Growing often and loving freely: Lessons from motherhood

A couple nights ago, when I was rocking Coven to bed, I noticed that he was clinging to me tighter than he ever has before. It was as if I could feel every part of his body pressing against me. For a busy 1 year old that never stops moving, this is new for him (and such a sweet surprise for me). His head felt heavy on my shoulder, his arms wrapped tight around my neck, and his legs clung to me as if he was holding on for dear life. I was imagining what he was feeling in that moment. The way he held on to me told me two things: “you are everything” and “this is my safe space.”

And as I sat there holding him in the quiet with no other distractions, I was reminded of how I’m literally everything to this little human being, but yet, the world has a way of still making me feel inadequate and like I need to be more. We are influenced every day with messages that are constantly trying to convince us that we need MORE and we need HELP. So once in a while, when you take all that away and you sit in the silence and realize you already have it all and you don’t need to keep searching – well that’s what I hope I can experience every day. I forget how invaluable just my presence alone is to this other person. Yet, I still try to be 1,000 other things and usually fail at most of them.

In the numerous ways that I feel like I fall short every day, my children remind me that it really just doesn’t need to be so complicated. The biggest piece of me exists in the form of these children, so when I feel incomplete or like I’m constantly searching for something greater than myself, I feel like I actually just need to turn to my children more often. If I’m called to be a mother and raise these humans to feel love and security, then more of my focus needs to be on what we already have in them.

I believe that my worth just as a mom is far more important than any other role I will ever have in this life. But nevertheless, I stress about so many other roles and expectations that I tie myself down to every day.

Tied to a motherhood I think I’m supposed to model. 

Tied the childhood I’m told my children should have. 

Tied to a construct of what my faith should look like.

Tied to the idea that it’s NOT ok to not know what you believe.

Tied to an idea that my marriage needs to be Instagram worthy. 

Tied to the idea that other people will bring us happiness.

I want to let go of these expectations and model to our children that you don’t have to let someone else’s life dictate how you live yours. And I don’t want to always hide all of the struggles and insecurities from our kids, because I think it’s important that they see how we work through those and still love them unconditionally anyways. Even though they will learn the same values and beliefs that we have, I still want them to feel the freedom to follow what feels right to them and propels them into change and growth.

Speaking of change – Motherhood will force us into change often. We can’t be afraid to allow that change to happen. Following the birth of our second kid, I started experiencing all kinds of changes to my emotional, spiritual, and physical beings. We need to surround ourselves with people that will support those changes and allow us to grow. Unfortunately, there will probably be people along the way that we will have to distance ourselves from or even say goodbye to. Don’t hold onto relationships out of obligation. If the relationship isn’t progressive with your growth and transition as a person, then that relationship isn’t doing anyone any good. This has been hard for me because of my natural tendency to be a people-pleaser and friendship seeker, but I have noticed a profound difference when I’ve only sought after those who are actually invested in my growth as a person and allow me to be the same for them. Hanging out with tons of different people every week does not necessarily mean that you have a killer community. Your community is your village of people that are investing into you and your family. Not just the number of people liking your photos.

As a new mom with young kids, I know I’m right in the thick of all the changes. When I can’t seem to get past how uncomfortable I feel or that things just aren’t as easy as they once were for me – I try to accept that I’m literally raising small humans here. It’s hard to understand how we actually have the time and mental capacity for anything else with a job this big. Always remember: “Just a stay at home mom” is not “JUST” a stay at home mom. And if you’re a working mom – I will applaud you all the days of my life. And if you’re a single mom…let me get off my soap box and let you teach me a lesson in working hard and loving harder.

This Mother’s Day, I have tried to reflect on what being a mother actually means to me in this moment. In THIS moment, because I know it will probably be different when the next Mother’s Day rolls around. Not the cliche, find-it-on-a-card, generic definition of being a mom…But my own version. In a season where I feel insecure and unsure about a lot of things, I will lean in on this motherhood that keeps me growing and loving so freely. My hope is that as my security grows in who I am as a mom, that confidence and strength will leak out into the other areas of my life that I’m not so sure about right now. If I could write a motto for my last year, it would be something like this: Welcome the change, the doubt, and the growth. You can’t get anywhere by staying the same. Perhaps Mother’s Day is a good time to not only be spoiled and recognized for your mother magic, but also for yourself to reflect on how you’ve changed each year as a woman and mother. It’s a time to really feel and embrace all those little hugs and all the ways our kids need us. We are humans that want to feel needed, and once it’s not there anymore, we will miss it so very much.

And I couldn’t write all this without mentioning the fact that I couldn’t do motherhood without all the amazing moms that are walking by my side at any given moment. I couldn’t even begin to say where I would be at without these deep and meaningful friendships where I can be my truest self. Even those friends who aren’t even moms, but still support me in this season of life that I’m in. These relationships are so important because they are fluidly changing with me at the same time. So thank you to those women out there – I literally couldn’t do it without you. Happy Mother’s Day ❤️