I remember the day that I called my mom to thank her. Like really thank her from the bottom of my heart and soul for keeping me alive.
It was just a regular day, but a day when the reality of the weight of motherhood settled squarely on my shoulders. You see I had this child who now depended on me every waking moment for every single thing. That weight of responsibility terrified me, and for the first time I finally glimpsed the self-sacrifice of the women who had come before me.
Suddenly, it didn’t seem like enough to just say “thank you.” I wanted to walk back any unkind word, selfish comment or inconsiderate action. The curtain had lifted. I saw the backstage. I had never fully appreciated the mountain of work to run a household or the countless hours of work to grow her own business while raising kids or even the behind-the-scenes work to produce birthdays, holidays, vacations and countless other activities that seemed so effortless. Genuine words of appreciation and thankfulness sputtered out of my mouth but felt so inadequate compared to the years of work she had invested in me.
She just smiled and told me, “But sweetheart, you are my life’s work, and it’s not really work when you love someone so much.”
And I then got it.
As a mom there are a million different choices when it comes to “working.” Work part time? Work full time? Do a direct sales company? Be at home full time? Work full time from home? Work in an office?
All of this mommying thing is work no matter the version. If you didn’t get the memo, this motherhood gig is hard. Like really hard. I think of myself pre-kids and want to have a serious come to Jesus talk with that girl. You are not busy. You are not tired. And you don’t know the meaning of being overwhelmed. But reality is relative, and you don’t know what you don’t know.
But what I do know that is that motherhood deepens you. Pulls strength from reserves you didn’t even know you had. You find a way to move forward and push through long days or nights or years. To keep going and find a way through exhaustion, fears and the unknown. Motherhood is a call to serve and serve without recognition because we love. This is the common thread that runs throughout the generations. We serve because we love. We work because we love.
It’s okay that my kids don’t get it now, but one day years from now, my daughter might call me too. Maybe I’ll blink back tears and tell her that she is my most treasured blessing. I’ll tell her that she is my life’s work and that I wouldn’t trade a moment because it’s not really work when done from a place of love.
“I don’t know what your destiny may be, but one thing I do know, the only ones among you that will be truly happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.”