chronically positive- not necessarily in that order. I am learning to practice perseverance over perfection and long for the day I get to see my grandparents and Jesus’ face.
Until then, I am just looking for Grace in the Grind.