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Motherhood is not a brand.

Sometimes reality comes tearing through the brain fog and hits me right between the eyes. There are days when I am taking a moment to check into Facebook, (which serves an important purpose for my family since most of our loved ones live hundreds of miles away), and as I am scrolling down my news feed I can’t help but feel that slight pang of something hit me right in the gut. The thing is… I don’t know quite what that something is. I am not a jealous or envious person by nature. I am honestly not one of competitive spirit. I genuinely love to love on others and connect with many. Optimism just seems to be in my genetic make up and every thread of my being. That something however just grates now and then. I believe it may manifest itself as something likened to guilt. It does make me question myself now and again. Am I doing enough? Do I need to do things like Jane or Sally, ( Don’t ask where those names came from I don’t even think I have a Jane or Sally on my friend’s list lol!) to be a better mother?

Being exposed to the internet, but especially to social media websites such as Facebook, we  constantly “see” so many different types of parents. We see so many images and portrayals of motherhood. Some are like our own ideals and convictions, most however are not. What works for one family, one child will certainly not work for another. Happy is subjective. The concept is completely relevant to the person whose soul it resides in. As if Facebook isn’t confusing enough, there are countless self help books, a slew of articles on being the “right” kind of parent (shared over and over) and your friendly neighborhood know-it-all that seems to juggle everything with poise and still have their fill of advice on every subject from school functions, to vaccinations to even playground etiquette. Is your head spinning yet?

Being a mother of five you would think I might have it all together, or maybe even the complete opposite of all together too. I actually get asked often how I manage it all. The truth is I don’t. I am guilty of making promises that I haven’t kept, losing my temper, sending my kids out of the house with a shirt on inside out or the shoes on the wrong feet. My hair isn’t always done (and I don’t just mean undyed, untrimmed and unstyled. I mean UNBRUSHED complete with budding dreadlocks.) and there is usually some unknown substance smeared at any given place on my person.  As a matter of fact there are days when the baby hasn’t stopped nursing since I woke up and I have to look down and double check to be sure I put my boob away. Yes, that is my reality lol!

But Thank God for that because…

Motherhood is Not a Brand.

Despite all preconceived notions you don’t choose it, it chooses you. It doesn’t just select the rich or most well off financially and you don’t have to have it all together to join this nonexclusive club. It isn’t delegated to only the older…or younger. It often is messy and a bit scary and very much overwhelming.  We don’t have a patch sewn on our clothing declaring our allegiance. We don’t walk around shouting at the top of our lungs the beliefs we carry in our heart of hearts (most the time anyway, refer back to my beginning post about Facebook.) What we do show is the love on our face, no matter how weary or exhausted we are. Our commonality is the true and unconditional love we bear like a coat of armor. We wield and brandish the same swords despite the very different battles we face. Some of us have small children, newborns and babes and toddlers. Some are entering newer phases as our children become young adults or a bit of this and the latter. Some of us have children who have long graduated and have children and babes of their own. Yet we still are all part of this same crazy club because…

Motherhood is Not a Brand, it is a Journey.

We all have a different walk and we take different paths. We embrace different cultures. Our commonality is… we all love our children.

Despite what I see on Facebook I often take a step back to pat myself on my back and count my blessings. I do this as a favor to not only myself but my children. How I parent them is going to trickle down to possibly how they parent their own little ones. I pray that my own shortcomings prove as a healthy serving of Grace and humility and they see that is all in love. I believe they will though because in the midst of our daily turmoil I never forget to show unconditional affection. I never forget to remind my children that they matter. That I am human. That perfection doesn’t exist and that is a wonderful thing.

It also reminds me to take a moment and possibly share something kind and encouraging on a random status on Facebook to a mom that may or may not need it. It is nice to uplift others despite the fact that I do or don’t do things or see things the same way as they do. I always try my best to be completely selfless and share with them that someone out there in this big wide world aside from the tiny people in their lives and the ones that know them most, appreciates them and sees the good they are doing.

We are after all commanded to love our neighbor. That is something I personally take seriously and practice even when it is hardest. I think us Moms need that same Grace the very most, especially from one another.

I thought I would share this today in case anyone out there may be having one of those days where they forgot to count their blessings and may be forgetting to remind themselves just how special they are in the life of a child somewhere. To remind those that you don’t have to be like Jane or Sally to matter. To remind those to spread a little love or Grace of their own. It means way more than you may realize and only takes a mere moment.

I’m so glad that God cut me from my own special cloth and that despite my shortcomings my children will grow with me as their Mama. The same goes for you too.

1 Samuel 16:7

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

nd an image from yesterday from my Project 365:

39/365 Slow It Down

Tonight as we were getting ready for church, and we were as usual running a bit late, I noticed you were very quiet. Quiet is something that isn’t always good in a house full of children, especially when one of them happens to be four. Then I heard Daddy say fairly loudly to go see me….”Now.” I knew that you must have gotten into something. You walked in my room with your head down, shoulders slouched and my heart sunk. I know we were late. I know that you weren’t dressed yet. I know that you were covered head to toe with marker, but that was a teachable moment for me. Slow down. Enjoy this. So I kissed your cheeks, adorned in (non) washable marker and we had a giggle as I gently washed away the mess. Not before I took an image though. An image that will forever remind me that imperfection is just as beautiful. That these moments never last. That you are four… and I will miss four so much someday. We made it to church on time, but barely and it was so worth being late. You teach me so much more than I teach you.

February 9, 2014 - 11:49 pm

becky - Oh Sarah, this is so beautiful! Thank you for your time in sharing this, its truly a blessing.

March 12, 2014 - 3:37 am

Kaela - Sarah, I just love your heart. You are a beautiful storyteller with photography and words.

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