Laura Roland offers encouragement to look beyond the talents you think you lack and realize how God has made you to be the mom your children need.
As a young mom with 3 children under the age of 4½, I often felt myself on a rollercoaster ride of emotions and feelings about what it meant to be a mom. To be their mom. To be myself and be their mom.
For the record, I’m not a fan of rollercoasters. On the rare occasion I find myself at an amusement park, riding the merry-go-round or park bench sitting are more my thing. So being on that kind of ride during what was supposed to be the most fulfilling time of my life took me by surprise. After all, I wanted to be a mom. I asked God to give me children and to help me be a good mom. I worked hard to provide a beautiful Catholic upbringing for them. Even so I still question whether my momming was – is - enough.
I am 29 years out from that first beautiful babe being born. In the odd moment when I allow myself to look back at those years, I often ask the Lord, “What were You thinking, answering my prayer to be a mom? Sure, they turned out well despite my failures and shortcomings. That’s Your grace at work, I know. But still, Lord, I wish I’d been a better mom.”
Funny, these days He has been giving me the answer to that question. Or maybe I’m just in a much better place to receive the truth about my motherhood. Whatever the case, it’s been an interesting conversation.
First, He said, I created you with a unique set of gifts to be their momma. Until recently I’ve not spent much time thinking about how God creates each of us unique and unrepeatable, with a giftedness that only we can bring to the world. I’d always thought about the things I wasn’t able to do, which is a very long list. When I put that false pride aside (and please God, someday let it fall way far behind me, never to be picked up again!) and look at the ways I am gifted to be their momma, it takes my breath away.
One child needed my gift of wisdom to accept that she had a path all her own to follow and to not be afraid to let her fly from our nest at barely 17. One needed my gifts of flexibility and adaptability as, in the pursuit of figuring out his own unique gifts, he tried everything from football to juggling to writing poetry. The third needed my gift of empathy as he walked a similar road as I in discovering and embracing who God created Him to be.
Then He shared, I gave you the exact temperament each of them needed. Although close in age, my children are very different. I learned early on that the way I disciplined one didn’t necessarily work for the other two. I also learned how they needed to be loved. Where one needed me to be enthusiastic, giving lots of praise and feedback, another needed me to sit down and just listen. The third didn’t need me at all but wanted the reassurance that they were loved through a hug or a snuggle at the end of the day.
In recognizing their unique set of needs, God granted me the grace to dig deep, putting aside my own list of unmet needs so I could meet them where they were. I didn’t understand it then, but I know now, that I’m wired to be intentional and present. It’s the temperament God gifted me and gave me plenty of opportunities to use during those ups and downs of motherhood.
Finally, He whispered, I gave you the children you needed to grow as woman. I’m not going to lie. This was the hardest of all the answers to accept. It is probably where my feelings of not being momma enough for them stems and it’s something I’m still figuring out today. Each of my children have brought gorgeous light and joy to my life. And each, in their own way, have taught me lessons that have humbled and broken me, creating a new, good, and holy desire to do better, to be better.
One showed me (lovingly) that I need not try so hard – the only one expecting me to be perfect was me and my pursuit of that perfection left them anxious as they found themselves following in my footsteps. One called me out on my need to always be serving or as I now see it, in control of everything. The list of the ways I took on serving others is endless: planning and cooking big family meals, organizing family outings, arranging everyone’s travel details. I have even been known to make myself ill trying to secure matching Christmas pajamas. All of these are good things to do for my family but, much like Martha, in the doing, in the serving I became resentful. One brave child shared that my serving and doing made them feel like I didn’t really want to be with them.
Did I mention some of these lessons broke me?
They did. I cracked and splintered in the most amazing ways and then God handed me the biggest bottle of superglue called humility and we put me back together, those cracks and splinters healed, stronger, ready to continue the journey that is motherhood.
All of this to say friend that if you find yourself questioning are you momma enough, dig deep and find the courage to ask God to show you today the ways you are enough. Give yourself some compassion and rest in this truth: God has equipped you with a unique set of gifts and the perfect temperament to be their mom and they were created to help you become the woman you are created to be. You are enough for one another.
Copyright 2021 Laura Roland
Images: Canva Pro
About the Author
Laura K. Roland is a cradle Catholic. She and her husband of 31+ years have 3 children and have recently added a son-in-law and a daughter-in-law to their ever-growing family. A former Catholic educator, she co-founded the women’s ministry Encounter Grace in 2018 and is a speaker, writer, mentor, and host of the new podcast, Short Story Longer.