Mommy. Mama. Mum. Ma. All these ways to say the same thing…..Mom. Of all the titles I carry (Friend. Believer. Co-Worker. Sister. Daughter) it’s the one title I thoroughly enjoy carrying. And it has also been one of the hardest.
Many people write about being a mom; the definition of a mom, their enjoyment of it, the struggles of it and/or what they love about their own mom. I’ve personally experienced the highs and lows of being a mom…..haven’t all moms? Even through the struggles, the benefits have far outweighed any struggles I’ve encountered…..can’t all moms agree?
My definition of a mom didn’t start out with the joy I speak of today. I struggled with that title growing up as I fought to get my mom’s love and attention. My mother was not actively engaged or very nice, as she suffers from addiction. I felt abandoned. I had nobody to teach me how to be a woman or be an example of what a good mom was supposed to do or be like. *Today, I do not hold hatred or anger towards my mom because of this, I hold compassion towards her. That’s not to say that I didn’t have years of struggles because of our tattered relationship, I did. However, when I view her from a fellow human (sister), I see her pain and broken heart due to her own mom issues. My heart hurts for her and through God’s grace, I forgive her.*
Then I had multiple stepmothers, all whom I liked, but also abandoned me. This could be a whole other post, for times sake, let's fast forward.
The next chapter in my book of ‘mother’ was that I became one, myself at a young age and unmarried. It revolutionized my path in life. Although, I was lost and confused about how to take care of this little being, I knew what real, unconditional love was …..as well as responsibility! After fumbling through 7 years of raising my son, I became a mother again. This time, I was married, a little older and wiser (a tad). I was also now a Christian and had a great support system surrounding me. Things were definitely different this time around (thank you, God!).
But, then, came an even harder chapter in my mothering book. I found myself as a single mom. With zero family, or friends around. In a new town. With no job. By this time, my life and definitely my mother skills were spiraling out of control as I was just trying to survive. I knew I had to do something, so I signed up for every counseling, home service and social work program I could find. It’s ironic that I’d already been mothering for 11 years with a spouse, but it was when my children were half grown and I was parenting by myself that I really learned how to be a good mom. Community resource plug: I’m eternally grateful for those non-profit programs in the community that taught me so much. Consider giving your time and money to those agencies. They help!
My mother chapters didn’t end there though. As a matter of fact, I’ve found myself in the way of wearing a new mothering hat recently. I’m a stepmother. Honestly, this has probably been the most bittersweet of all hats to wear. I love them and care for them as my own, but I’m not well-liked by some of them. So much so, that simply because I’m married to their father some won’t talk to him. Which just break my heart. However, going through another chapter of struggling as a (step)mom God has shown His face again. He has taught me, given me opportunities, grown me, strengthened me and helped me tighten up some nuts that had gotten loose from the shaky ride. I’m happy to report after year(s) of praying God is performing miracles in these circumstances as we speak (thank you, God!).
I’m not sure if you’re seeing the stepping stones of “Mother” in my life, but God has prepared me for such a time as this. It makes me smile when I think I have learned all there is to know about a subject and even fool myself that I somehow have mastered it, and then you ‘get humbled’ by things getting shaken up. There’s always something more to learn, we’ve never fully arrived. God is not done with me yet.
Point is. The word mother rolling off my lips has gone from disdain to adoration. The story of motherhood ebbs and flows, but one thing remains constant……God has given them to me as a gift. I treasure each one of them, whether I birthed them or not and I enjoy the titles I have the privilege of carrying for them, whether it be Diane or Mum.