Happy New Year, everybody! As I write this, I’m sitting in the living room of my oldest daughter and her husband, in the D.C. area. My daughter gave birth to her first child and my first grandchild just a week ago, making this New Year different from any other, past or future. Our grandson is a handsome, healthy little guy, who wields the power to draw everyone’s adoring attention or cause great consternation and upheaval.
Being around a newborn brings back the realization of the incredible commitment required in the bringing up of children. Once you have a child, the total giving of oneself for the sake of another is no longer an idea or something to aspire to, a Christian principle to ponder and pray about; like it or not, every ounce of strength and emotional energy you possess suddenly becomes consumed, continuously and relentlessly. You find yourself, by turns, filled with tenderness, angry and frustrated, exhilarated, and exhausted.
No one but a new mother will ever completely understand the strange combination of overwhelming gratitude for the new life she’s brought into the world, and a strange sense of having been transformed into a different person herself–someone she doesn’t recognize and isn’t sure what to do with. Maybe when people lived in smaller, more closely-knit communities women were more familiar with what to expect as new mothers, being, as they were, in closer proximity to other mothers and not so isolated in their struggles. Today we’re separated, often by many hundreds of miles, from our mothers and grandmothers; even spending time with other mothers in the same city or community often requires careful scheduling and the hassle of carting baby and accessories across town. The alternative–not getting out much–can make you crazy. Motherhood, or at least this aspect of it, is not as simple an undertaking as it once was.
In spite of the hassles, the baby blues, and all the rest, I still contend that being a mother is the single most important job there is. It certainly isn’t something you do for fun or fulfillment, although it is often both fun and fulfilling. But if you want to do something that matters–really matters in an ongoing and world-changing way–you can’t do better than motherhood. In spite of the mistakes I’ve made through the years, there isn’t anything I’m more proud of than bringing five children to healthy, competent adulthood.
If you’re a mother, thank you. The world depends on you! 2014 is going to be a good, tough, inspiring, depressing, exciting, boring year for most of us, regardless of the resolutions we make or how successful we are in keeping them (or even remembering them!) Stick with me as I continue to share with you from my own experience as a mother, interviews of other mothers, tips from other bloggers, and more. Parenting is the most exciting journey in the world, and it’s even more fun and rewarding when you share the journey! Happy New Year!