By Rhonda Ihrig
Many of us think that we should automatically have the natural ability to be a mom. Well...SURPRISE!! It isn’t natural to everyone and it can take time to learn. That was my experience! I had no idea how to diaper, feed, potty train, or even entertain a child. I felt guilty because I thought it should have come naturally, but the only thing that came naturally to ME was taking a nap!
It’s not that I didn’t love those little humans when they came along; I just had no experience engaging them successfully. I also felt that if I talked about my quandary, every mom within earshot would gasp and run.
Realizing my shortfall, I decided I had to learn motherhood. I needed to learn and accept the reality of getting up in the middle of the night (Yep, that was normal). I needed to learn that spitting up was natural (there goes my gag reflex again!). I had to adjust because those tiny life forms I gave birth to required almost all of my energy and strength. I needed to learn that being successful in the motherhood adventure mandated my absolute dedication to my kids. As shocking as it was at the time, being a mother caused me to learn that it was no longer all about me.
If you were born with the “mothering” gene, God bless you sweetheart! But some of us must not have stood in line when they were handing them out. Just like the natural ability to cook, clean, pick the right outfit, get your makeup on correctly, or sing a good night song in tune, everything in life is not automatic to everyone. Some things just have to be learned and motherhood can be one of those. To some it comes easy, and to others it is a struggle, but you cannot accept guilt because you are struggling.
At times, I would even hear some of my friends say, “I want my children to stay young, sit with me, and cuddle.” I would think about that and concluded that although I did love tender moments with my son and daughter, I knew that my long-term sanity depended on their maturation. Babies can be beautiful, but I wanted them to grow up. And I know it sounds terrible but the older they got, the more I liked them! That feeling coupled with my lack of “natural-mommy-ability” made my guilt increase. It became necessary to realize that I wasn’t perfect, I was not fully equipped for my role, and that was OK.
Achievements of value are always the product of hard work. So I read, listened, observed, asked questions of those I trusted, and worked hard to be a good mom. And in spite of my slow start, the product of that learning curve is two amazing adult kids that surround my heart today. It was hard work, but well worth the effort. The end game is that I love my children, I’m very proud of them, and at 38 and 40 years old, they have become amazing and productive adults.
So for those of you who relate, I’m asking you to put away the myth of a supposed natural ability and save yourself any guilt and anguish. But get busy and make yourself better suited at your role. Love your children by ALWAYS telling them and showing them you love them. Pray with your children and read to them about the amazing God you serve. Find some successful moms who can teach, train, and mentor you. Search for some Godly books on raising kids and apply what you read. And pray! Ask God for the strength and discipline you need to shape those shapeable beings. Just remember that it’s learned behavior. Just like swimming, driving a car, baking, playing a piano, or tap dancing (if that’s what you’re into), you may not be a natural, but the more you practice and the more you do it, the better you become.
Do your best.
Love your life.
Love your children.
You’ve got this!
Rhonda is a Pastors’ wife, mother and grandmother. She lives in Livermore California, but you can also find her on the back of a Harley taking long rides with her husband, Larry. Rhonda loves God, her family, coffee and chocolate. Her passion is to see people serve God to the fullest and to see them receive every blessing that God has promised.