Motherhood. This is the weekend it is celebrated and honored, and I think most of us feel like we should get a "free pass" from our responsibilities and a day to get what we want, right? For most of us, our expectations and reality most likely will not mesh and there will still be diapers to change, mouths to feed, chores to do and tantrums to navigate. For those of us who are pastor's wives (or single moms!!), a Sunday is a work day for our spouses and we still have the main responsibility of our children.

I have been thinking a lot about my role as a mother lately. We recently transitioned to three children, and I feel like I am watching my kids grow up so much lately. They are saying and doing new things and I am seeing more glimpses of their personalities and who they will become. I look at baby Annalise's anxious face when her siblings are being too loud and too close, and I wonder what her relationships with them will be like as she grows up.

Last year, we found out we were pregnant with Annalise the day after Mother's Day. It was such an ironic/ beautiful thing because the scripture about children being a blessing/heritage was fresh on my mind, when what I really wanted to do was cry in fear. I was afraid of the logistics and hardship of raising three very dependent kids in Brooklyn. The following months I had some physical challenges due to a hematoma in the placenta and I was put on a modified bedrest. I wasn't supposed to lift my kids and I felt guilt every time I did. After a tough pregnancy, Annie was here, and my big kids had a hard adjustment. More guilt, more shame, more fear and anxiety! How could I help them process this huge transition when I also struggled?

And let's be real about something else. Adoption. I can't help but approach Mother's Day and think of a woman who carried and birthed my first child. I can work myself into a mess of emotions about this. When I rush him to bed or don't give 100% as a mom to him some days, I later feel the guilt of raising someone else's birth child. Am I giving her honor when I rushed bedtime? Am I doing enough for this very complicated little boy? He is so demanding of our family in physical and emotional ways, and most moments I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity to be his mama. I don't take it lightly that he calls ME mom and that he says "I luh you" to ME! It's not something to take for granted. And yet, there's such a broken world here because I'm forever tied to a woman in Ethiopia who couldn't raise him. She should have heard those words, but by God's redemption in a broken story, I am hearing them.

I guess in this post I'm wanting to come clean. I feel like in this season of young children I am most defined by my role as mother. I wake up and go to bed with a child within arm's reach and my day can be dictated by the behaviors and reactions of my children. My body is literally scarred and reshaped by carrying my girls. My back aches from carrying a 5 year old up the stairs. I wrestle with mom guilt, with fear, with hope.

I know I'm not alone in this, because when I admit this to my fellow moms they often take a deep breath and say - me too!

So I will encourage you moms to do what I did this week. Look at the million pictures on your phone. Most likely you're not in many (I did my best to round up a few with me in them - below!). Even the ones where you're not pictured, YOU WERE THERE. We are physically present. We are shaping our kids in ways we can't even see yet. Let's give ourselves a break and remember what our identity is truly shaped on (for me, that's my relationship with Christ). Let's remember what is most true about ourselves (we are loved, we are being redeemed, there is purpose for even the mundane things because they bring glory to God).

So when Monday comes and Mother's Day is over, let's keep making those sandwiches, cutting up fruit, and wiping those butts. There's no time for shame when we see the little image-bearers we are raising are pretty incredible and we have been given a beautiful and challenging task of being mamas.



Behind this super mom is a super dad. Thank you Will for being my biggest supporter and coparent.