The mother-child bond is a pretty exclusive thing. There's only one of you and only one of them. Forever and always you will be the person they call Mom. Your connection will outlive you. Long after you are gone, your sweet children will still be hearing echoes of your voice in their heads and your body language will be mimicked by their muscles.
There is power the name alone. Even a mother who dies giving birth keeps the influence of the title and remains a presence in her child's life. Her baby will daydream about her and learn from others about what she was like. They will imagine her advice and care. She is where they began. She is Mom. A mother's voice is able to find it's way deeper into their souls than almost any other.
Moms have been given the gift of the beginning. We are there when the shaping happens, when the personality and the character are still soft and shape-able, being formed into the bedrock of who our child will become. Our hands and voices are the ones doing the most touching when the clay is wet. It's an incredible gift to be given such wide-open access into the creative process of a new being becoming. You get to watch this flower bloom. You get to be the one who tends and waters noticing changes imperceptible to the casual observer. And then you get to be the one who can celebrate with the most intimate knowledge when the bloom breaks free.
The name's power isn't bound by time or minutes, it is magnified by them. Moment upon moment, a Mom takes the influence bestowed upon her by her title and chooses what it will magnify.
It's powerful Mommas, this name you have been given.
It's like Frodo's ring, it demands to be used, burning in your pocket and begging to be put on. Everything you do is bigger because of it. Just like Frodo, you can't escape the fact that you have been chosen to wield its power and so you must find a way. You can't just fling it away pretending it isn't yours. You can't wield it on a whim, without thought to anyone's needs but your own, or you risk terrible pain to you and everyone you love.
You must find a way to be worthy of the power you have been given. There isn't another choice. You will use it, or it will use you.
It didn't really get easier once Frodo decided to screw up his courage and be the person the ring had chosen. It actually got more scary and bloody, but it also got more worthy.
Frodo wasn't perfect, but he was what Middle Earth needed.
You aren't perfect either, but YOU are what your family needs.
So it's time, Mommas, to get serious and screw up our own courage. We don't need to be overwhelmed in fear, always looking over our shoulders and second-guessing ourselves. Grace covers the fact that you are human, that you make mistakes. Pray for that covering often over your children and then live strongly and on purpose.
We need to be professional mothers who learn how to wield our power with precision and care. What have you done towards developing your mom skills lately? Have you read a book, taken a class, gone to a conference? You should. Have you spent time developing a professional community of moms you respect and can learn from? You should. Do you take the time to think about and plan what you are doing with and teaching to your children, are you proactive in your parenting skills? You should be.
Most any job you get out there in the world will expect you to spend time and money on continued professional development. I promise you, none of those jobs is as important and powerful as this one. It deserves the highest level of professionalism and skill you've got inside of you.
And let me just get on a soapbox right now and rant for a minute. You need to figure out how to give your title and job description the respect it deserves inside your own head and with the words that come out of your mouth. I am sick and tired of hearing women say, "I'm just a mom" when they're asked what they "do." Stop being shy about it. You are this on purpose because you know it's important - act like it!
If someone asks you, "Do you work?" The answer, "Yes, I work at home. I care for my family and right now I don't have time for another job." or "Yes, my main job is at home with my family but I have another job on the side."
If you are putting other careers on hold right now so you can make your family your career, I know you didn't do it by accident, or because you're not good at anything else, or because you're lazy and don't want to pull your own weight. You're doing it because you're strong and you chose this life on purpose. Speak about it like it was a strong, intelligent choice. Your feelings about yourself and your work will be impacted by how you speak about it.
I'm on the board at the charter school that my children attend. Recently we were welcoming a new board member and were asked to introduce ourselves explaining our professional experience and how that impacted our decision to serve on this board. As the introductions turned clockwise around the table I worked through my response in my head. When my turn came I was ready.
"My name is Lori Florida and I've served on this board for 5 years. I have a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education that I have chosen to use professionally at home raising our 8 children, 6 of whom have attended this school. I believe that my experience and insight of being a mother who has guided children through every grade level of this school allows me to offer unique and specific insight into the needs of our students and families. Being a board member also serves my mission as a mom by allowing me more influence and depth of knowledge into my children's education."
That sounds so much better than, "I'm just a mom..." It's not blowing smoke or trying to talk yourself up. It's being honest about the gravity and respect you see in your position and treating it like it's a valuable way to spend your life.
These are just words, they're important words, but words none the less. It's your life that really matters the most. It's the day in, day out "momming" you do that really makes you a professional.
It's the cool hands on a fevered forehead....
It's the stern words of discipline coupled with the soft words of grace....
It's the high expectations and belief in the best....
It's the heart that's hungry for God and trusts Him implicitly with your kids....
It's the getting a babysitter so you can go to a conference or read a book that refines you....
It's the shoe tying, Candyland playing, peanut butter and jelly making, diaper changing....
It's all of it.
And it's doing all of it like it's your calling, your grand plan to leave an enduring mark on the world, that makes you a professional. This is the thing you have chosen to give your life to because it's worthy and because you are the only mom your kids will ever have. It's a career and it will take all of you to do it well. Blood, sweat, and tears. Hard work and deep thought. Learning and development.
Do it well, Mommas. Refine yourself and give it all you've got. You won't be sorry you did.