To mommas of toddlers . . . It may take me three days to write this, but here we go…
All this month I am featuring authors from my ministry team to share heartwarming posts just for moms. Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there – spiritual moms, biological moms, adoptive moms, biological moms, step-moms. Your work is a blessing!
COVID 19 has nothing on a naked two-year-old, diving off the kitchen table screaming, “Catch me, mama!” I waited for a long time for this little miracle boy, and here he is, in all his toddler glory. If it’s a liquid, he’s gonna spill it. If it’s solid, he’s gonna smash it, and if it’s time to sleep, he’s gonna fight it with a smile.
So here I find myself, in a lockdown with this beautiful little ball of discovery, rebellion and the sweetest kisses and hugs in the whole world… well, my whole world anyway. Oh, but am I tired! To every toddler mama in the world right now, I am saluting you. To every first time + toddler mama in the world, I raise my sippy cup to you, because yeah, I use one once in a while too. (No judgment here my friend, no judgment here.) It seems as if in my house, sippy cups have replaced pretty cups and toys have become my new Home Decor, accentuating tables, chairs, and every other surface you can think of. As for the bathroom, well, I’m not even going there.
This year, a nice sit-down meal at a restaurant to celebrate motherhood won’t be happening, for any of us. But let’s be honest, have you ever tried to take a toddler to a restaurant anyway? *Insert weird hysterical laughter here. I mean, have you ever seen a toddler use their Houdini like moves to break out of their wooden highchair while the waitress’ and fellow patrons look on with either, pity, amusement, or aggravation? It can be quite comical in a box up your cold steak, loaded baked potato, sippy cup, and hit the road kind of comical.
But can I get real for a sec? I waited for a long time to get my miracle boy, and I am an “older” first-time mama. These days I can relate to Sara in scripture. No, I’m not 90, but to be 38 with a toddler in today’s world can almost feel like the same thing! I was very independent and busy before I became a mother, so when the baby came, I was instantly thrust into a lockdown situation of my own. Friends changed (a baby changes your priorities.) My home layout changed (I am 5″1 and if I’m not careful, climbing over a baby gate can take me out!) My sleep schedule changed (some days it feels non-existent.) My life changed (but so did my heart… it got bigger.)
People warn you of this love, this sacrifice, this sleeplessness. But for real… you don’t truly understand any of it until you live it. I am worn out, my mind has become a battleground for fears I never thought possible, and as a first-time mama, I have no idea what I am doing! But praise the Lord, we are alive! I’ve heard people say at least you have a baby, and you shouldn’t complain, but hey! I battled it out with infertility for over 13 years, and to be honest, motherhood is harder. My prayer is that my honesty before the Lord, and before others, will create a humility that brings some grit, grace, and a few naps my way.
Yes, some women seem to do this with such grace, dignity, patience, and beautiful social media posts, but as for me, some days I feel like getting his teeth brushed is a miracle in itself! So who cares if he’s naked and my hair hasn’t been washed in a week? And who has time for a social post when YouTube Kids is on? And you know what? This post isn’t for the got it all together mama. This is for the postpartum halfway to depressed mama, who has too much Jesus in her to quit. This is for the mama who realizes that motherhood is celebrated for one day, yet it can often go uncelebrated every other day of the year. This beautiful yet never-ending work. Bedtimes, bathtimes, kissing boo boo times, London bridge times. All these things mixed in with tantrums, cuddles, laughter, and the occasional and very old, rogue French Fry. So, where is Jesus in all this you ask?
You better believe He is in all of it. When that baby is about to leap off the table, Jesus taps me on the shoulder and whispers “Catch Him”, while He gently reminds me of all the times I have jumped out with great faith and landed happily into His arms. For every fall, I am made aware of the comfort that he brings to wash away every pain on the inside and outside alike. When I am tired, He tells me that it’s okay to take a nap too. He made rest, it is good, the dishes can wait and it’s cuddle time. He has walked beside me for every discovery and rebellion of my own, and He has been there for every tear, every fear, and every breath.
He shows me that when it comes down to it, every emotion that I have been feeling, being overloaded and overwhelmed with, stems from one feeling alone… LOVE. It has just not been perfected yet. I can see where the saying “crazy love” comes from now. To love something greater than yourself can make you crazy if you let it. I almost can’t take the pressure. This deep sense of wanting to care for, protect, and provide for this little human blessing. But then God steps in stilling my heart and I can see more clearly. My little blessing is HIS child first, and He is his ultimate protector and provider, and one of the greatest privileges I have, is to pray. I remember that I am His child too, that His love for me was so strong, so overwhelming, that it leads Him right to the cross so that He would never have to live without me.
Jesus died to bring me life and motherhood is no different. God made me a carrier of life and every day I must die to myself in order for love to win over every fear, worry, imperfection, place of insecurity, and doubt. You see, this is the way that love is perfected in us. The greatest love I will ever have to give will be taught to me, by love Himself, and that is something I will celebrate every day of this life and the one to come.
“…if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” 1 John 4:12
Happy Mother’s Day. May you love and be loved well! -Tabatha Haines
Tabatha Haines is a songwriter, momma of a toddler, and a creative who loves to find new ways to share the love of Jesus with everyone whose path she crosses. Listen to her latest song here.
For more encouragement for moms this month, check out these other blog posts and podcasts: