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Being a mother is giving your heart away forever

When I first told my mom two years ago that Joe and I were thinking of having children soon, she didn’t whip out piles of baby blankets she’d been secretly purchasing for “when the time came” or start talking about little baby feet. Instead, she got serious on me.

“I just have to tell you,” she said. “If you do this, you will never have your heart to yourself again.”

I’ll admit that I found it kind of an annoying reaction at the time. But I think I’m beginning to understand the truth of her words. Motherhood is putting our hearts in someone else’s body. This beautiful and natural bond is easy when our children are tiny and we can protect her from danger and rejection and hurtful choices. The extension of our heart is safe in the crook of our arms.

Can't she stay this innocent forever?

Can’t she stay this innocent forever?

But what happens when your heart – that is, the one your child carries – grows up? Your heart is out and about in a body that you cannot control. My sweet Baby G will face failure, disappointment, rejection and goodbyes to loved ones, just like everyone else. Her heart may be broken a few times. She will probably make some choices that are hurtful to herself. I’m not so sure I’ll handle this with finesse.

This might be the hardest part of being a mom.

Yesterday, a mother I know saw her 23-year-old son for the first time in four years. During these years he cut her from his life, she worried and prayed and cried and worried some more. She didn’t know if he was lonely or happy or angry or lost. Occasionally, she would see him from a distance, walking down the street (they live in the same town) and she would take these moments as a gift and as a sign to pray.

I honestly can’t imagine anything more sad as a parent. But this mama never gave up. She prayed through her worry, her anger, her sadness and her fear.

And then out of the blue, he contacts her. So what does a mother do?

She makes him his favorite meal, of course. And she listens. She parts ways with him, promising him she loves him despite anything he has done or will do. She continues to pray. She continues to cry.

This is the heart of a mother. Your heart does not belong to yourself anymore. It is buried in the hearts of your children.

I know my heart is lost somewhere under Baby G’s squishy little fat rolls. When I think of all the bad things that could happen to her, all the mistakes she’ll make (and she will make them), I get a little nutty. So I pray, and I just take one day at a time. There will be a time years down the road when it’s past her curfew and she’s not answering her phone and I’ll be pacing the kitchen angry and worried sick.

But we’re not there yet! Today, I just have to feed and cuddle her, make silly faces, and make sure she doesn’t choke on the spare change that Joe leaves on the floor.

Today I also want to give shout outs to Lauren at “Sorry Mom, I didn’t listen” and Anna at “Journey to Domestic Bliss” for throwing Sunshine Awards my way, which is a nod to “bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere,” according to their pages. Cool! I have loved interacting with these two bloggers as we muddle through motherhood together.

As a part of the nomination I’m supposed to answer all these random questions about myself and pass it on to other bloggers… But I think I’ll skip that part because those kinds of “fun” questionnaires make me anxious (I tend to overthink my answers). And I do plan to give nods to bloggers I enjoy but I’ll single them out from time to time rather than list them here.

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36 Comments

  1. Katie on October 18, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    Oh goodness!! These are the things that I don’t want to think about! It is so hard to realize they will ACTUALLY grow up and not live in this “bubble” that Emily is in right now from the “real world”. Until then I will appreciate her thinking I am the best thing in the world and hope the teenage years don’t come too fast!

    • creatingmom on October 18, 2013 at 7:59 pm

      I know, Katie, can we keep them in the “bubble” forever? I always made fun of helicopter moms but now I get why they do what they do. I will have to work hard to not be one.

  2. Katie on October 18, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    Oh goodness!! These are the things that I don’t want to think about! It is so hard to realize they will ACTUALLY grow up and not live in this “bubble” that Emily is in right now from the “real world”. Until then I will appreciate her thinking I am the best thing in the world and hope the teenage years don’t come too fast!

    • creatingmom on October 18, 2013 at 7:59 pm

      I know, Katie, can we keep them in the “bubble” forever? I always made fun of helicopter moms but now I get why they do what they do. I will have to work hard to not be one.

  3. Kari on October 18, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    Oh my gosh, this post made me tear up. It breaks my heart that my baby is growing up so quickly!

    • creatingmom on October 18, 2013 at 7:57 pm

      How old is your little one, Kari? I can’t believe we’re almost through the first year. Stay a baby forever!

  4. Kari on October 18, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    Oh my gosh, this post made me tear up. It breaks my heart that my baby is growing up so quickly!

    • creatingmom on October 18, 2013 at 7:57 pm

      How old is your little one, Kari? I can’t believe we’re almost through the first year. Stay a baby forever!

  5. Lois Lane on October 18, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    Ah, this nearly made me cry. My daily or every other daily phone conversations with my dad and mom (almost always separate with totally different viewpoints) include rehashing “what to do with my brother.” He’s more or less lost for what to do with this life. No crimes haunting him or babies to take care of, but he’s just without a clear path. It’s heartbreaking to both of them in different ways. They go through spurts of sadness to anger to 20 other feelings in-between. It seems like I end the conversations to pray and to treat him with some kindness as to not have him run away, because him being away always was harder than living at home despite those daily challenges.
    Anyway, your post was so thoughtful. I’m glad it made me reflect on this. I certainly don’t have the answers, though it does make me consider what I would do in their shoes and how I might react someday with my own children.

    ALSO … HER COSTUME! So adorable. Love it.

    • creatingmom on October 18, 2013 at 7:55 pm

      Thanks for sharing – yes, no matter how hard it would be to watch my child be lost, I think I would want to continue a relationship and do what it takes to have one. But easier said than done. Why do the boys seem to cause all the heartache?

  6. Lois Lane on October 18, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    Ah, this nearly made me cry. My daily or every other daily phone conversations with my dad and mom (almost always separate with totally different viewpoints) include rehashing “what to do with my brother.” He’s more or less lost for what to do with this life. No crimes haunting him or babies to take care of, but he’s just without a clear path. It’s heartbreaking to both of them in different ways. They go through spurts of sadness to anger to 20 other feelings in-between. It seems like I end the conversations to pray and to treat him with some kindness as to not have him run away, because him being away always was harder than living at home despite those daily challenges.
    Anyway, your post was so thoughtful. I’m glad it made me reflect on this. I certainly don’t have the answers, though it does make me consider what I would do in their shoes and how I might react someday with my own children.

    ALSO … HER COSTUME! So adorable. Love it.

    • creatingmom on October 18, 2013 at 7:55 pm

      Thanks for sharing – yes, no matter how hard it would be to watch my child be lost, I think I would want to continue a relationship and do what it takes to have one. But easier said than done. Why do the boys seem to cause all the heartache?

  7. ImperfectAnna on October 19, 2013 at 12:53 am

    I’m with the others on this. You definitely pulled at my heart strings with this post. It’s such a true sentiment. One of my former coworkers and I were talking while I was still pregnant. I mentioned how worrying about your baby starts from conception. And she advised me that it only grows and grows with age. You think it will lessen as they grow, but it only changes. Oh boy! How are we going to get through this? 😉
    I also agree that she looks beyond adorable in her costume! It’s so sweet and innocent indeed. Thanks for giving me the shout out as well! I love that you blog so frequently so I can check in almost daily.

    • creatingmom on October 20, 2013 at 7:46 pm

      I don’t know how we will get through it, but I do know that we will! We will get through it with. It will probably take lots of prayer, lots of calming walks in nature and the occasional glass of wine.

  8. ImperfectAnna on October 19, 2013 at 12:53 am

    I’m with the others on this. You definitely pulled at my heart strings with this post. It’s such a true sentiment. One of my former coworkers and I were talking while I was still pregnant. I mentioned how worrying about your baby starts from conception. And she advised me that it only grows and grows with age. You think it will lessen as they grow, but it only changes. Oh boy! How are we going to get through this? 😉
    I also agree that she looks beyond adorable in her costume! It’s so sweet and innocent indeed. Thanks for giving me the shout out as well! I love that you blog so frequently so I can check in almost daily.

    • creatingmom on October 20, 2013 at 7:46 pm

      I don’t know how we will get through it, but I do know that we will! We will get through it with. It will probably take lots of prayer, lots of calming walks in nature and the occasional glass of wine.

  9. Paula W on October 19, 2013 at 8:29 am

    Way to make me cry!! I love this post, so heartfelt and relatable. I’m going to go snuggle with my baby after breakfast. <3

    • creatingmom on October 20, 2013 at 7:44 pm

      Snuggle with that little fat baby!

  10. Paula W on October 19, 2013 at 8:29 am

    Way to make me cry!! I love this post, so heartfelt and relatable. I’m going to go snuggle with my baby after breakfast. <3

    • creatingmom on October 20, 2013 at 7:44 pm

      Snuggle with that little fat baby!

  11. Kara on October 20, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Wow… You made me tear up! I am always at a loss for words to explain how it feels to be a mommy, and you described this emotion perfectly! Thank you!

    • creatingmom on October 20, 2013 at 7:41 pm

      Thank you Kara, I appreciate you reading! Motherhood is like nothing else, isn’t it?

  12. Kara on October 20, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Wow… You made me tear up! I am always at a loss for words to explain how it feels to be a mommy, and you described this emotion perfectly! Thank you!

    • creatingmom on October 20, 2013 at 7:41 pm

      Thank you Kara, I appreciate you reading! Motherhood is like nothing else, isn’t it?

  13. Andrea on October 21, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    Gasp. This is so beautiful…brought tears to my eyes!

  14. Andrea on October 21, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    Gasp. This is so beautiful…brought tears to my eyes!

  15. Melanie Glenn on October 23, 2013 at 8:20 am

    You have wisdom beyond your years, Carly. It’s a terrible, beautiful kind of love.

  16. Melanie Glenn on October 23, 2013 at 8:20 am

    You have wisdom beyond your years, Carly. It’s a terrible, beautiful kind of love.

  17. An Ideal Mom on October 26, 2013 at 6:39 am

    Having children is truly a life changing event. There is no doubt that without children there is more freedom, money, time and probably less stress. But with children, you get to experience a kind of love that in unimaginable and never ending; true love. There are times when I miss going to the bathroom alone or sitting down to eat a meal. But I know this is just a moment in time and it will be over so quickly. It is that thought that keeps me from going too crazy as I try to stay in the moment for as long as they will let me.

    • creatingmom on October 26, 2013 at 2:49 pm

      Aww yes what a great reminder. Thank you.

  18. An Ideal Mom on October 26, 2013 at 6:39 am

    Having children is truly a life changing event. There is no doubt that without children there is more freedom, money, time and probably less stress. But with children, you get to experience a kind of love that in unimaginable and never ending; true love. There are times when I miss going to the bathroom alone or sitting down to eat a meal. But I know this is just a moment in time and it will be over so quickly. It is that thought that keeps me from going too crazy as I try to stay in the moment for as long as they will let me.

    • creatingmom on October 26, 2013 at 2:49 pm

      Aww yes what a great reminder. Thank you.

  19. […] as such as stron.  g woman and mother.  Great post!” My favorite come from Creating Mom.  Such a sweet post and any mom can relate to giving their heart to their […]

    • creatingmom on November 3, 2013 at 6:30 pm

      Thanks for the shout out!

  20. […] as such as stron.  g woman and mother.  Great post!” My favorite come from Creating Mom.  Such a sweet post and any mom can relate to giving their heart to their […]

    • creatingmom on November 3, 2013 at 6:30 pm

      Thanks for the shout out!

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