When I saw this Gatorade ad, Like a Mother, about Serena Williams’ return to tennis and success after motherhood, it resonated with me.
We’ve all heard it…
“Kids change everything!”
…cue anxiety about no more date nights, stepping on legos barefoot, and kissing sleep goodbye.
If you are deciding whether or not to become a mother: YES, things will certainly change, and they most likely will not get easier. But the biggest changes you will see may be within yourself.
When I was pregnant with my first child, though very excited, I was worried about the changes that awaited me. I had heard stories of colicky infants and sleepless nights, and I thought, “Will I even be able to do this?!” But somehow, I was able to muster the stamina and patience to handle it all (even on very little sleep!). And things did change…mostly me, I became happier and stronger.
Actually, motherhood changes you.
Motherhood forces us to dig deep and develop attributes we did not know we were capable of, like intense love, stamina, sacrifice, and protection. Perhaps it’s because being a mom helps us to focus on someone other than ourselves. It is a known fact that turning our focus from our own wants to the good of others almost always increases our own happiness… hence, the unique joy that comes from motherhood! And the beautiful, heroic traits that follow.
She protects like a mother
As mothers, we are wired to protect our children. Those instincts can be simple like stopping smoking when we see those two pink lines or more fierce when our kids are being bullied or hurt. We’ve heard heroic stories of mothers rushing into danger to save their children, putting their children’s safety above their own. And if you’re a mother, you know about the protective instinct of a mother’s intuition that warns us when our kids are in danger or headed towards trouble. I have learned through the years that those instincts are almost always accurate.
She loves like a mother
There is nothing like the depth and strength of a mother’s love, and until you are a mother, this is hard to understand. I can remember when I was pregnant with my second child, and I actually thought, “Will I be able to love this child as much as I do my first?” Well, of course, I loved them equally, and as I became pregnant with number three, then four, I knew my heart could make room for all of them. I learned that no matter how full our lives may seem, there is always the capacity for more love.
She forgives like a mother
Children are beautiful, but they are children, and they are constantly learning, exploring, and pushing boundaries. I can remember being so upset with my children- from flushing hand-towels down the toilet to missing curfews as teenagers. But, amazingly, my ability to forgive them was unending. I could scold them, counsel them, and dole out the punishment, but then in a few minutes, we would hug and go on with life – all a little wiser from the experience.
She hopes like a mother
Moms can see the potential in our children that they can’t see in themselves. We are the cheerleaders- pushing them to new achievements and steering them to use their talents. When they are upset, we tell them “everything will be alright” (saying it to comfort our hearts just as much as theirs). When they get lost on the path, we remind them who they are and help guide them back, without ever losing hope of what can be.
She sacrifices like a mother
The one word that describes motherhood most perfectly is sacrifice– giving up our own wants to meet the needs of someone else. But the crazy thing is that once we become a mother, we embrace this sacrifice because we realize it is not about losing the things we love, but giving our love, time, and attention to something (someone) we love more. This sacrificial love of motherhood is where we are made beautiful, along with our children.
She hurts like a mother
While being a mother brings so much joy, there are times when motherhood can be painful. Being a mother allows us to almost feel what our children feel: the excitement when they take their first steps, the pain of stitches and broken arms, or the regret that comes from a bad decision. A mother’s love wells up in us in the form of compassion and draws our hearts even closer to our children, giving us a strong desire to do something to help…sometimes stepping in and fixing, and sometimes stepping back to allow them to grow from the experience. All the while, praying for grace and guidance.
The beautiful thing about the growth we experience through motherhood (a heart full of grit, beauty, and love) is that it overflows to improve our careers and our relationships. As women, we don’t have to choose one or the other. Serena chose both! And is excelling.
Was I the perfect mother? By no means! No one is.
But the good news is that despite our imperfections, we can be successful mothers by simply loving hard, sacrificing often, while doing our best to raise our kids to be the loving, giving individuals that they’ve helped us to be.
If you think you may be pregnant (whether this news brings joy or fear), Little Way can help with free services, like pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, information on all of your options, and a listening ear. We provide a safe place without judgment, so you can ask the questions that will help to empower you to make the choice that’s right for you. So, come on by, we’re here for you.
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