Photo: Photo by Liana Mikah on Unsplash

Dear Friend, you are a wonderful mom. The way you love each of your children is astounding. When you are tired, you love. When you are sick, you love. When you are angry, you love. When you are hungry, sad, hurting, overwhelmed, anxious, overworked, underpaid, underappreciated, touched out, and worn out, you love. Please know that it is not in vain. Your children are like tiny seeds soaking up every ounce of endless love as they grow, change, and emerge into the world. Carefully and thoughtfully over time and through the fruits of your love, though often invisible beneath the dirt and layers of grass and earth, you are growing too. Be patient. Be present. I know it is hard being the sun and rain and night and day for these little ones, but you will not regret your dedication. There is a secret though, to such unwavering strength in love. Dear friend, the thing you must not forget is that you are mothering yourself now too.

That sounds funny, I know. Because you have a mother, a very good one. A stepmother, a mother-in-law, a grandmother, an aunt. A mother who has passed away, but who still left all of her motherly wisdom within you. Incredible amazing endlessly giving mothers. And yet, every day you must draw from all they have taught you, for yourself. No, it is not just for your children. Your beautiful ways were not given to you by God for only the smaller people inhabiting your home and your heart to absorb to their fullest content. They are for YOU too.

When you think about your children growing up and moving out on their own and raising their own babies, rocking them to sleep in the depths of the dark nights, the sharp early mornings, when you picture your daughter exhausted and lonely holding a baby who loathes being put down, when you imagine your son reading books with tired eyes to kids who won’t go to bed and wake up way too early, what do you want for them? How would you parent them in those moments far in the future, but exactly where you are now? Would you do that for yourself? Can you be that kind, loving, and courageous for yourself? I hope you will start.

I hope for you, an awakening of your soul, for you are not just a mother. You may have forgotten all you have done before this point, because yes, this is probably the hardest of all the things, mothering. But not the least, and not the last. You have everything already inside of you that you need to do all you have left to do in your life. Honor yourself, friend, for EVERYTHING you are, because you are everything you need to be. Nothing more. You don’t have to stretch, or break, or bend. You don’t have to reach or pull on your tippy toes. You only need to stand. To hold on. To pick up all that lies in front of you every day, hold it, shape it, mold it, move it, toss it, put it in your pocket if you want it, chuck it in the ocean if you don’t, and keep going. Keep dreaming. Keep planning. Keep loving. But please friend, do not ignore yourself. Give yourself permission to add your name to the list. You are amazing. Do not forget yourself, or push yourself aside. Do you remember a time in your life when you refused to be pushed aside? That doesn’t have to go away just because you have children.

Remember, one of the greatest gifts that you can give your children is to do for yourself what you would do for them. God taught you that by loving you so deeply from the moment you were first conceived. Children learn by watching. They look closely at how you see yourself, how you treat yourself, how much you love yourself. Knowing you see yourself as worthy of love makes them believe deep down in their little hearts that they are worthy of love too. Remember, when you are feeling lost, abandoned, alone, that you are not alone in the least. You are being mothered every day, and you are strong enough to love your children and yourself. Mostly, dear friend, you deserve all the love in the world. And it is right there for you if only you will stand inside of it.