By Jaclyn Weidner
Do you ever think about the fact that you’re a mom? Like really stop to think about it? These kids looking at me see ‘Mom.’ Wait - does that mean I’m old??
I had a friend send me a message the other day saying she suddenly felt like a mom because she was wearing a sun hat and “sensible” swimwear.
I have made a conscious choice to not think about the fact that I’m a mom. If I really stop and think about the everyday-never-ending-needing-to-be-fed-and-clothed and general well being of three little people, I will end up in a fetal position in a corner breathing into a paper bag!
Whether I consciously think about it or not the fact remains, I am a mom. I am their mom. I did not choose them and they did not choose me, but we were chosen before the creation of the world for each other.
Hmm. That sounds important...
Because I don’t really take much time to think about my motherhood, I don’t take much time to assess whether I’m any good at it.
Actually I saw a sweater online a few months ago I really wanted to buy. It simply said “Worlds Okayest Mom.” I thought, “Yep, that’s me!”
I was really okay with my okay-ness. And in many ways I still am, but I had this day not too long ago that made me want to change all that.
It was not the worst day, not the best day, just a challenging day. My husband was out of town working at a summer camp and we were leaving to join him after a four-day pit-stop at grandma and grandpas house. So here I was packing the bags, loading the van, feeding the kids, and trying to throw out every garbage bag in the house and anything in the fridge that would not survive until we returned. I did not want to come home to any ‘surprise smells.’ You know what I’m talking about.
So the day was a bit stressful. And grandma and grandpa live on a tourist-friendly island that is incredibly busy in the summer. Not a huge deal, but this was one of the hottest days of the year and we were stuck waiting a few hours longer than anticipated for our ferry. In the hot hot heat. During nap time. Meltdowns were on the horizon.
We walked around the bustling terminal. I stood in line to get a coffee and navigated the crowd with my crew to find the cream station. As I was perfecting my ‘sanity in a cup,’ a woman nearby spoke to me. “Your children are really well behaved,” she said. “Umm thank you…we’re missing nap time,” I stammered back. Her words of encouragement made me want to release the hot, stressful tears I had been struggling to hold inside.
We walked back to the van and finally it was our turn to ride the ferry. I simply had to keep the kids alive for another hour and a half and then survive the 40 minute drive to grandmas house; the land of air conditioning and free babysitting!
I wasn’t in the worst mood ever and I wasn’t in the greatest. I was just doing what had to get done and I tried to make the best of it. I tried to have a good attitude despite my children’s attempt to break me down via death by whining.
As we were docking I practically forced one of my children to use the potty before getting into the car for the last leg of our journey. (There was no way I was making an additional bathroom stop!)
I was helping said child wash her hands while answering her sisters relentless arsenal of questions and simultaneously keeping the toddler from picking up a bacterial infection when the same woman appeared again. She turned to me and locked my eyes. “Your children are really well behaved and you’re a good mother.”
“Umm thanks well yea its been a long day and...”
She didn’t lose my eyes…she focused in on me and wanted to make her message known. “You are a really great mom.”
It was all I could do to keep from crying. I said thank you and we schlepped our way to the van.
If I’m honest I hadn’t been ‘feeling’ like a great mother. But as we walked, I stood a little straighter and I thought, “Well I better take this gig seriously.” I suddenly felt like a good mother. And I felt like I wanted to be a better mother. Not to strive. But to LIVE IN to what she spoke into me. As I’ve told people this story some have claimed she was an angel. I don’t know whether that was true literally, but it was figuratively. Her words spoke life into the deepest part of me.
That is the power of speaking life into someone. Declaring who they are and who they could be allows them to believe it in their core and live into it. How often have I let reckless words spill out of my mouth onto those around me?
I immediately thought of my children and how I wanted to speak words of life to them and over them. I wanted to proclaim who they are and who I believe they can be. So I began to do just that. I watched them in everyday, ordinary moments and spoke what I saw. To one daughter I said, “You’re really compassionate.” To another, “You’re incredibly thoughtful.” I watched their eyes light up and saw the seed of this truth get planted in their hearts. I had already been trying to speak life into my kids but after this encounter I was more focused and I was more careful with my words. And it wasn’t that hard; after all, I am a great mother ;)
“Your words are so powerful that they will kill or give life.” Proverbs 18:21 TPT
Jaclyn is a part-time high school teacher, and full-time mom to 3 energetic and talkative little girls. She loves to dive deep in conversation to get to the good stuff. In the words of her 4 year old she’s “just a little bit funny”. Her and her husband Brendan live just outside of Vancouver, Canada. Check her out on Instagram and Facebook.