Almost everything about our lives is looking different these days, including our vocabularies. In the last couple of months, we have been introduced to an awkward new vernacular, with previously unknown acronyms and phrases entering our collective lexicon at record speeds, and other words taking on entirely new meanings.
One term that is getting a lot of air time these days is essential. We are bombarded with messages of what jobs, items, or activities should be deemed essential aspects of life. As my world has shifted, I’ve begun to realize that much of what I once held necessary (essential) simply isn’t. Getting out of the house (in a car) every day? Nice, but not mandatory. Monthly pedicures? Turns out those were a wonderful indulgence, but my toenails haven’t fallen off (yet) without them. Gathering with our community group every Tuesday night? We miss them, but our Zoom gatherings have been a decent substitute.
In all of this, I have been given the opportunity to cling tighter than ever to the things that truly ARE indispensable: my faith and my family. Thankfully, I have pretty good job security as my kids consider me, their mom, an essential worker.
In living out this pivotal role—one I hold with ultimate gratitude and sanctity—I’ve been reflecting on the emotional and practical essence of being a mom.
Motherhood is hard and messy. It offers no right answers or perfection (something I wrestle with every day). It’s stretch marks and extra grey hairs, sleepless nights and incessant requests for snacks. It’s LEGOs and burp cloths littered across the floor, endless mental lists of who needs what and when, and SO MUCH NOISE. Motherhood is an inexhaustible (but interminably exhausting) outpouring of love-fueled service, followed by anxiously stepping back as you “decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”
But motherhood is also beautiful and fulfilling. It’s seeing your child’s eyes light up when you enter a room, or teach him a new skill, or tell him you love him to the moon and back. It’s sticky kisses and awkward bear hugs and belly laughing over nothing at all. Motherhood is feeling indescribably proud when your child rolls over for the first time or offers to share a cookie with a friend or walks across the stage to receive her college diploma.
Motherhood is pure, undiluted, sacrificial, heart-exploding love.
Being a mom is the most important job in the world. We moms—and our mothers before us—are the ultimate Essential Workers. From conception to cradle, college to career life, and eventually creating families of their own. . . our children need us (albeit in different capacities) every step of the way. Our love and support will always and forever be ESSENTIAL.
To every Essential Mom—from the woman six weeks pregnant with her first child to the seasoned grandmother with dozens of offspring, and every mom in between—Happy Mother’s Day. I pray that you feel honored and celebrated this weekend.