Yesterday, Harper was so sweet and funny, I wanted to bottle up the day and preserve it forever in my memory. And then replay it again day after day after day, because it was easy and we laughed a lot and she said two new words and learned how to burp her baby doll. Precious, all around. She also napped twice: a quick power 30 minutes in the morning and a full 2 hours in the afternoon. Hallelujah, thank you Lord! His blessings come down to us in the form of nap time!
It isn’t like that every day. In fact, let’s be clear. It’s not like that most days.
Right around Harper turning 10 months old, I started to become aware of a huge distinction in motherhood: there is having a baby, and there is parenting a child. Both are sweet and blessed and packed with challenges and their I-wouldn’t-trade-this-for-anything moments. But something profound happens when you start to see your sweet child who could almost always be satisfied with milk, a pacifier, or a swaddle, turn into a little person who knows what she wants and it isn’t any of those things. And she can’t say much but she can say no. (How do they always seem to learn no before yes?!) She can also convulse her body with strength you did not realize existed in the form of 23 pounds and backwards head butt you, roll out of any diaper change, and throw bananas clear across the kitchen so you don’t actually find them for a day or two. Motherhood is glorious, but it is also very much all of these things and a million more and I cannot seem to figure out how Harper even learned them—it could not possibly be from watching me, because I, at least, don’t throw bananas.
But you know what makes these moments sweeter? The fact that every mother on the planet has experienced them. We are all given a precious little being that can do no wrong. Oh but then they can, and what therapy for our hearts that comes when we laugh, smile, cry, offer suggestions or simply pray with other mothers! I agree, it takes a village to raise a child, and I hope we fill our kids’ lives with people who they admire and want to emulate. I won’t pretend to know a whole lot about motherhood, but I do believe this: the mamas need a village, too.
We need a village because sometimes we just need to hear that someone else has worried about a 103 fever just as much as you have, and to remind you to absolutely not google “high fever in children.”
We need a village to know that we are not the only ones who have been embarrassed by a public meltdown, frustrated by a defiant “no, no no,” defeated by the endless dishes, and counted down the minutes until bedtime.
We need a village to laugh at us. We need a village to nod knowingly rather than judge ignorantly. We need a village to tell us what books they read and loved but that their child cooperated with exactly zero of the theories. We need a village because one day, we might slam our daughter’s finger in the door and be so flustered by her poor screaming that we put ice on the wrong hand. But when our sweet friend gently points out “I think it was her left hand,” and does so with absolutely no judgment on her face, we know it’s ok. It’s just motherhood.
And we need a village because there is tremendous comfort in knowing that we are not the only ones praying for our children. I covet nothing more than the prayers of my village for my kids. Nothing. You can spoil them with books and clothes and toys, but please, I beg you, pray for them more than anything— that their little hearts would stay innocent long enough to believe in miracles, but that they would grow up soon enough to take the gospel of Jesus to the world with conviction. And I will pray for yours just as if they were my own, because a generation of kingdom-minded children is what this world needs more than anything.
Motherhood is the most humbling job on the planet, and don’t let anyone tell you differently. I hope that every mama out there has a village, and that those of us who do make it our mission to connect the ones who do not. We are all doing some things totally wrong, but we are doing plenty of things so very right. None of us are experts, and no one has a fail-proof formula that works every time. But if we have humble hearts and people to share them with, I think we are on the right track. This divine assignment of motherhood is best done in the company of others.
Thank you, Lord, for my village.