Winging Motherhood

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"WInging motherhood" by Christina Antus (CatholicMom.com)

Image credit: Pixabay.com (2018), CC0/PD

I’m winging this motherhood thing.

I am a mom.

Motherhood is my vocation.

I have no idea what I’m doing.

God did not give me any of the tools I need to do this job.

I’m winging this motherhood thing.

You see, I wasn’t the woman who gushed over babies. I never felt a burning need to have them. I was under the understanding that I would have them because that’s what married people do. They have kids after they get married, get a pet, run out of walls to paint, and rooms to renovate. I was the woman who, when asked if she’d like to hold the baby, would say, “No thanks, I’m good.” If I did hold the baby it was to be polite, and the baby always cried.

Mine included.

When I became a mom I did discover a void that I had no idea I even existed until these new little people came into my life. But, it wasn’t something that I discovered instantly. In fact, it took years. This new role of being someone’s everything turned my world upside down. Nothing could have prepared me for motherhood, so it’s funny when I hear people say, “Oh, we’re just waiting for the right time to have kids. You know, when we’re ready.” I want to laugh a thousand maniacal laughs of a woman who hasn’t slept a full nights sleep in eight years because I haven’t. For many people, you have nine months to be ready, yet when the day comes you look at your baby and think “She’s beautiful, what do I do with her? I’m not ready for this.”

Because you aren’t.

None of us ever is.

That was me and is still me. A mom with no direction, no clue, no idea what in the world I’m doing. Not with myself and not with my kids. I’m winging this motherhood thing. It wasn’t until almost eight years into this role that I understood my purpose. The light switched on. The off. Then on again. Then off. Because that’s what three-year-olds do. There are no secrets to being a great mom and there are no shortcuts that won’t result in extra laundry or cleaning. If you can find a shortcut, they’re not usually worth taking and often more trouble than they’re worth.

Feed them, love them, and tell them they’re yours. Set boundaries and follow through. Do that and they’ll be happy. So will you.

That’s what I’ve learned so far. And how to remove gum from shirts and the pee smell from mattresses.

The vocation we moms are doing — whether we feel called to it or not — is not an easy one. Not by any means. It’s taxing, demanding, thankless, and exhausting. It’s also breathtaking, funny, rewarding, and joy-filled. It’s chaotic and sticky and messy. It’s confusing and emotional. Often, it’s lonely. Despite living in a house full of people where silence is hard to come by before 8 pm, on some days I’ve never felt more alone.

Motherhood is serving. That’s all it is. Serving life, love, and everything in between from cleaning in between baby-fat rolls to cooling your child’s fever with a lukewarm shower at two in the morning. Serving for the rest of your life in one way or another. It’s a life-long job that never ends for as long as we’re alive and even when we’re gone our job will be left behind in our children’s memories, morals, values, and the way they raise their children. The core of who they become starts with us and stays with them.

What better compliment can we be given than the gift of a child for the simple fact that God knew we were the perfect person to care for them. That no one else in this world could be the one to take care of this person, but us.

I am a mom.

Motherhood is my vocation.

I have no idea what I’m doing.

God did not give me any of the tools I need to do this job.

I’m winging this motherhood thing.


Copyright 2019 Christina Antus

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About Author

Christina Antus is a part-time writer and a full-time mom living with her husband and cute, noisy kids. When she's not writing, she's running, reading, folding forever-piles of laundry, and probably burning dinner.

4 Comments

  1. I’m facing a similar conundrum. I am not a mother yet, but I’ve always wanted to have a baby. I love to hold and care for babies, but I am afraid that I won’t know what to do when I start having my own. They’re fragile, so fragile, and I fear dropping them. Well, that’s at least one of my fears. What if they slip from my hands? And what if I can’t protect them from left-wing brainwashing? What if…? What if…? “What” and “if” sure are the most haunting words in the English language.

    There is no manual on how to be a mother. There are a variety of books that offer help, but no two mothers are ever the same, and they all take different approaches. I don’t like some mothers’ approaches, and I’d like my own. Still, when your children are bon, does something activate in you? Kind of like a mechanism that acts as a guide? I apologize if I am not making any sense, but I suppose I am so nervous because I want to raise my children well.

    • Dear Emma, The thing that will be activated in you when your child is born is grace. God will flood you with a tsunami of grace if you truly ask and are truly open. So, why don’t you feel like you have this grace now so that you can feel reassured ahead of time? Probably simply because you don’t have children yet. I have experienced over and over again that He gives us the grace we need when we need it. I think one of the reasons He uses this system is because He wants us to trust Him instead of being self-assured. This doesn’t mean that you will always feel sure of yourself once you are a mom, but if you offer your day each morning to him and toss up little prayers in the moment of each situation (“God help me!”), you’ll be amazed at the ways He will answer you: things you’ll read, people you’ll talk to or observe, ideas you’ll have, even on-the-spot, or sometimes help from your husband, parents, or others who can deal directly with the child when you can’t (worn out, strained relationship, etc). And those times when there doesn’t seem to be any clear answer? Then you’ll make a decision, ask Him to bless it and move forward. And those times that you totally fail and know it? Well, those are the times we remember that we’re human, clouded by original sin. We ask God for forgiveness, and ask the child for forgiveness too. We learn from it and keep trying. There is some freedom in just recognizing that we will mess up a lot as mothers, guaranteed. Because we are human. But we can mess up less frequently if we just ask for God’s help (ie. Grace). I totally agree with this author: don’t wait to “feel ready” to have kids. Be open to God’s incredible gift of children and then ask Him to show you how to get ready ahead of time and how to be ready in each of the unique moments. God will store up your prayers and attempts to become more virtuous and will use them all throughout your life as a mother. Your prayers now, pre-motherhood, will directly bless you and your husband and future children years down the road. God bless you Emma, and your future family!

  2. We all experience these worries as parents, it just comes with the territory. As a first-time parent, everything is scary. With each subsequent child, you get more comfortable and confident, but every baby is a different person, so every baby has new challenges. You learn as you go and lean into people who are there to offer tips and advice on things to try. You use your pediatrician and triage nurses to help you with the basics on eating and sleeping and rashes and fevers (that’s what they’re there for) and eventually you fall into things day by day.

    A huge part of motherhood is letting go of what we can’t control, and we can’t control much. Especially as our kids get older and try to navigate the world on their own. It’s a constant struggle and probably one you’ll have forever once you start having kids. You do your very best to raise them and you lead by example and hope they take the best parts of you with them when they go off on their own. Easier said than done, but no one ever said things would be easy in this life.

    Even the best books on parenthood are a guide. Motherhood is about adapting, changing, and winging it. You learn to work around the things you can’t change and accept the things you cannot control. It’s normal to worry, but it doesn’t really help. And yes, some things do “activate” in you, your instincts to know how to do some things, or when something isn’t right. Your instinct to want to nurture, but the rest is trial by fire and the good news is your baby doesn’t really know what you should be doing either, so you’ll be in it together.

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