Today's guest post is by a lovely gal, Jessica Hoover.  I heard Jessica share her Five Minute Friday post almost a year ago at Allume and have since joined in with her and other new mamas to talk about being a new mom in one of (in)courage's Facebook community groups. Pull up a chair and join us as we talk about what being a mama is truly all about today. 

My sweet firstborn girl never once slept through the night during her first year of life. Not one.single. time. Trust me, I was there. I lost more than a few nights of sleep to a screaming newborn and I cried more than a few prayers into the winter midnight the year she was born.

In my head it was easy to believe that no other mama was struggling the way that I was. It was easy to sit in the nursing mama's room at church and think that the other mama's rocking away had it all together.

It was easy to think that they put on full makeup everyday, did laundry in heels and cooked amazing meals served straight off of Giada De Laurentiis's gleamingly beautiful table while I could no longer find my makeup bag, hadn't worn "real" clothes in months or managed to cook more than one decent meal a week.

We do this, don't we? We judge how well we mother by how well we think other women are doing the job. Did you catch that? How well we "think" other women are doing the job.

We will compare our kid's behavior, our house's state of cleanliness and even what diaper bag is on our shoulder to another mama's. Don't lie, I know you've done it. We've all taken up residence a time or two in Comparisonville.

Here is the deal mama-sisters, no one has it altogether. I don't care how Martha Stewart her house is or how J. Crew her clothes are. Behind closed doors we are all a blubbering wondering-if-we-are-doing-it-right mess. Can I get an "Amen"? The longer I mother the more I am convinced of this.

We compare ourselves because most of us are desperate to get this thing right. Some of us are the living result of a mama who gave up. We are the lost lineage of mamas who stopped mothering while we were still in desperate need.  We're committed to not following that same path, but we're so scared that we are constantly looking into the mirror of comparison and watching ourselves fall short.

We get that motherhood is a huge calling. 

I've always been amazed with the care that God took to make sure that the earthly mother of Jesus was a woman fully devoted to Him. I'm barely an armchair theologian so let's not get into a discussion about deity or the incarnation, because all I am really trying to say is that to God, motherhood matters. It mattered when His Son was born and it matters when our sons and daughters are born.

Motherhood is a level playing field. Yes, some women have had more experience with babysitting and childcare. Ok, maybe that gives them a leg up on the technical stuff, but the rest of this mothering stuff? The raw kneed prayers and the aching to give our girls and boys more of Jesus and to protect them from the ugly of the world- that isn't something you arrive at motherhood prepared for. It smacks you between the eyes and leaves you leaning hard on Jesus if you are wise.

We're all trying to accomplish that same thing as mama-sisters in Christ- raise men and women that roam wild and free to the edges of the earth if God calls with joy in their hearts and Christ on their lips.

At then end of all this motherhood stuff we'll only have one question to answer. Did we go all in and mother with everything God gave us? Not everything we "think" God gave another woman.

So what does this mean for our day to day?

It means that we need to go up to that other mom at library time and say "hello" and find out about her and her real life. We need to scoot down the pew and throw our arm around a neck or two and invite other women who normally we wouldn't interact with over for a playdate. Yes, a playdate in the middle of our messy not so Giada De Laurentiis life.

Then we open our hearts and eyes to the truth that our greatest need isn't to be like another mama.

Our greatest need is to be like Jesus. 

Jessica Leigh Hoover is a wife, mama, writer and grace lover. She lives in the hills of North Carolina where her family serves with a missionary training organization. She is as a birth doula, loves chocolate, {hot or iced and always sweet} tea, British dramas, cheering on other new and expectant mamas as an (in)couragers community group leader and heaps of good conversation. She blogs about her belief that grace is the biggest kind of brave and can be found loitering on twitter and facebook.

 

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