Last night Paul and I rented the movie “Motherhood” with Uma Thurman. It’s the story of a blogging, exhausted mother of two living in New York City. She is trying to write a 500 word essay on what motherhood means to her amid her crazy, hectic day in hopes to win a contest for a parenting magazine. I don’t recommend the movie, but it did get me thinking, “what would my essay say?” It’s not like me to get super preachy, and these thoughts are by no means “essay contest ready,” but that’s the beauty of the blog, right? You get to read all of my first drafts.
Motherhood is like one very long, unpaid internship from God. It’s filled with all the menial, thankless tasks assigned to lowly interns, but on the upside, it’s overflowing with opportunities to help, serve and love in ways only our Father in Heaven can teach.
Interns at big firms aren’t in it for the money, they are in it for the experience. Even though we are tasked with cleaning up and cleaning out, ours is the privilege of being guardians to some very real angels.
Non-mommies often complain about how gross and demeaning it must be to change all those poopy diapers day in and day out. Do you know what a new mother thinks when she changes her baby’s first diaper? “You work! Your little, tiny body is working! Hurray!” When she cleans up throw up she thinks, “My poor darling. Should I call the doctor? Wow, that was from yesterday!” Something about becoming a mom enables her to reach down into a clogged garbage disposal without wincing in disgust. Spit-up, drool, snot? She’ll use her own blouse to wipe them up.
From that first cry, a mother’s heart is not her own. It gets carried around in the body of a helpless toddler who doesn’t know he shouldn’t climb into toilets. Her heart gets graded at school, hollered at by coaches, and comforted again by her own arms after her three year old has had a bad dream.
I don’t mean to say motherhood diminishes a mom’s own personal identity. On the contrary, this internship has the ability to expand identity. I know each mother frets over the birth of another child, worried she couldn’t possibly love another soul as much as she loves her first born. She is worried her heart will be like a pie and will have to be divided into smaller helpings with each addition to the table, herself included. But surprise, surprise! With each baby her love is not divided. It miraculously multiplies. What other job on earth can teach a heart to do that?
Sure, the internship is unpaid. But there are perks. So many, she can miss them if she’s not paying attention.
Hearing her child say “thank you” without being prompted.
Realizing all the shouting and running around is their own original, organized game.
Watching her baby play peek-a-boo with the stranger sitting behind her.
The list goes on. I just hope I can remember it all.
Now, this intern has a whole laundry list of errands and tasks to do today. Some menial, some meaningful and a few down right gross. But that’s the job of an intern. To put meaning in the mundane and make the minutia magical. It’s not an easy job, but I’m not in this for the money. It’s all about the experience.