The meaning of Motherhood
Motherhood is one of the greatest sources of fulfilment in this world. For me, motherhood means trusting God with my children even though it has been a process for me to get to a place where I feel I can completely allow myself to let go and trust him. God knows what my children need more than I do. Once I got to that truth, it helped me get to a place where I was able to place my trust in him especially during times when my children would have to pass through emotional difficulties.
Motherhood has taught me to let go of the many expectations I had for my children. One of my expectations as a mother was that my children would be raised in a similar way that I was raised. I was brought up in a township in South Africa, I had good parents and a good upbringing. Despite my hope for my kids having a similar upbringing to my own, God had to remind me that there are some factors that exist that ultimately would mean that my children would in fact have a very different upbringing to my own. Firstly, they have been brought up in England which is culturally very different to the township that I grew up in between 1984 and 1998. Secondly, they are being raised by two parents who are from two very different backgrounds and cultures. My husband was brought up in a small coastal village in the North of England. At times when I have had conversations with my husband, I know that he too would have loved for his children to be brought up in the same village. We both have such fond memories of our upbringing and so it would be natural to have the same dreams for our children. I was raised in a typical African household where adults were adults and children were children. When I look at my kids, I fully acknowledge the stark differences between own my upbringing and their own. They are not as naive as I was at their age, they freely speak their minds and they well aware of what is going on in the world.
The reality is that I am still trying to figure out what motherhood really means. I believe the learning will stop as long as I am still alive. As my children grow older, I am purposely attempting to be a little more relaxed in my parenting to allow them to express themselves as individuals. I am beginning to learn how not to parent out of fear.
My Fears about motherhood
I used to be afraid that my children would not be self sufficient when they became adults. This stems from my own fears as a young adult where I struggled to become self sufficient. More often times than not, I made the mistake of comparing myself to my peers. Some of my peers had cars by the age of 23 and yet there I was struggling to simply hold down a job. I have learned to lean on God in this area and trust that his promises are yes and amen!
I was bullied as a child and I was never able to stand up for myself. From these childhood scars, I had an inherent fear that my children would not be able to stand up for themselves. However, the truth is that my children have been brought up in different circumstances and have been raised in a different environment to the one in which I was brought up. This does not mean they will never been bullied but it does mean that when they do need to stand up for themselves, they have the tools that they need to look after themselves. They are confident, strong-willed and secure. Something I lacked as I was growing up.
I grew up in a home were my parents were overly protective of myself and my siblings for their own personal reasons. This may be true to a large extent, however my unhealthy fear led me to believe that because the world was not a safe place, I needed to shield my children from the world because if I didn’t protect them then something bad would happen to them. As I have begun the process of letting go and let God take over, I have started to experience an inner peace in me. One where I am more relaxed as a mother and where I have no longer stress out about the small things.
What Jesus says about my Fears…
- I am fully equipped for my role as a mother
I believe that God matches children with their parents in terms of personality, make-up and character. I know that my personality and my fun character draws my children towards me.
“I praise you for I am wonderfully and fearfully made” . God has created me the way he has for a purpose and a reason. I believe my calling to be a mother has a lot to do with my character and my personality.
- Cease striving
I do not need to work extra hard to ensure my children honour and love me. I am enough as I am.
- I do not need to compare my parenting to others
My parenting is unique to my own children and my parenting matches their personalities. My parenting style matches my own personality. I have a gentle personality and therefore my parenting style is gentle but firm when needed.
- I am doing an amazing job as a mother
I need to let go of the self-doubt and the guilt that surrounds me and learn take hold of God’s promises and his faithfulness.
It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
- He sees my passion for motherhood and he honours it
God honours my love for being a mother and the effort that I put into what he has called me to do. He see me as strong and capable, brave and courageous, wise and fearless as a mother.
“She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future.“
How I grow in confidence as a Mother…
- Mistakes are necessary
Without mistakes there can be no room for growth. My mistakes do not define me. Neither will my parenting mistakes define my children but they will help me to grow.
- I am enough
I am enough as I am. I cannot give what I simply do not have and that is OKAY!
- It’s ok to have a bad day
I am allowed to have days where I do not feel like parenting. This doesn’t make me a bad mother.
- I must run my own race
I cannot model my parenting based on parenting books or someone else’s style of parenting.
- Being relaxed
I do not need to make small things into bigger things.
- Stop doubting myself
Self doubt reduces my confidence in parenting and stifles my growth.
“God is within her, she will not fall.”
I can be thankful that God had given me the opportunity to be a mother.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
- Remembering that God is always working in me
God works in me helping me to parent and to be the best mother I can be to my children. I can trust that he has and will always have me in the palm of his hands throughout my journey as a mother.
Proverbs 31: 27-28
She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband praises her as well:
“Many daughters have done noble things,
but you surpass them all!”