Let’s just get real for a minute…motherhood is hard. We work seven days a week, and put in 12-14 hour days EVERY day. There is no sick leave, no overtime, and not a lot of on the job recognition. We can’t quit, take a day off, or even take a decent lunch break. No amount of training or prep work could have ever prepared us for this job, and we live in constant on-the-job training. Mishaps, accidents, and “safety drills” are a daily occurrence and there is no one else to hand the task of dealing with it all over to. We’re the boss, the CEO, the CFO, the caterer, the janitor, the grunt, the driver, the mindless employee….As a mother we fill EVERY single position held within a large corporation, and we do it simultaneously. The people we work with (our kids) try to undermine us, overthrow us, and are constantly un-doing the work we manage to get done. Like factory workers, much of our daily routine is monotonous and we find ourselves doing and re-doing the same tasks multiple times a day.

Sometimes, you might wonder if this is what you signed up for. I remember I used to envision motherhood as baking sugar cookies and reading my favorite chapter books to my kids at bedtime. Others dream about dressing up babies in adorable outfits or think about the magic of Christmas morning. Then the kids come along, and it’s not exactly magical. We find our life ruled by disinfectant spray, baby wipes, and the washing machine, and feel our happiness slipping away. We get so caught up in the “ideal” (what we don’t often have) and so bogged down by the tasks of motherhood (that can consume our life), that we easily lose our passion and our joy….and who wants to spend waste their life feeling that way? We end up feeling like our life is nothing more than vacuuming, diapers, and lasagna, and find ourselves wishing for more of those scripted movie moments with our kids. We allow motherhood to be thought of as a job, and we focus on the tasks and the problems, rather than the position itself (and end up losing all of our joy and purpose!)

Employees in every profession go through the same thing. In our side business as photographers, I can easily allow a naggy client or a fussy bride to get me down. I can focus on the hours of editing ahead of me and become frustrated. Then, I  remember what an honor it is to be invited into someone’s life and consider that I am being allowed to capture life’s memories for them. As a teacher,  I could let the paperwork, report cards, parent-teacher conferences, and state mandated tests get me down. Then, I remembered that I had the incredible honor and privilege of guiding children towards discovery…creating meaningful learning experiences for them, and instilling in them a love of literacy and learning….When I focused on the bigger picture in my real-life professions, I found my passion again, and became EXCITED to do my job. Motherhood is the same way.

We have to stop focusing on the movie-moments we’re not getting and the never-ending series of duties and remember what motherhood is….We need to re-claim our passion and find our joy. How many more days, weeks, months, or even years do we want to waste being consumed by “the job” that we forget our mission….our true purpose…We were given to our children by God to love them….nurture them…breathe life into them…We get the ultimate privilege of guiding our children into who they’re going to be…Our kids aren’t inconveniences that get in the way of what we want to do…They aren’t tasks to be handled or things to tick off our to-do list…Our kids are our purpose…We’re given these amazing people for 18 years and we just blow it….We manage them, like a boss manages employees, and handle them like someone in any profession handles their daily duties. We’re missing the bigger picture.

Stop worrying about the dusting, the bathroom mirrors, or the fact that your kids beds don’t look magazine ready every day. Don’t let another day pass you by where you’re frantically scrubbing the kitchen floor while your kids are out playing. Don’t get so caught up in reading everyone’s status updates while your child is tugging on your leg asking to do a puzzle or play a game. Motherhood is not about the tasks…it’s about the kids…Re-claim your joy. Find your passion for motherhood again. Pu down the Windex and go hug your kid. Let the dishes wait and go on a walk. TALK to your child. Listen to their ideas. Create. Imagine. Pretend. Share your beliefs. Tell stories. INSPIRE them. Teach them. Read. Snuggle. Pray. LOVE.

Motherhood…This job is definitely what you make of it. It can be that job you dread going to everyday….the one you’re just putting up with because you have to….the one that stresses you out and pushes you beyond your capacity….the one where you focus on the poor pay and endless hours…OR, it can be the job of a lifetime with the ultimate in perks…What will motherhood be to you?