Last week my almost two-year old and almost four-year old joined forces and put their tantrum-throwing, shrieking, obstinate little heads together to make me question not only my calling as a mama, but my credibility as a decent human being. It was a rough week. So reading again through the book, The Mother Letters: Sharing the Laughter, Joy, Struggles, and Hope, today to prepare for this post has been like pouring healing salve on still-open wounds. As I read the book of letters compiled by Seth Haines for his wife, Amber, for the first time a few weeks ago, I often wept as I drank in the words of other mamas around the world with similar inner struggles during this challenging, yet magical, season with little ones.
Here, I’ve listed ten of the most common themes I noticed throughout the book with a quote or two under each category, but this is just a sliver of the wisdom that this book offers to moms everywhere looking for a shoulder to cry on or a warm, empathetic embrace on the journey of motherhood. Please read it yourself. Designed in letter form for moms with very little quiet time, it would make a perfect companion to morning coffee or as before bed reading.
Here are ten recurring themes from The Mother Letters that I will revisit in the days, weeks and years to come:
1. Slow down and cherish the little moments.
“Slow down…Living a slower life, you can see things more clearly…We all know they grow up fast. All the more reason to slow down.” Ann Kroeker, “Blink”
“I should take some time to appreciate today’s little wins…each day brings its own small delights that eventually contribute to the great victory of seeing our children grow up to be joyful, productive, appreciative, competent people.” Katie Meyering, “Victories”
“Time goes by too quickly. Cherish it all…” Lisa Douglas, “Cherish”
2. Don’t forget you are a person, too.
“Mama, you need to do the things that make you feel like a person…being a whole person makes you a better mother.” Sarah Bessey, “Calling”
“Find some small fragment of time. Find a place where you can be alone with your thoughts. Close your eyes and remember who you are.” Tammy Zufelt Thomas “Queen”
3. When we are weak, then we are strong.
“Ours is a power that comes straight from weakness.” Amber Haines, “A Final Letter”
4. Your children belong to God first.
“Who am I to worry about them when they’re God’s first? Will God not take care of his own far better than I ever could?” Laura Bull, “Worry”
5. Your presence is your greatest gift.
“Your children don’t need you to enroll them in eight hundred activities, to keep the cleanest house, or to entertain them. They need you to be there. Practice the art of sitting. Watch your children play…prove to them by your stillness that you will be there. That you are listening.” Lora Lynn Fanning, “Being”
6. You are your child’s perfect mother.
“This has nothing to do with perfection or being perfect and everything to do with God gifting you to steward their lives.” Robin Dance, “Perfect”
“Over time, I am noticing that I don’t parent out of guilt or my own agenda as much as I used to, because I realize God has equipped me as he sees fit.” Rachel McAdams, “Trust”
“I know God chose me to mother my kids.” Kristen Welch, “Presence”
7. Choose gratitude.
“We will walk this road to the end—no changing that. But we will choose how to walk; chained and bent by bitter disappointment or hands and face freely raised in praise. Our choice…Walk the road, but look for the beauty along the way. And when you find it, rejoice.” Tonia Peckover, “Live”
“Whatever your path to motherhood was, I pray that you can take a moment to be in awe of your children and the fact that they are your children.” Rebecca Whitson, “Together”
“…I try to remember that I could have missed all of this, and I choose to smile.” Carlee, “Here”
8. You are doing a fabulous job.
“There will be so many times you feel like you’ve failed. But in the eyes, hearts, and minds of your children, you are Super Mom. You are their world.” Stephanie Precourt, “Super”
9. God will give you what you need.
“We’re not alone on this journey. God has given us these little people to shepherd for a time, but they are his. When life is overwhelming and dark and exhausting, he is there. When it is precious and thrilling and magical, he is there. Is. 40:11 promises us, ‘He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.’” Shannon Lowe, “Shepherd”
“I have learned to trust that God, who made me a mother, equipped me to meet the needs of my special child.” Kari Clark, “Unexpected”
10. Motherhood is hard…but it is good.
“A thousand, thousand voices raised together across the centuries in the wild chorus of motherhood that soars over all you thought you would be and transforms you into all that Christ believes you can become. The stretching doesn’t end after the first nine months. Nor does the joy.” Lisa-Jo Baker “Anthem”
Thank you to Seth and Amber Haines for adding more voices to the chorus of motherhood through sharing these precious letters.
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