I'd been a mom for a few short days the first time it hit me. Sore and sleep-deprived, recovering from a long labor and emergency C-section that had the hospital suggesting I get a blood transfusion, I rode a wheelchair down to the parking garage, watched my husband, Tim, snap our barely six-pound newborn's car seat into the backseat and then, moving slower than I'd ever moved before to get into my own seat, braced myself to be driven home. That was when I started to see what I continue to see now, months later with an active baby bouncing in the living room: Becoming a parent is bewilderingly sweet and undeservedly good. But, as every new parent would attest to, becoming a parent is also hard. In those first few weeks tucked in at home, family members making our meals, days turning into nights as we planted ourselves on the sofa caring for our beautiful boy, it took all my effort to move from the living room to the bathroom, from the bathroom to our own bed. Tim had to pick up Rocco and bring him to me every few hours during the night; I couldn't get up on my own. Tim had to change diapers for me; I couldn't bend over. And without other people nearby to see what we were facing in the especially hard work of those early weeks, how much effort it took for us to get from one day to the next, that was when I first heard the temptation: If you're sacrificing and serving and no one notices, what you're doing must not matter at all.
Affirmation for Mothering
Jesus says to the disciples, "Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 6:1). Parenting has long been a practice that demanded unseen sacrifice. Who remembers all the times their parents changed their diapers, got up with them in the middle of the night, comforted hurts, cared for injuries? How many meals does a mother cook for her family throughout their lives? How many of the kind words and thoughtful conversations given from loving parents get logged permanently in a child's memory bank?