You are beautiful with stains on your shirt, smeared mascara and yoga pants. You are beautiful even though you didn’t wear your yoga pants to work out. You’ve been on your feet for 12 hours and that is a pretty great workout in itself. Not to mention all of the times you sprinted to divert your kids from danger and disasters. Plus, your kids probably help you practice the fine art of portion control by snatching food from your hands, plate, and feeding constantly from your chest. Don’t feel guilty for not working out.
You, yes you, you are beautiful. You did work out. You have to have the alone time, the endorphin rush and the confidence that your body is stunning and strong, even the parts that are squishy or saggy or stretched. They are gorgeous. They carried life and assisted God with a miracle. Smile at your battle scars, Warrior Women. Don’t Photoshop them away, be defined by them. Some are longing for them.
You, you are beautiful, even you who birthed a child from your heart instead of your body. Welcome to the ranks of motherhood. You, surely, have stretchmarks on your heart from the courage to embrace another’s genetic material wholeheartedly, adopt another fully and expand your family, name and heritage without hesitation… for some on a moment’s notice, too. You answered the call to love and accept a precious person born from another mother and it’s likely been costly, inconvenient and SO very worth it.
You are enough.
Absolutely enough whether you have nourished a baby from a bottle or your breast, do not feel guilty. Great work! You are keeping a totally helpless little thing alive through your diligence and dedication. You did great, epidural or not, c-section or otherwise. Do not have remorse if your birth story has little in common with your birth plan. You were strong and courageous. You have superpowers and they include going with the flow when life throws you curve balls.
Your parenting style is perfect. Perfectly scheduled or perfectly chaotic. It’s perfectly you. You are doing your best. You make judgment calls constantly. Parenting is not a black and white endeavor. We live in a world of gray matter. Everyone has a theory and bag of tricks that worked for them. But, you are different and so are your kids.
Each. One. Of. Them.
Don’t beat yourself up for the pile of unread parenting books on your nightstand. Good for you. I bet you are so busy parenting that you haven’t had much time to read (or sleep, or eat, or use the restroom alone.) Sleep does a body good so when the choice to read a parenting book or Google another theory or take a nap comes around, I suggest sleep. Rest your weary soul, your burning eyes and achy muscles. Rest your mind that questions and second-guesses.
You are doing great.
You are appointed to these mini-people. They were given to you, specifically. Guard their hearts. Do your best to guard their minds and bodies, too, but toxins and toxic people are everywhere. Teach them to think for themselves and choose well. Teach them to survive and speak up. Teach them their feelings are valid and should be named and expressed.
Teach them that love is a verb. Teach them that Grace is a verb too.
You will make mistakes. You will feel inadequate. Do not dwell in a place of insecurity and inadequacy. Do not compare yourself to other mothers or your children to theirs. It is a waste of time and, honey, you do not have time to waste.
Be unique. Be confident. Accept your Calling.
Most importantly, accept Grace for yourself and let it flow through you to them. You are more than enough for this challenge. You are plenty, but when you doubt it ask for help. It takes more strength to accept help than to do it alone.
Carry on (literally, right? I know you feel like a pack mule.) You will always remember these times. I pray the endless wiping of bottoms, noses, counters, floors and tears will be etched into your heart.
Never forget this season, because someday you will be able to help an exhausted, struggling, questioning mom of mini-people.
I pray that your expectations will be managed and seasoned moms will mentor you. After all, mom’s of all ages need support and solidarity instead of criticism and competition.
I am thankful for the women in my life, especially my mom, who taught me these lessons. You are Gracious. You are beautiful. You are wise with womanly instinct and I love having you on my team.