11 Aug 2013

How mothers are made

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.



{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    Oh sweet Lisa – I love that even as I am learning to let go and enter in to this last season of having my girlie still saying goodnight and falling asleep under the same roof, your words soothe and encourage… just as much as I know that they do this for those who are rocking back to sleep in the 2am feeding hours and juggling toddler toys and play dates and diaper bags and melt downs… for it is truth, what you say here: “Growing can be slow going But it is never meaningless.”

    Thank you, my friend! You are one of my most favorite Mama’s!

  2. 2

    thanks for writing stuff like this. cuz most of the time, the only person on the planet who stops and thinks to appreciate me is a stranger thousands of miles away, and that still counts…:)

  3. 3

    Thank you, I needed this today! I’m a younger mom, 25 almost 26. Sometimes I feel i’m failing.. then I read this and I know I am not, I am becoming a mother!

  4. 5

    Impeccably written and SO very true! Thank you from a mama for 3 boys under 7! Beautiful!

  5. 6

    I feel like I know you… Like we have been friends for years! I LOVE your writings. The perspective they put on motherhood, the way I feel like I have a cheerleader across the miles and we have never even met…

    ~thank you~

    • 7

      It’s so comforting to know we aren’t alone in our experiences, isn’t it Kelley? I LOVE sharing with you guys.

  6. 8
    Christy Douma says:

    Thank you.

  7. 9

    Thank you… After a long weekend with a sick 18 month old, while I am 34 weeks pregnant & worried about issues at & keeping my 50+ hour a week job outside the home these are the words this worn out mama needed…

  8. 12

    Wonderful post, Lisa-Jo! Being a divorce mom, I only have my daughter half the week, but I feel like I condense a week’s worth of attention into those three and a half days and I’m still exhausted!

    It’s so tough to see the big picture sometimes. I’m glad to have posts like these to remind me.

  9. 14
    Melissa giambastiani says:

    Thank you so much for this! So true in every word! I’m sharing this with all my friends!

  10. 15

    This blessed my heart tonight, thank you.

  11. 16

    Read this about three minutes before I heard the trickle of four year old daughter sleep-walk peeing in the upstairs hallway….only when the husband is out of town! Another day and a restart.

    Thanks for perspective!

    • 17

      Oh. my. Word. My son sleep asked the other night if he could be in a singing group :)

  12. 18

    What a great perspective: we are BECOMING, not just being. Thank you, Lisa-Jo, for thee great words of insight and encouragement. Motherhood sure is a mighty tool for sanctification in the hands of the Almighty :-)

  13. 19

    So true. It’s so easy to get lost in the sameness and the never ending small tasks of motherhood. I know better than to feel it’s insignificant, but every now and then could use a reminder! Thank you for sharing this.

  14. 20

    You’ll never know just how much I needed this today. Thank you for the encouragement.

  15. 21

    You wrote my heart. I am so blessed by your words, thank you!

  16. 22

    You have such a wonderful way with words, reading our minds and making sense of the muddle of thoughts we are sometimes just too exhausted to form into sentences, never mind a blog post!

    Thank you

    PS We have the same Heroes Bible and it’s a huge hit with my son :)

  17. 24

    Thank you. I needed to be seen :)

  18. 25

    I love this LisaJo! Thank you for being the encouraging friend that I so desperately need right now. You are a blessing to me!

  19. 26

    Even as I have two grown children, a teen and a 10 year old, your words continually speak to my heart. Thank you Lisa-Jo, for your obedience to touch the heart of a mom, all moms, with your words.

  20. 27

    hi Lisa Jo, I wish from time to time you would acknowledge us mothers who have lost their children. yet have to remain here on earth with the living. their is no meaning to that mothering.

    • 28

      Hey Liz, my heart aches at the thought of that loss. It weighs heavy on me. I have friends who know this loss and I grieve with you.

  21. 29

    Thank you for sharing your gift. Blessed words. Xx

  22. 30

    As my kids enter the teen years, I find myself “becoming” an entirely new work of art. I didn’t expect that, but the chips keep falling away, and I find myself made new as we enter this season.
    Love your words as always, Lisa-Jo!

  23. 31

    Your encouraging words never cease to amaze me. I wish I’d had you around to encourage me when I was in the midst of motherhood. Thank you for sharing your gift of encouragement with moms today!

  24. 32

    Once again, you words bless me! I greatly needed this encouragement on this dreary Monday morning. Thank you : )

  25. 33

    Thank you for such sweet words this morning — I love seeing your writing pop up on my computer screen! This morning I find myself in another situation — I will move my oldest into his college dorm room on Saturday and I am slowly becoming a different kind of Mom. I would give anything for those days to return that I silently wished away. I know I’ve done my job and I’ve been a great Mom —- I’m just not ready to be finished! Thanks again for allowing God to speak to Moms through you!

  26. 34

    You always have exactly the right words♥ Thanks for uplifting your felllow mammas! I needed this today!

  27. 35

    Thank you for these words Lisa Jo. You have no idea how often your words have provided healing from my “being made”.

    The work that you are doing on this blog is good work, please don’t ever stop. THANK YOU.

  28. 37

    Thank you for sharing your positive view of life.

  29. 38

    Lisa, As a foster mom who has had about a dozen kids over a decade long, I often dive head first back into motherhood…after a little one is gone. Then, somewhere along the way, I find I get lost, among laundry piling, dishes left meandering in various rooms, among searching for pacifiers, bibs, o one of my kids’ shoes. And I forget that this job title IS my chiseling, my journey where I am made in the image of Him. It always is…where God finds me most! Thankful today for your beautiful words reminding me that others moms know, see, hear what it means to truly lay our lived down willingly…for the sake of our children. ~ Jen

  30. 39
    Jessica N says:

    I can really appreciate this one – as a step-mom, it fits! I’ve struggled to figure out how to my way as a mom. But this reminds me to look at the changes that have happened slowly over the past couple of years and remember that things are getting better.

    And after all, our girls are worth every ounce of effort their daddy and I put into them! – Jessica

  31. 40

    You always have the make sense of the whirlwind going on in my head. Thank you.

  32. 41

    Thank you!

  33. 42

    Dear Lisa, no-one ever told me how painful this growing can be. I have a son who has recently been diagnosed with a learning disorder, low muscle tone, possible ADD and my heart is broken. As he and I grow into this it is so painful at present but I know he is a gift and that motherhood is not always easy. Just sometimes I wish that becoming a mother did not hurt quite as much as it does some days. ( written with tears in my eyes and an aching heart)

    • 43

      Yes, velveteen mothers, aren’t we? It hurts, this process of being loved and becoming the realest version of ourselves.

  34. 44

    Lisa –
    I have enjoyed reading your blog the past several months, and I am always blown away. I don’t follow many blogs, but I become a faithful follower of yours because look forward to your encouraging words every single time. I am also a motherless mom – I lost my mom to breast cancer when I was 17. She was 52. I am now 35. Crazy how half your life shows up without the most important thing in it. I have 4 crazy beautiful children – ages 2,4,6, & 8. I feel like you have become a friend of mine, only you don’t know me. Sad, I know. :) But I have a deep appreciation for you & your voice of encouragement to me. Thank you again and again. May God’s biggest blessings surprise & delight you today, friend! You are doing good work!

    • 45

      Hey there Kate – thank you for these lovely words. And yes, it often takes my breath away this remembering at odd times that my mom isn’t here to see my kids. How she would have loved them.

  35. 46

    I so needed that today in this moment. I just started my SECOND job after being a stay at home mom for eight years.. I have missed the summer with my girls and my heart aches as it comes to an end. I have only had a week’s worth of together time with them and I hate it. I miss them and cherish every single “one more hug and kiss” that they beg for. thanks again for reminding me why I push thru pain and struggle and why I want more kids. Xoxoxoxoxoxoxox Supera Matris

  36. 47
    Kristen Rodriguez says:

    For the type a perfectionist that lurks in my heart, this was healing. Thank you friend. Please move next door to me. Haha.

  37. 49

    “You are the art emerging from the hunk of dull marble.”…I love this line.
    I’ve been following you for a while (creeping – sorry!!) and have never taken the time to tell you how much I’ve been encouraged by your deep wisdom, your faith, and your very real, yet uplifting words about motherhood. I’m only 7 months into my journey – thanks for giving me a glimpse of what’s coming next and for being a voice I can look up and ahead to on the road of motherhood. Many blessings to you and your family.

  38. 50

    From a mother on the other side. My oldest is now 25. My youngest is only 9, so I am not done, but the baby days are behind me. The being so tired you are sure you cannot go on and yet you have to because if you don’t who will? days are behind me.

    I don’t miss that tired feeling. I remember it well.

    But I know the why. The why is those little faces that even when grown will remain immeasurably precious to you. Noone else can do what you do. Oh, maybe others could cook or clean, but noone else can be mom. In that daily grind as you wear out, you give. And it does not go unnoticed or forgotten. You are building people. You will be so amazed to see the neat neat real grown up people those little ones become. Just really the neatest people.

    I absolutely promise you you will NEVER regret a single day. It is all worth it. All those memories, all the fun times, all the tired, all of it. The weight, the wondering, the feeling of losing you. And finding you again. It is all so very worth it. I look into my children’s faces today and see such wonder and beauty. How did someone so amazing come from love? It is such a mystery. I love sharing in their lives, watching them interact, seeing the dance go on as my daughter becomes a mother. And while i cannot say I have forgotten the hard days, i find them much like labor. We never really forget, we just know it was worth it.

  39. 51

    When I’m exhausted from getting up at night with my potty-training two year old, I’ll remember I am becoming. When my daughter becomes agitated with her homeschool work and fusses, I’ll remember I’m becoming. As I know He is holding my hand along the way just as I am holding theirs, I’ll remember I am becoming.

    Thank you so much for the lovely post!

  40. 52

    It’s nice to hear encouragement from you and from some of the commenters. I hear a lot of moms complaining or just being grumpy and short with their children all the time. I want to be the kind of mom who sees the beauty in motherhood even when I am weary.

  41. 53

    Lisa Jo – thank you. this brought tears to my eyes. God has really given you a gift with words , writing, encouragement – thank you for using it. it is 9:44 pm and i am finally alone. yes there is still laundry to fold, milk to buy (thanks hubby – he went to get some) , floors to sweep….. a bath room full of water, why do they think it is okay to pour water all over the floor? why am i too tired to deal with it and just let it happen, they are so cute head bobbing out of water pretending it is a swimming pool ( 4 year old got goggles on). its all worth it, its all worth it. my 7 year old looks it me after me almost not pulling my hair out. and says Ima I love you, and gives me a big smile and hug. o how i needed to hear those words over and over again. in the midst of the constant mess. im scared, im thirsty, im hungry . . . . . anyway… thank you for your words. and am so happy for your new house. we have a small rented house, and can very much relate thank you for encouraging me to be hospitable despite the smallness, the lack… thank you for encouraging me to focus on what we do have – life, and life abundantly. and to never ever lose hope. for those who wait on the lord will renew there strength.

  42. 54

    Hi Lisa – thanks for this wonderful post. I’d only like to add that this phase slots in so well to the whole of a woman’s life, preparing us for what’s to come. I’m at the other end of the spectrum now, with my Mum (89) recently moved in with us, and having to look after her in much the same way as you’re caring for your kids. It is tough, but she cared for me in her turn, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. God bless you and yours, Chris xx

  43. 55

    Thank you, I really needed those words tonight. Would love to write more but I’m off to run the dishwasher…again.

  44. 56

    THANK YOU! I sooooo needed to hear that. Beautifully written.

  45. 57

    You have tears in my eyes and chills going throughout my body all in a positive manner. I forget just how much of a difference I’m making because I do feel like these kids are driving me batty!! However, I do love being a mother despite all the headache they give me. I just got the best group hug a woman could ask for from my three kids because you made me want to appreciate them more!

  46. 58

    Wow. I didn’t realize how much I needed to hear this until I cried. This was beautiful. Thank you.

  47. 59

    Thank you–so encouraging to all of us tired mommy’s out there. We are becoming. Love it.

  48. 60
    joyce sizemore wilson says:

    Just discovered your wonderful site! Already passed it on to my slster. Thank you for being an unstrument of love and wisdom!

  49. 61

    Thanks a ton, being a first time mom is at times really overwhelming…especially when the person you trusted most while making this decision suddenly thinks ” so what”…… At times I feel like giving up, running back to my old confident self, picking myself up from where I dropped…but today I agree….growing can be slow going but it’s never meaningless…..thanks again for that pat on every mom’ s shoulder that you just delivered!!!

  50. 62
    adrienne says:

    Hi Lisa. I’m 47 and a mom to kids who are 15 (today!), 13, and 10. I still feel this way. I hate to say it as I don’t want to discourage younger moms. Sometimes I still get tired of the making one more meal now that they all eat more than the three I want to make, or picking up boys’ dirty socks all.the.time or how I feel like all I do all day is laundry and grocery shop. I am thankful I have the ability to do the laundry and have money for groceries and that everyone is healthy…but I’m still tired and then I get cranky at the end of the day because that’s all I really did all day. But then the Holy Spirit pops in and says “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” Col 3:23-24. Not all days are like this though :) Thank you so much for your sharing your heart with us and look forward to reading your book. You are a constant source of encouragement!!! Hope it’s sunny where you are today!

  51. 63

    Something about these five words is causing my eyes to sting with tears, “Mothers are made not born.” And the becoming is hard. And the not knowing if I’m making the right decisions for my kids is hard. And the second-guessing and doubts that are flooding me right now as I just cried to my husband expressing this very thing…is hard. Thank you for the reminder that growing is slow going and it’s not all meaningless. It’s not because these children are not. And neither is what I’m doing, even if it feels like it somedays. And even when it seems larger than life. Thank you, Lisa-Jo, thank you. xoxo, Meredith


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