While executing my carefully planned grocery shopping, I observed a young mother look up from her produce selections just in time to run after her toddler who blissfully maneuvered the shopping cart ahead, heedless of obstructions or social distancing. Motherhood in every stage looks different right now.
To those women who have given birth during the pandemic, congratulations! I understand the joy a newborn brings into a home but can only imagine the pain of being unable to introduce him to extended family and friends. You can’t leave the baby with grandma for a few hours’ respite. You can’t receive the hands-on help others might normally provide. Your hormones are on overdrive and your body is weary during an already emotionally exhausting time.
To those chasing preschoolers who don’t understand why they can’t see their friends or go to the playground or visit Grandma, wow! How do you even attempt to explain it? How can you convey the seriousness of it without causing undue fear? How do you keep them busy without driving yourself mad? It takes everything in you and more.
To the many moms at home with school-age children. You never aspired to teach because you knew you weren’t cut out for it. Now you’re “crisis schooling,” trying to help your child navigate technology, learn stuff you forgot long ago or may have never learned. Receiving back talk or worse. And when they’re not working on studies, they’re fighting, hungry, bored. You’re told to make this time memorable because one day your kids will look back on it. You’re afraid they’ll remember only chaos.
Perhaps you’re performing your regular job from home and with constant interruptions from your kids. It feels impossible. Or you work in essential services, putting your own life and health on the line every day and worried you’ll bring disease home to your family.
Maybe your kids are teens or college-age. Adults stranded under your roof but not necessarily willing to live by the house rules. Or the government’s rules.
Or maybe you are painfully missing your adult kids. All the Zoom chats in the world can’t make up for a family dinner and a warm hug. Leaving treats on your grandchildren’s doorstep isn’t cutting it for you as a grandmother. Or maybe you’re the grandmother whose arms ache to hold your month-old grandchild whose newborn days are vanishing.
Perhaps you’re a great-grandmother, concerned for your own health risks while at the same time worrying how the fallout will affect your loved ones. Will they make it through financially? Will they still have work? Will the family stay intact?
Whatever stage you’re in, Mom, can I remind you of a few things?
You’re not alone. You never were, and you’re not now. You can call on God’s help from anywhere at anytime.
You may have been told to repeat to yourself, “I am enough.” That might be helpful for a while, but sister, I know I’m not enough. Never was, never will be. That’s okay, because your children can only receive true significance, security, and sufficiency from their Creator. That is not you. You participated in their creation for sure, just as you participate in their upbringing. But you cannot create a living, breathing human any more than you can sprout wings and fly.
It’s in that whole-hearted partnership with God that we become the mothers our children need. Lean into the only one who will always be enough, knowing you don’t need to understand him in order for the relationship to work. It’s enough that he understands you. He knows what you need. He’s got you. He can be trusted.
Take a deep breath and have a Mother’s Day you’ll never forget.