MomWhen I was a girl I never wanted to be like my mom. I had dreams of becoming a news anchor or a journalist. I had high-powered ambitions and no time to think about the simple things in life. I wanted to go to college in New York City and leave the South to it’s own devices. No time for mint julep on the front porch for this girl. No way! I wanted modern. I wanted sophisticated. I wanted freedom.

Then I had my first child and it was like God changed not only my life, but the whole world. Suddenly the world was too busy, too strange, and too scary. Suddenly I wanted nothing more than to head home to my Mama’s house and have her share all her wisdom with me. Suddenly I was desperate for the simplicity that seemed to set my mother apart.

The modern mother is often frazzled, worn out and overwhelmed with doubt. She is constantly worried that she is screwing up her child, scarring them for life with inorganic food, and setting them up for utter failure in the real world.

I am a modern mother.

The world is saturated with innovation and technology to make our lives simple. Yet we complicate things with the doubt that rattles through our brains and the guilt that bombards our hearts.

Yesterday I woke up feeling more tired than I did when I had gone to bed the night before. There was no explanation for my lack of energy, except that I am a mom. So I gave myself the morning off. I didn’t make my girls their typical made-with-love lunch. I made them buy a lunch at school. And I felt bad that I had been a little selfish. I’m sure they will need years of counseling because I chose not to spread two pieces of bread with peanut butter one morning.

That seems ridiculous because it is.

I celebrated my mom’s birthday with her this week. It is such a privilege to live close enough to her that I can do that. But it got me thinking about who she was when I was growing up and who she is now. And the truth is she’s still the same woman she’s always been, she just doesn’t have to deal with me on a daily basis. Surely she felt the same guilt and doubt. She’s a mom, after all.

But, I don’t remember a single day when I had to have a hot lunch because she was too tired to make one for me. I don’t remember not getting what I really wanted for my birthday ever, although I am sure I did. And I don’t remember her ever taking just 5 more minutes by herself one afternoon to try to regain her sanity.

I remember the times she packed me notes in my lunch (I still have a few of them). And I remember the time I wanted a 3D lamb cake for my birthday and the stupid thing’s head kept falling off. She tried everything in her super-mom power to make that thing stick. It was a disaster. But I remember how she loved me enough to try to make it work. I remember the way she would wrap our gifts for Christmas with such care and that she was always at my bedside when I was sick. I remember her taking me to church every Sunday and teaching me the Lord’s prayer.

It’s those most important things that I remember.                                           Cake

So, when I called her the morning of her birthday and asked, “Are you old now?” I could feel her smile through the phone when she answered youthfully, “Nope!” I smiled back and made myself a mental note that I need to more like my mom.

Bethany Donham

Bethany E. Donham is married to her high school sweetheart and the mother of two beautiful teenage girls. She is a full time Minister to Preschoolers and Families, but has a passion for guiding others to see the world with a Biblical perspective through her writing.

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1 Comment

  1. I want to be just like you when I grow up. You are the best possible mother ever. I know I drive you crazy, but you will appreciate it one day. I love you so much even when I forget to say it!

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