Be Brave

It’s about bravery.

This a letter to the new mom, the mom in the trenches, the mom who lost her focus, the mom who’s finished the journey. It’s to the tired mom, to the one with a newborn and one with one in college and one with one in between. It’s a letter I would have loved handed to me in those early mothering days. Those were the days where the mothering time stretched out in front of me like a seemingly never-ending fabric of time. Those days will go fast. Without a doubt.

Words to us moms at all these different places in motherhood.

I see you, not sure of yourself, just a bit overwhelmed with this whole parenting journey. Sometimes, you don’t feel you’re qualified, do you? Sometimes you feel as if everyone else has is together. Sometimes you go to bed wondering if you made a difference or if you did it right or if those kids will turn out. Normal. All normal. And yet, sometimes those worries and doubts and wonderings sit in your mind festering in those wee morning hours.

Well, the truth is that everyone starts the motherhood journey feeling like they don’t quite know what they’re doing. Everyone. No one becomes a mother except by becoming a mother. And therefore, we’re all rookies. All of us. In fact, I’d tell you that I’m still a rookie – everything with my oldest is still new and still a lesson in progress.

Sometimes we hide the fact that we’re rookies and we’re afraid we’re messing up on this motherhood thing.

Let me tell you a secret – it’s really really really hard to mess up on motherhood.

There isn’t a perfect mom, a perfect house, a perfect kid, a perfect life. There’s just real. And real is one mom after another after another after another who wakes up in the morning and sees these little creatures who call her mom and she pulls herself up and tries.

That’s not messing up or failing or any of that.

Motherhood is messy.

It rarely looks like the glamorized pages in the magazines or on Disney or on Pinterest. It often looks like one person, with her hair in a ponytail or at work with a binkie in her purse or in the car sipping Starbucks while the toddler screams in the back simply trying. It looks like moms with gigantic to-do lists and kids asking what’s for dinner? and pots boiling over. So that is what I want you to remember. I want you to remember the absolute glory and bravery in trying.

It’s not the big things, it’s the little things.

A life difference comes in the moments when you simply smile through your tears and put the bandages on and hug the teen who is rebelling. Life differences come when you finally state enough and start to fight for yourself and your family. Life differences come when you go through the grocery store tallying your purchases up so that you can pay for the food and still being cheerful to the seven-year-old who is asking for every single thing in the store.

Life difference, mom bravery, comes in the every day.

Because let me tell you – life is simply not easy. The story book fairy tales that you read when you were young rarely happens. Motherhood doesn’t look like the Disney movies. Motherhood is snot on your sleeve because you can’t find a Kleenex. It’s peanut butter and jelly sandwiches slapped together and cut into triangles. It’s negotiating and bartering and praying and hoping and trying and crying and believing and loving and being weary but still fighting.

I want you to see the hero in you.

You may not feel it right now. You may feel insignificant or unimportant or that all the moms with the other kids have it all together. The truth is that none of us have it together. This world is full of masks. Masks of perfection and perfect marriages and lives that run smoothly. It’s full of kids that seem like they have it all together and relationships and finances where no one ever worries. Remember the masks. And try to not wear one because that will wear you out.

Life is messy.

Life is beautiful too.

That is what I want you to remember. I don’t want you to quantify the beauty of life on perfection. I want you to find the beauty and look for the joy and to fight for it. To believe in you. To remind you about just how brave you are in every single day journey called motherhood.

Your kids may mess up. They may get into trouble. They may not be perfect. That, sweet mother, is not a reflection on you or your ability to mother. They are unique human beings with their own minds. You, you do the best you can do. Fight for them. Love them. Believe in them. Don’t let them go. But remember to not define you or your motherhood on external success.

When you are old and sitting in your rocking chair on your front porch you will remember the bravery of your story. The great moments will be there as well. But the moments that you will talk about or others will share will be those very moments when you thought you had had enough. They will be the times when the doors have slammed or the milk spilled or the teen doesn’t come home or the job is lost or the marriage crumbles in front of you. And you will share how you persevered. How you grew and became stronger.

How you discovered the bravery tucked into the corners of the woman you are.

So, don’t lose you.

Fight. Believe in you. Celebrate the little things. Look for joy. Pull up your bootstraps. Give yourself grace. Learn to laugh. Let yourself cry. Hug those children. Learn gratitude.

Motherhood is a journey.

You’ll stumble. You’ll fall down.

But you will get up.

That I absolutely know. Onward brave mother. Onward.