My nearly 8-month-old has begun crawling over the past couple of weeks. He is a fast little boy who likes to throw his toys, squeal, and snuggle. I already know one very important trait of his that I am certain will carry him far: passion. He feels deeply and expresses greatly.
He is partial to me, not preferring even looking at strangers unless I am also in his line of vision. It has taken me a good portion of his short life to adjust to his high-need personality. I was one of those parents who thought it was weird and unusual, often at the fault of the parent, for a child to cry around strangers, dislike anyone besides their mom, and need to be held often. I was one of those people who thought, “You can fix that!” He came into my world as a sweet treasure, one that followed a sorrowful loss, and he has not lived a day without reminding me of how precious he is.
It didn’t take me long to realize that actually, you can’t “fix” a baby (considering there wasn’t anything wrong with him in the first place). It did, however, take some adjusting to the fact that my sweet Asa baby wanted me & me alone. He is hardly like the baby my firstborn was, who was mild-mannered, almost always happy, and enamored by nearly everyone. I was quick to think that it was me, that I had done something at some point in my pregnancy & first days of motherhood with Asa that brought about a little boy who was fierce & loud, unyielding only on his own time rather than ours, and unhappy in the arms of others. I was quick to assume that it was I who was at fault.
But that’s where the glory of this little boy’s life begins to unfold. He teaches me often how I am not perfect and how perfect that is. I never thought I’d have difficulties with a baby because, well, I didn’t with my first. But having difficulties, although uncomfortable and easily susceptible to the prodding of the devil against my abilities, is surrounded by grace. Mothering is hard, and really, it doesn’t let up as time goes by. Instead, you find yourself swimming in the grace you thought you were drowning in, knowing that perfection is unattainable, and that is okay.
What can prepare you for motherhood? Nothing. The truth is, it is difficult. It is a constant battle of questioning yourself and realizing that instincts are your best bet. It’s believing that perfection is not attainable, your abilities really are enough, and that grace is sufficient. And if you find yourself someday crying with a baby in your arms because it feels overwhelming to be doing what you do, know that we have all been there. All of us. I broke down in a restaurant last week because Asa was crying, and I couldn’t get him to sleep. I was mortified. We all want to appear perfect, to know exactly what our kids need at every moment, and to seem like mothering is where we thrive most of all because we rock. But we don’t. We thrive because of grace, because of Jesus, and because we lean on His strength, endurance, patience & love. These little babes just need us. They don’t need us to be excellent in the eyes of all of our spectators (who aren’t really watching us all the time, just so you know). They need us to show them what it looks like to walk in grace, covered by the confidence of Christ. And really, that means crying sometimes, admitting we can’t do it all, and putting aside our reservations & fears in order to love them back just as fiercely.
Moms, you’re doing a great job. I promise. It may never be easy, but there will never come a day when it is not worth it. You’re not drowning. You’re swimming in grace.