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Motherhood, my favorite 'hood

Updated: May 19, 2020

The more I talk with moms all around me – the more I get a full understanding that being a mom the most fulfilling, thankless, tiring, rewarding, amazing thing you could ever experience. What’s funny is that it’s different to every woman – it’s different for every relationship with every kiddo you have…. And it’s even different from day to day or even hour to hour with each of those relationships sometimes.

Yes, Motherhood is fragile.

I think back on the times when my kids were young and wonder how I survived without being reported to someone, somewhere. There were times when I felt like a donkey on the edge I tell you. And I swear I still have PTSD from the Sunday morning ritual of getting 5 kids and my reluctant husband out the door to church on time. And this was after a delicious pancake breakfast complete with making my son’s shaped like race cars because he hated mornings so much!

But when I talk with moms today there is so much more going on than the pancakes of days gone by that my only wish for them is that someone, somewhere will lead the charge to stop the madness!

It’s confusing to me that seven-year olds have cell phones and nine-year olds get a $20 allowance for just showing up. I’m concerned for the moms who really bust their butts 24x7 trying to set good examples and do the right thing for their kids by teaching them responsibility and accountability. They allow their kids to suffer the consequences of not completing assignments but then their friend’s Mom shows up in the principal’s office all angry and demanding some attention because her daughter didn’t get a fair chance on a test? Really?

Somewhere in the midst of all the “mompetition” many of us have lost touch with what’s at the heart of motherhood – which is a mother’s relationship with her child. And I’m not talking about the one that everyone sees on social media – but the stripped down, unplugged, no screen time, stop-talking-about-it-and-actually-do-it-relationship.

One of my fondest memories with my son who is my youngest was on his 9th Birthday when he didn’t want a party. He always hated attention. This year he said he just wanted to go to the arcade with me at the mall. So we did.

I remember walking through the mall. As we held hands I had a moment where I realized something. I asked him, “Son, when do you think you’ll be old enough to stop holding my hand?” And he looked at me and smiled his big, dimpled smile, and he innocently answered “Never mom!” If only, I thought. But as the story goes, five years later he barely came out of his bedroom, because he was 14 and ...

So If I had a genie in a bottle, or a magic wand – I would give one to every mama out there so she could wave her wand or call for the genie whenever she needed that quiet time – that special time that only a mother and a child know. That time when it seems like time stops and you really could hold hands forever. That time that gives you that feeling that you know is making a difference. It’s a memory in the making and you don’t get a second chance.

I love the quote, “Be who you needed when you were young.” It's one that I have carried with me. If you ask yourself what does my child need from me? Beyond the basics – food clothing shelter, etc. What else will your answer cover? Nurturing? Love, Kindness, Validation? Comfort, Support? What about Encouragement? I know sometimes we get so wrapped up in teaching our children we forget all about encouragement because teaching can become a little critical. So think about this one – What does your child really need from you?

What’s funny is many moms talk about what they need from their child. Often it’s a laundry list of behaviors that, once changed or adopted, will make Momma Bear happy. So when you take a minute and think about this – what they are saying is – I’ll be happy when my child changes, or does this… or picks up his clothes … or toys… or cleans his dish … or whatever else…. but seriously ? Shouldn’t we, as moms, be happy regardless? No matter the dish or toys or clothes?

For me, sitting here looking in my rear-view mirror, thinking about my once 9 year-old son who was never going to be too old to hold my hand, is now he's 25 and I only get to see him a couple of times a year.

I hope you’ll take time to find your joy with each child in your motherhood journey ladies. Nothing is more personal than your connection with your child as you love and nurture that little soul into a beautiful adult. You were chosen as the perfect pair – think about those statistics! It’s mind-boggling! That’s better odds than being struck by lighting. The odds that you and your child are who you are together is far more impactful.

Mama Hayley and daughter Ava Benjamin

I hope you will be intentional and make truly purposeful time in your relationship. It will make a very big difference in the outcome. This, I promise.

In closing, I’d like to share this quote by Neil Anderson - Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.”

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