Reflections on Motherhood

May 14, 2023 | Menagerie 

Motherhood. Contrary to ridiculous claims otherwise, it starts with being a woman. Which starts with XX chromosomes and can never be changed.

It didn’t take God long at all in his creation process to get to the male, female, mother, and father part. I can see nothing confusing in his words. From Genesis, Chapter 1:

And he said: Let us make man to our image and likeness: and let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and the beasts, and the whole earth, and every creeping creature that moveth upon the earth.  27 And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the earth…

So, I am a woman, a wife, a mother, a grandmother. A daughter, daughter in law, sister, sister in law.

My pronouns are not she/her. I am a she. I am a her. I am his wife. I am Mom. I am a grandmother to five boys and three girls.

I was never a birthing person and I’ll probably smack you with my cast iron skillet if you call me one.

In dignity and love we women were created unique and with tremendous life bringing gifts by God the Father. You know, the Creator who identified himself, among many other things, as Father. Which gave meaning to what being a man, and a father, and a woman, and a mother, would all come to mean.

My identity comes from God Eternal. Truth. Unchanging.

Ladies, congratulations. Your were gifted from the moment of your creation with a share in God’s own life giving creative abilities. Celebrate who and what you are. Celebrate life, femininity, nurturing, love, and the ability to pair colors and patterns, carry two squirming kids under two years old, five grocery bags, a purse and diaper bag, and open the door without letting the dog in or the cat out.

Celebrate that you loved a man, also created in God’s image, enough to create that most precious and endangered of things, a family. It doesn’t matter whether your family is yours by blood or by love. I have eight grandchildren. Four are genetically related to me, but eight are mine.

Your family, your children, your grandchildren, and everyone else’s are under attack. Your motherhood is one of the biggest weapons against the evil coming against us. You have influence, respect, opportunity, and abilities. Use them for good in word and deed, in action and prayer. In faith, in hope, in love.

As a mother you learned early on, I hope, that love requires hard choices. It is not best for your crying baby to be given something just to shut him up. Your cranky toddler shouldn’t get to watch TV just because. Don’t buy your kid a toy every time you’re in a store. Teach even your little kids to work, and take care of themselves, according to age and ability.

And for goodness’ sake moms, a subject near to my heart, one I once wrote my best ever post on, don’t be overprotective of those kids, especially teens, and especially boys. Men and women are meant to do hard things. We have to be survivors, we have to endure hard times, no money, illness, loss of work, and political madness.

Failures and troubles of all kinds are going to come fast and hard at your kids. Your job is NOT to protect them to the best of your ability. It is to prepare them to survive those hard knocks and failures on their own.

Every single time you remove the burden from the shoulders of your sons and daughters and place it on your own, you lessen them. Every time you try to stop your husband from making the kids, again, especially the sons, do something you are afraid of and nervous about, you interfere with his duty and gift of fatherhood.

Boys especially need dads to show them how to be men. To my way of thinking, and evidenced by the crap going on in the world, we have a serious problem with manhood in this world. People can throw out all kinds of causes, from women’s lib gone wild to trans and gay advocates taking over the mindset of weak people, to lack of moral and religious teaching in the home. Lots of others, most valid to varying degrees.

But I submit to you that nothing is more damaging to kids, and especially to boys (cut me some slack here, I only had boys!) than a mother who undermines the strength, power, leadership, and resolve of the father of her children. Encourage him when he’s hard on them. Stand united against the whines.

I have one particular well loved grandson whose default mode right now is sing song whiney. Whenever he comes to visit and asks me for something, a treat, a special privilege, whatever, I never give him a yes until he asks with a strong whine free voice. I digress, but it’s a good example!

Make them do the hard things. Show them how, encourage, lead, push, shove, but don’t do it for them. Your job is to raise your kids to fly the coop on their own, as wise as youth can be, as strong and untested life can be at that first foray into the world. To do those things with hope, confidence, and the strength of doing things for themselves.

Never bail them out of failure. Cry your mama tears behind your bedroom door when they fail, but let them fail. And get back up. And fail.

I have come to believe that one of my most important jobs was letting go and not stopping my sons’ failures, just as much as celebrating their successes. It’s still sometimes hard to do that now that they are grown.

One of my sons recently made a comment about a boy’s failure at a certain undertaking. His observation was that the boy had done everything asked of him and nothing above that, which guaranteed his failure.

It was a very proud moment for my husband, and for me. That’s the kind of boy he was, and the kind of man he is, and the kind of father he is.

Each of my sons learned to do the hard things early on in life. One of them has three children, two with autism. He’s a wonderful and loving father to them, but he does not see their autism as an excuse for them to do less than every thing they are capable of, and then more.

Another other son refuses to abandon his step children in the face of barriers, blocks, and hardship after a divorce. Because he knows those kids need him more than ever, and he loves them. Lots of biological fathers would quit.

I am proud of my boys. They did not get those great strengths from a protected childhood. I could never have been that strong on my own. My husband taught me to let them fall, to let them hurt, to help but never do for them.

Today, as we offer you heartfelt good wishes on this  Mother’s  Day, I tell you, your job isn’t done. Be strong, be an example, and encourage the young parents in your own family to do the hard things. A lot of things, most things, that are wrong in this world started with bad parenting. They need to be fixed the same way.

Almost every day here at the Treehouse people ask what they can do to fix the problems in our country specifically, and the world generally.

My own answer is to be the best mother and grandmother you can be. Just like childhood requires perseverance in the face of struggle and failure, so too does motherhood. Be strong. Be tough. Don’t quit.

You’ll never get the thanks and recognition you deserve and even if you did, you know that’s not what you want. You want the best of life and love and hope and eternity for your kids and family. Fortunately, you have a mighty, mighty power over the outcome. And you will, until the day you die.

The world needs you to use it.

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