And I was kind of offended. I had spent the last seven years of my life working with kids and families. I knew what parenting entailed! Just because I wasn’t a mother didn’t mean I didn’t understand kids and moms! So there!
The Secret Society
But of course, she was right. I was wrong. Motherhood is like a secret society! As soon as I became a mother I had the strangest desire to talk about pregnancy, breastfeeding, diapers, potty training and sleep patterns. And what’s more? Any mother for miles around wanted to do the same!
If I even mentioned my birth story, a hundred other moms would weigh in with their birth stories–with details down to the minute! Suddenly, stretchmarks, varicose veins and sagging body parts become a badge of honor. But being a mother meant even more than just sharing stories–I needed those other moms!
How else would I know how to swaddle my baby right? Or how to breastfeed without pain? Or if I could lay my baby down on her stomach? Years ago I would had all my aunts, cousins and every other female relative to help me out with all this info. I didn’t even live in the same town with my mom when I had my firstborn, so I relied on the internet. Messageboards and blogs became my sisterhood. I could read other’s stories, hear their great ideas and ask my own questions.
As my kids have gotten older (they are at the ripe old age of 2 and 4), I’ve moved away from needing answers about bedtimes and feeding options. Lately, I’ve realized that my big question is more about me than my kids. I’ve had a realization that I am a MOTHER. I’m the one they write Hallmark cards about, say thank-yous to at awards shows and get shoutouts from behind TV cameras. And this new season? This season of letting my kids grow? And getting settled into the role of “mother” and not just cute-girl-who-just-had-her-first-child is much harder than I thought.
I need my sisterhood. I need that Motherhood Society to learn from, to ask questions to and to imitate. How do you learn how to be a good mother? It’s more than just giving your kids the right things to eat or sending them to the right schools. I need to know how to be a mother and a wife.
An Age-Old Feeling
While I was thinking about this, I ran across a passage in the Bible that caught my eye. And this is interesting for all of us–even if you view the Bible as just a historical document. The author of this letter in the Bible was instructing different people on how to act and he zeroes in on women. He says, “These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes…”.
And I just felt a kinship to these “younger women”! I could picture them feeling overworked and under appreciated. I could see them wanting the best for their kids but not knowing how to do it. I could sense their heart saying the same thing as mine: HELP! I wish someone would teach me how to love my husband, love and raise my kids, how to manage my home and be on top of it all!
And the suggestion? Let an older woman teach you. It’s so obvious it’s almost silly. But when you start to think about it, how great does that sound? Wouldn’t you love to find someone who could talk with some perspective and wisdom on why your daughter is defiant? Or how to keep your house clean with 4 kids? Or how to love your husband when he comes home late every night? Or how to be satisfied in this season of giving your career up for your kids?
The Importance of Mentorship
After reading this passage I heard another great idea–my pastor has his own personal “board of directors”. These are guys he sits down with once a month and he just chats with them about the direction of his life. He opens himself up to their wisdom and insight. I thought this was genius!
I’m mulling this over now. I’m thinking about the older women in my life (not just my mom and family members) who could look at me and my role as a mother and give me some insight. Maybe it would be as simple as getting their cell phone number so I could ask them what to do when my son splits his lip open. Or maybe we’d have coffee once a month to talk about the things that have me worried. Or maybe she’d invite me over and show me some new recipes or her housekeeping schedule.
Whatever I do, I’ll have to open myself up to this “big sister”. I’ll have to be vulnerable and open to her wisdom. But the benefits? Having someone train me to be a mother and a wife? It’s what I want–and need!
Do you have a Motherhood mentor? Could you be a mentor to a younger mom?
|Amanda is a stay-at-home mom of two who blogs at OhAmanda.com and Impress Your Kids. In her former life, Amanda was a Children’s Pastor — overseeing, organizing and developing ministry for kids in nursery through middle school, but now that she is a mom, her “skills” are used up on her kids!|