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FIRST-PERSON: Motherhood, piece of cake?

“The people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shouting from that of the weeping because the people were shouting so loudly. And the sound was heard from far away” (Ezra 3:13).

LEBANON, Tenn. (BP)–I had no idea what I was in for. My young intern husband and I had laughed our way through our childbirth classes. After all, we had waited four years to have this baby, had read all the books, and knew exactly what we were doing. This was going to be a piece of cake.

Wrong. It began with a delivery that didn’t go exactly as our class instructor had explained it. By the time I held our son in my arms, both he and I were battle weary and none too sure about what lay ahead. But after some rest, my optimism returned along with my naïve confidence in my preparation — everything would go by the books. I held my son with a fierce new love and knew I was ready. I was going to rear a perfectly well-balanced child without cultural biases or even a need to raise my voice. We were going to be best friends for life, and motherhood was going to be a piece of cake.

If only I could get this kid to sleep at least one night. And who knew that colic was really real? And was my intern husband ever going to come home? And who had time to read the book on How to Make Your Baby Sleep Through the Night? But come on, people had been doing this for generations, and I was an educated woman. How hard could this be? Once he started sleeping better and let me get some rest, it really would be a piece of cake.

Looking back, it makes me smile — no, it makes me laugh out loud — to remember how perfect I thought motherhood was going to be. Reality has been quite different from my young and arrogant aspirations. Piles of laundry, cluttered living room floors, sleepless nights and tearful trips to emergency rooms cured me of my pie-in-the-sky view of mothering. But the truth is that the reality has been even better.

Despite the years of feeling unappreciated and a little discarded by the rest of the world, motherhood has been the trip of my lifetime. Now as I look at the 21-, 19-, and 17-year-olds who still clutter my life with their messes and traumas, I see what I saw at the beginning. No, not perfect people who owe their success to their perfect mother. But perfectly delightful young adults who can’t wait to get started on their own life journeys and head out on their own adventures. They have big dreams and are armed with lots of knowledge which will someday by God’s grace become wisdom. But until it does, I listen and smile and nod when they tell me it will all be a piece of cake.

Happy Mother’s Day—and would someone, please, pass me the cake!
Lisa is a freelance writer who lives with her husband, Chuck, their three kids, two dogs, and two cats on a farm in Middle Tennessee. She is a member of First Baptist Church in Lebanon, Tenn.

    About the Author

  • Lisa Huddleston