The family is ordained of God."
—The Family, A Proclamation to the World
I had just moved to the hood—the Mother Hood. What did I know? I was twenty years old and I was a brand-new mom. No money, no experience, no education. I arrived in this new world with the barest necessities: a faith in God, a husband who loved me, and the example of a happy childhood. But life in the 'hood didn't come naturally to me.
I had enjoyed being the center of my own world. It was a shock to have a newborn who demanded all my energy and time, physically, mentally, emotionally—every tiny ounce I had to give! Some women prepare for this by postponing kids until after they've satisfied some of their own goals. This would not have worked for me. There would have been more to sacrifice. As it was, my initial feelings were still sometimes resentful and frustrated. Overwhelmed, I thought I wasn't ready for this season of selflessness. The time for preparation was past, and I had failed to prepare.
But I discovered something important. The abilities I wanted to have as a mother could only be developed by actually being a mother. I couldn't get them any other way. Just like a runner gains stamina from running, I would train best in the authentic mom-a-thon. This new baby was my first coach.
Oprah had a program highlighting all the negative stuff that nobody tells a woman about becoming a mom. You know: exhaustion, hemorrhoids, loneliness, boredom, lack of stimulation, lack of appreciation, lack of everything. I identified with it all, but I think she needs to have a program highlighting all the positive stuff nobody tells a woman about being a mom. The benefits don't come all at once, like a two-year-old's tantrum. They are scattered through the Mother Hood. I didn't find many of them for years, and I'm still discovering them hidden generously in nooks and crannies of my soul.
In honor of Mother's Day I'm going to write about some of the awesome blessings that have come to me through being a mother. I'm an expert, having had a forty-year career. Come back tomorrow and bring your friends. I'll raise your expectations of the Mother Hood.