Monday, August 26, 2013

Motherhood: the ultimate blessing

It's Monday night and the house is quiet.

Well, I take that back - it's quiet except for Hayden, who is squirming and complaining on my lap. He's been in a grouchy mood all day, and I think I've nursed him 49 times. Possibly less, but it doesn't feel like it. Lily is chattering in the background too - covering her doll with a maroon plastic pasta strainer and singing "wash, wash, wash." (Give that girl an A+ for creativity, because I promise she isn't reenacting anything she's seen here before.)

But it's more quiet here than usual, because the rest of my kids are dispersed throughout our town tonight....some are playing football in a park with their older brother, a few are off on an ice cream date with Daddy, and Mackenzie is staying the night with a friend from work whose husband is out of town.

So I'm here at the computer with a fussy baby on my lap, and a mountain of weekend laundry to do (deja vu??) and there is a thought that has been running through my head all day...

Motherhood is the ultimate blessing.

I read a few things online this weekend that contradicted that statement, some sentiments that ran cross-grain to that truth, and it set the wheels in motion for this post.

I don't want to create drama on my sweet little bloggy, because I feel like there is enough drama in this world, don't you? Social media, talk radio, talk shows- they all almost lend themselves to drama. Because everybody is entitled to their own opinion in this day and age, dontcha know?

So without linking to the places where motherhood was given a bad rap, and maybe stirring up the pot as a result, I just want to say a few things that I believe to be true. And if this happens to step on any toes as a result, that was not my intention.

But this is my blog, and as a mom to eleven, I do feel like I have a little room to speak. I'm not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I am...  a mother. And I've been one for over 25 years.

And as a mother, I would just like to say...

...that motherhood is the ultimate blessing.

It is an honor to be a mom. It is a privilege.

There are women who would give anything to have what I have. Anything. I have loved ones and friends who desperately want to have children but are unable to do so. And before anyone is quick to offer the solution of adoption, let me just say that I have pretty good "second hand" experience in that area. Adoption is almost never quick, and it is never easy. Having watched my own daughter-in-law struggle with infertility, and knowing she will never be able to conceive a child, has given me a profound appreciation for the gift that I once took so lightly.

But moving beyond that ability to conceive and carry children, what I really want to address is what motherhood means on a day to day basis.

I'm talking brass tacks here: changing diapers, doing laundry, serving breakfast, doing dishes, cleaning up after messes made - the list is endless.

And even beyond that, motherhood is the job - yes, the privilege - of shaping little hearts and minds.

And THAT is what I mean when I say that motherhood is the ultimate blessing.

I once read that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.

That thought both inspires and terrifies me.

What I put into my children, good or bad, can influence a generation. The decisions that I make on a day to day basis can have effect on lives - and other lives - for years to come. I have in my power, quite literally, the ability to change the future. Every single day I'm given the opportunity to pass on my values, to infuse what I believe into my children, to impart in them a desire to do great things with their lives: to be compassionate, to be kind and loving, to be gracious, to be selfless, to serve others, to love God.

And I take that role very seriously.

Do I have moments...sometimes days...when I feel like all hell is breaking loose here?


Does it seem that sometimes the universe - at least my little universe at the Rice Ranch - is diametrically opposed to every good thing I'm trying to accomplish as a mother?

Without a doubt.

In fact, I can honestly say that most days feel like that.

Because being a good mother is a fight.

And for the most part it is a fight against self.

Because - truth be told - I really like myself.

I would rather not have to wake up in the middle of the night to walk the floors with a crying infant.

I would rather not break up an argument over which cereal bowl belongs to which child - first thing in the morning.

I would rather not have to remind my teenager - AGAIN - that getting on the computer should never happen without first asking permission.

I would like to be able to go to the bathroom - just once - without someone knocking on the door to tell me that so-and-so won't give them their pencil.

I would love to go through the day without having to stop everything many, many, many times to discuss what our house rules are. (The same house rules we've had since time immemorial do not get on the computer without asking.)

And myself is the one who has to be the enforcer of all these rules. (And yes, I realize I just used myself as a subject, which is a big grammar no-no.)

As a mother, my job can best be described as a constant - and I do mean constant - dying to self.

Which is why it is the ultimate blessing.

Motherhood is the job of shaping little hearts and minds, and in the process it is shaping me. It is forcing me - if I let it - to be shaped and molded into a better person. One who is patient and kind and selfless. One who lowers her voice when she feels like raising it. One who bites her tongue when she feels like snapping back. One who demonstrates to her children who she wants them to be by the way she speaks, by the tone of voice she uses, by the words she chooses.

Because more than anyone in this world (except for God and their dad) I have the power to influence my children. Beyond what the media or teachers or political leaders or friends can influence them with- I have the power to help my children be great.

That's a great burden, and it's also a wonderful blessing.

The ultimate blessing.

And just as I was finishing typing those words, Hayden decided he was ready for his 50th meal of the day. So I'll end my thoughts with these ancient words of truth :

Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. 4Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one's youth. 5How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; They will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate. Psalms 127:3-5


cindie nunez said...

this post made my heart SOAR!!!! thank you for the encouragement. It was so beautifully written.


E.S. said...

As a relatively new mom, with two little ones, this was a good reminder of who we are raising our children for! Thanks for the encouragement!

Naomi said...

Once again your words and insight amaze me! So excited to have this privelage with Koa and all the others to come in the future!

Crystal Kupper said...

You and I are on similar tracks today:

Rochelle said...

Hardest job ever, but such a great blessing God has bestowed upon us mothers.

lindley said...

Amen!! What a privilege and blessing it is to be a Mommy! Thankful everyday--even when things are crazy hard!! Loved your instagram comment on your block pics with Lily last night! Sooo great!!

EN said...

Rochelle said it perfectly! Ditto! Beautiful post, Patti - a much needed reminder in today's world of drama and negativity.

nicole said...

Love your heart!

Megan said...

Wonderful words - thank you!

angie said...

I think this has to be my favorite post you've ever written. I so needed to read this today. I am sitting here at my computer, tears streaming, feeling that very heavy pregnant feeling (third trimester with baby number six at 43 years old), listening to my special needs child chirp at me about needing to use my ipad LOL, and we feel like we've been to hell and back with our 17 y/o these past six months. You are so right, being a mom is a privilege, and may we never forget that.

Catherine Graybosch said...

You are an amazing person, Patti! This post really spoke to me because I have been struggling recently with the idea that I am a mom and how much I am giving up because of it. I forget, all too often, what I am gaining. I am going to share this on my Facebook page because I love it so. Hope you don't mind!

Teena said...

Amen. Amen. Amen. Well said .What a gift motherhood is. I am blessed. :)


Queen Zara said...

A very timely message~and I add my heartfelt AMEN! Thank you, Father for making me a mother!

paige said...

This is so good.. & so true. You do have a unique voice - & I love how you are used by the King.

Keri Jo said...

Well said. I can never put my thoughts into words, but you are amazing... and with a fussy infant on your lap! LOL I think I would lose my train of thought.

I think about motherhood often and wouldn't trade it for anything. Definitely a privilege and terrifying at the same time.

Sweet post

MamaV said...

Yay! I love this! I am always taken aback by how difficult motherhood is... Much harder than graduate school (easy breezy), working full time, or texturing walls (try that and motherhood at the same time... That was MY evening. LOL). But it is the best job ever. And I never want to take it for granted!

katrynka said...

I am glad that you were able to include in the beginning of the post that there are those of use who wanted to experience motherhood but were never able to. I wish it were otherwise, but it has colored my whole life in way that I had not planned at all.

Erica said...

So beautifully written. Motherhood...parenthood is such a blessing. I sent this along to my husband as well. As always - thank you Patti.

ChyCohMommy said...

So very true! Great post. I wish many other mothers realized the responsibility and blessings it takes to actually BE a mother. Your children are great examples of a job well done. Kudos to you!

Stephanie Garcia said...

I loved this!!

Becky said...

I loved every word! Yes, and Amen, and me, too! I found your blog on a link from one of Ann Voskamp's post. And I'm so encouraged! I'm mama of "just" three little ones and every day I fight to remember what a privilege it is! Blessings to you!!

Deanna said...

I saw that one of my friends posted this on fb, so I came back to read it again! I love it...and I love you! Thank you for being such an amazing inspiration in trenches of motherhood.

fred said...

How do you feel about arranged marriages?!? :-) I just found you through Ann Voskamp's link. My sweet third child (of four) has Down syndrome. He just turned six in July...I homeschool all four of my children and just started some "schooling" with Jonathan a few weeks ago...

Patti said...

Oh we are all for arranged marriages ! ;)

cara said...

LOVE this post!!!!! Did I mention I LOVE this post!?

I am saddened at times when I hear people telling my girls that they can do anything they want and don't just have to settle for being a mother!!!! It makes my heart hurt because I am hoping to raise daughters that truly cherish the gift of being a mother if the Lord permits. Yes, they can do anything, and I encourage them to grow in their gifts God has given them. But if he blesses them with spouses and their wombs, I hope that they desire to be the best mothers and wives they can be first. :) Our influence is profound!! You have done an amazing job Patti!!! Love you! xoxo

Amy said...

"Like arrows in the hand of a warrior..."
A- to the -men.
I wish I had something clever to add but honestly, I just like you so darn much. :)

Smith Tribe said...

Pattie this just made my morning... Miss you on Instagram