01 May 2012

The growing pains of motherhood

I see you there.

Aching with tired and the desperate hope for a few moments alone this evening. I see you cleaning that carpet again. I see those dishes that are on a constant rinse and repeat cycle.

I see you settle down and get up and settle down and get up and settle down and get up a hundred times before 10pm.

I see you wondering where the melody is in this repetitive rhythm of motherhood.

I see you making lunches and trying to reinvent new ways to cook chicken. I see your relief at the one box of mac ‘n cheese left in the pantry and that pears can always pass as the “fruit and vegetable “serving in a pinch.

I see you building forts and chasing kids who are chasing puppies.

I see you talking to the neighbor over the fence and only realizing 10 minutes into the conversation that you’d clipped your bangs up at a crazy angle and you try to pull out the barrette hoping she wouldn’t have noticed.

I see you measuring your day in inches as the years stretch ahead in long miles.

I see you step on that scale and sigh off it again and swing baby to the hip juggling milk and bottle and pacifier in the slow dance toward the afternoon nap.

I see that coffee cup you forgot you left on the bookshelf three weeks ago and the trail of ants that snake over to the plate someone left by the side of your bed.

I see you juggle temper tantrums – sometimes your own.

I see you walk miles of school drops offs and pick ups and all the conversations in between with your own head and its running list of what you should-have-done different every day.

I see you stand next to all those other moms and wonder if they wonder in the middle of the night if Kindergarten parent-teacher conferences should really be this intimidating.

And sometimes I see you sit there and stare into space and wait to find the meaning in it all.

For the days that you don’t. For the days that someone demands another glass of chocolate milk or someone else needs to be changed first. For the days when the dryer buzzes before you finish your thoughts.

For those days, can I offer a different ending?

Can I slip in and change up where you’re headed in your head?

Because, here’s the thing.

You are the change.

You are the difference.

You are the art emerging from the hunk of dull marble.

You are the deeper meaning you’re looking for.

You are becoming a mother. And mothers are made not born.

Slowly. Like the pencil etchings on a door frame measuring inch by steady new inch of height. You are growing into a deeper version of yourself.

Some pain is to be expected.

But the good kind. The kind that comes with resetting broken limbs. Or carving away decay. Or chipping out the stone for the art that lies buried beneath.

You are not simply existing on a hamster wheel of sameness.

You are becoming.

Each load of laundry. Each dinner. Each boo-boo kissed and nightmare soothed. Each hour of “me” time traded for “family.” Each new wrinkle, each gray hair, each restless afternoon spent trying to make sense of a six-year-old’s world.

You are all these grooves chiseled onto a door frame.

Growing can be slow going.

But it is never meaningless.



I think motherhood should come with a super hero cape and a cheerleader.
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  1. 1

    Lovely encouragement as *always* my dear!

    And that last picture?? It. Is. wondrous. Wondrous, I tell ya! Adore it a thousand times over.

    Love you, friend. xo

  2. 2
    Amanda says:

    I just found your blog tonight and this post brought me to tears. It was like you saw what is in my heart and were speaking directly to me. Thank you so much for your words.

  3. 3

    This is such a truth, my babies are 11 and older and bring with them another set of worries and fears. My foster son has special needs and at times i could cry at the frustration of split milk or endless nappies.

    But yes mothers are born and I’m so grateful God blessed me with my children x

  4. 4

    Your words moved straight to my heart like a balm. Now that we’re out of the toddler years, I don’t have the hamster on the wheel feeling anymore. However, we’re entering the teen years, and I feel like I have so much more becoming to do before I am ready for this. Thank you, Lisa-Jo. I know I’m growing right along with my children.

  5. 5

    I read this early this morning and sobbed. The frustration of yesterday- broken AC unit, finding dental insurance, 3 hours of sleep two nights in a row-was hurting me. Your post helped me. Thank you

  6. 6

    I so needed this. I just love the way you write so beautifully and straight to the heart. It’s always a breath of fresh air to visit this space. So thank you!

  7. 7

    Beautiful post Lisa-Jo! I wish I had read this so many years ago when the girls were little and I was staring into space wondering what is it all for! Now the girls are growing up (too fast) into smart, confident and independent young women. When raising little ones, it is physically exhausting, now that they are older it’s mentally exhausting…trying to stay one step ahead of what they are doing, where they are going, with whom, homework done, drama, hormones ranging…whew, that’s a lot! ….still growing!

  8. 8

    I am a new mother of an amazing 8 week old. For the last few days it seems he can’t be soothed, he needs my arms at all times for comfort and has decided to protest sleeping! It seems I have been up for days, and at 4am this morning I saw this post. It was the boost I needed. The encouragement I needed. Thank you.

  9. 9

    It’s been a rough few weeks around in these parts, so these words are a treasure to me today. Thank you for always being a safe place, Lisa Jo.

  10. 10

    Sometimes I sort of worry that this growth, this becoming and maturing isn’t going to happen when I don’t have much time to myself (when I’m fully awake without an exhausted brain) to breathe and process and pray deep prayers. Life with little ones is SO demanding. I love it and can barely survive it all at the same time. And I am with you in “trying to make sense of a six-year-old’s world”! My oldest just turned seven. Six was tough and very hard to understand. Thanks for cheering us on!

  11. 11

    Beautiful…as always.

  12. 12
    Laura Guilbeault says:

    Thank you. Thank you for every word. It’s like you’re talking directly to me.

  13. 13
    Valarie N says:

    Thank you for this post, for this encouragement!!!! What a difference a few words can make in someone’s life!! 12 years into motherhood and yes, i am still growing, still becoming mother. And i love it!!! Thank you again for these beautiful powerful words!

  14. 14

    “You are becoming.” Always changing and growing in this wonderful and super hard role of being a mama. This post, these words of encouragement, spoke to my heart.

  15. 15

    Thank you for your encouraging words! I’m a working mom, have 2 sweet girls under 4, and a husband who is battling severe anxiety and depression. So most of the time I do this thing called parenthood alone. At times (and most times), I feel that I don’t have enough in me to do it all. Thank the Lord for his new mercies and unending grace. And thank you again for this post. You are a blessing to me.

  16. 16

    That was simply beautiful – and spoken so truthfully and honestly! Thank you for the encouragement – I know the very women who would benefit also from your words.

    Beautiful – just beautiful!

  17. 17
    Sharon O says:

    Wonderful words of encouragement and that last picture of you and your little one is just adorable.

  18. 18

    Thanks! Needed this today. {And by the way, are you a fly on my wall? =) }

  19. 19

    This is so wonderful. I really needed this today! It’s hard when others think that motherhood is perfect.

  20. 20

    Oh, I love it, I love it, I love it! Beautiful words culled from the messy days of motherhood! And, the last picture of you is gorgeous! :)

  21. 21

    Beautiful picture you have painted with your words! As a mother of 4 boys, the oldest is graduating high school next week and the youngest only two, neverending seems like my mantra. But I don’t really want it to end! It all goes by so quickly, thank you for the reminder that is means something beyond myself. <3

  22. 22

    Thank you. So.Very.Much.

  23. 23

    Wow, are you watching me somehow?!! I cried so hard over this because it kust hit my heart right where I am. I wish I could have you over to come sit on my front porch to drink coffee and talk. Please don’t stop writing, sometimes your blogs are the biggest reminder of grace I have in my life. We haven’t met… but I love you all the same!

  24. 24

    I really needed to read this today! As I struggle with my 4 yr old with special needs. And the effects of a new medicine started. As I chase my 13 month old around the house telling her no! Stop! Get down! All while trying to corrall them into getting dressed because I have an appt in 30 minutes. Trying to explain underwear and a superman cape…are not to be worn outside! Right now all I can think abouit is…nap time!

  25. 25

    You hit the nail on the head and brought a few tears to my eyes. Well done.

  26. 26

    I’m relatively new here. To your blog, not to motherhood. You hit the nail on the head. Awesome post. I love your pictures. They tell the story as much as your words do. You’re beautiful!

  27. 27

    I’m going to try and settle my heart (and my own temper tantrums).. and really believe that this life, today with my child, is the deeper meaning that I’m always striving for.

  28. 28

    Thank you for that word today!

  29. 29

    Thank you SO much for putting voice to this encouragement for young moms of your generation. It is so important for affirmation to be given (and received). 20some years ago I heard similar thoughts on the radio when I was tired and worn out with juggling 4 young ones…and I pulled over to the side of the road and bawled with relief that my struggles had been “seen.” My oldest just turned 28, and my “baby” is now 10 (we ended up with a total of 7 kids)—and I just want to remind all of you young mamas that the process is indeed worth it, you will survive (and even thrive at times), and you are doing the most important job in the world!!

  30. 30
    Bronwyn says:

    Thank you for noticing me, and encouraging me ever forward~~

  31. 31

    Oh, thank you. I’ve been wondering why no one mentioned before I had my first that I’d still be me after babies – ie, a person without answers. But their mom anyway.

  32. 32
    Julie Marie says:

    Okay, I’m starting to believe you were called to blog just for ME! ha! Seriously, I cannot even tell you how much I love this post and how much I needed to read it! The hamster wheel of sameness has really been getting to me…
    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! Love you Gypsy Mama!!! :)

  33. 33
    Ingrid says:

    Another tear jerker for me. Youve done it again Gypsy mama! :) Excellent, and perfect timing in my life, today has been a growing, changing kinda day. Thank you!

  34. 34

    This was absolutely lovely! Nice to meet you girl… hope to get to know each other! Praise God for an increase in loving sisterhood! ~ Blessings, Amy Alves from Full Her Life

  35. 35

    Tears roll down my face as I read this. Oh, how I can relate. And I NEEDED to be reminded of the higher purposes in the midst of the lack of sleep, the diaper changes, and yes, the temper tantrums of which I am also a part. Thank you!

  36. 36

    Comforting post! Thank you. It’s nice to be understood. :) The sentence “Mothers are made not born” really struck me.

    • 37

      I’m back again. :) To tell you that I liked this post so much I made a little printable out of it, quoting and linking back to you, of course. If you have any problems with it, please let me know! I doubt you’ll mind, though. Thanks again for the inspiring words!

  37. 38

    Thank you for this. It made me laugh, cry, ache, and hope… This is a much needed read for every mother. Amazing.

  38. 39

    Wish i could put this whole thing backwards on a t-shirt so I could read it any time I’m in front of the mirror.

    Oh, yes.

  39. 40

    Beautifully captured – wish you had been there to say this to me in the midst of it all! I am now coming out the other side, it has been quite a journey, but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world :)

  40. 41

    “Growing can be slow going. But it is never meaningless” Wow, you do see me: ) So does HE! Thank you for the encouragement and the words of wisdom. from the plethora of comments, you can see you struck a cord in many hearts!

  41. 42
    Shelley says:

    Thank you, than you, thank you, THANK YOU… for seeing me today. <3

  42. 43

    Love love love this! Your writing brought tears to my eyes and it’s been awhile since I’ve had a article on Motherhood bring tears. Thank you for revealing the “real motherhood” and how it does indeed grow us.

  43. 44
    Cathyjoy says:

    I just want to say “I love you.”

    I love how you look at the mundane and see the special.

    I love how you can make me feel warm and fuzzy and valuable even though my “mommy” days are long gone and the last chick is about to leave the nest.

    I thank you. I thank God for you.

  44. 45

    Thank you. There is no expressing how much I needed to read that today.

  45. 46

    Ah, yes–we are growing, and it’s never meaningless. Such important words of encouragement.

    Rich blessings, friend.

  46. 47

    Beautiful. It’s good to know we are not alone.

  47. 48

    Love. you.

  48. 49

    I cannot express to you, Lisa-Jo, how very timely this post was for me today. Just before sitting down to read this post I rocked and put down two toddlers after a day filled juggling temper tantrums – some theirs and some mine. It was a rough day and your words were comfort to my weary soul. After days like today, when I know I could have mothered better, I am tempted to grow discouraged. Your words were a reminder that my children are not the only “works in progress.” I am too and God has already brought me so far. He’s not through with me yet. Praise God that He promises to never leave us the same but to change us to be more like Him. Your right – it hurts. But I’m so thankful He counts me worth the trouble. Thank you! Thank you! For your encouraging words!

  49. 50

    What wonderful reminder that the point of it all is to grow and unfold. Very well written.

  50. 51
    Hannah says:

    I know a whole lot of people have already said this but you cannot imagine how badly I needed this!! It does feel never-ending sometimes and I just want so badly to do my very best but far too often I focus on all my mistakes instead of the beautiful things God is doing in my heart thru this process. Little me, who was told I wouldn’t be a good mother, is growing into a mother… a good mother! :-) I need to rejoice in this today!

  51. 52

    what an encouragement! honest & true. 18+ years and i am still becoming… although i have given up on new chicken recipes and we just grill it :)

  52. 53

    I needed that reminder today. Thank you…you have such a gift of encouragement. Your blog is a blessing and I know you are a blessing to all of us whether in cyberspace or in your physical world. Thank you again.

  53. 54

    I love that line “You are becoming.” I will remember that I am becoming; with every decision, every thought, every errand that I run.

    Thank you & be well,
    Heather @ Find That Warm Fuzzy Feeling

  54. 55
    Colleen W says:

    This could not have come at a better day. I have really felt like I was on a hamster wheel doing nothing different, not making an impact. It was really starting to bother me and tear me up. Now I see the change is me and will be me. I’m a work in progress.

  55. 56

    gorgeous post – loved every second of reading! I totally feel this way everytime I think “ugh, I am the worst at this” it is nice to know this “job” has a learning curve and we are all a work in progress.

  56. 57

    Beautiful, and EXACTLY what I needed to hear. It’s been one of those weeks…but as you said, “growing can be slow going, but it is never meaningless.” Thank you for this!

  57. 58

    So so good for the soul and for this mama to hear! : )

  58. 59

    What a beautiful post! Thank you for taking time to read my (in)RL post!

  59. 60

    I needed that. Thank you for the amazing encouragement.



  60. 61

    Beautifully written Ode to Motherhood. It truly moved me and I’m not a Mommy yet. I’m expecting the arrival of a little boy next year and I’m so glad I stumbled upon your blog now. :) I’m bookmarking my faves because I’m sure I’ll need to come back to them sometime next year…


  1. [...] The Growing Pains of Motherhood - Lisa-Jo @ The Gypsy Mama. [...]

  2. [...] “Mothers are made, not born”. This simple sentence stuck out to me and shot through to my very core as I was reading a fellow mommy blogger’s post. [...]

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