As these winter holidays come to a close I hear often around our little slice of paradise, “Aren’t you so glad it’s back to school next week?” or “I am so excited for school” or “Wow, how long were these holidays?” Something like that anyway. And while I share in some of the relief, and I jokingly say YES, I actually don’t feel that YES at all. Now don’t stop reading. I am not judging anybody ok, but I really just feel that maybe we’ve become a little familiar with the privilege of parenting. (I am actually writing to myself here, honestly I am). That in the somewhat inconvenient inconsistency children bring to our lives (especially in the holidays) we long to have them off our hands as quickly as possible.

It’s normal to crave the consistency of back to school. It’s completely understandable to crave some free time. It’s obvious that school allows for higher productivity and more efficiency. We all feel the end of holiday relief. We’ve all said the above.

But it’s makes me think? (Or is it just me)

I love the holidays. The slower mornings. The conversations with my girls. The opportunity to integrate them into my world. The freedom to get stuck into theirs. I love the cleaning out that happens. The lengthy games that I get to observe while I write from the dining room table. The movies. The friends. The later nights. The lack of routine. I really love the holidays. The working moms are freaking out right now because you don’t have this flexible privilege and holidays mean extra planning and juggling. Please do not hear what I am not saying.

I’m just wondering in this precise moment, what it would look like to really embrace the messiness and mundanity of parenting? Holidays or not. To see the daily miracles in what we have been entrusted. To be slower to hand them over to someone else’s care and leadership. To believe that we, as mothers, have an invaluable role to play in shaping who our children become. To intentionally factor OURSELVES (our most present selves) into their lives, because we actually believe that motherhood counts for something bigger than we could ever fathom. I’m just wondering.

I’ve been the woman that has struggled with the daily relentless mundanity of motherhood. I still do, sometimes. But somehow, by God’s divine grace I have begun to believe in the power of present mothering. I’ve grown to see the value of laying down everything that is my preference to put first this mammoth task. I’ve begun to find purpose in the day to day shaping of three little girls. (Who would have thought?) It’s the less popular choice in career. You can’t put it on your CV.  It’s definitely not the glamorous option. It comes with no daily targets and corporate goals. There are no opportunities for promotion or appreciation and there is certainly no work travel perks. You don’t get to take leave. It’s 24/7 with no pay. On paper this is not a great job choice. (I know, right!)

But. And this is a big but. The world needs mothers. In fact I want to go so far as to say that humanity is crying out for FAMILY. And family is completed and perfected by the nurturing passion and relentless ability of mothers to just get up day after day and get the job done. To love and make and mould and shape. I keep asking myself: “Tes what does it look like for you to make MOTHERHOOD your highest calling.” And no, this does not mean I chuck out my dreams, my heart to preach and lead a movement. To do crazy fun things with ONLY my husband. To write and sing. To lead worship. To travel. Choosing present mothering does not mean that I can not do anything else. Not at all. It’s just that, more and more, I am convinced that everything has to start at home. What good is it for me to leverage my heart and gift to see the world freer and more whole if my own children don’t know how to tie their shoe laces? What good is it if I give everyone else my best ‘Tes’ but my kids can’t get my passion and attention for 5 minutes. What good is it to build our businesses or live in our dreams if we lose our family along the way?

It’s a lot to think about. I think about this often. It’s an ongoing journey for me one where I discover more and more as I go. My heart is that if you read this you won’t feel like a failure (that’s how I often feel after I read parenting books and blogs). My prayer is that you would feel compelled by the depth of love in my heart for women all over this planet. That you would be stirred to look at your life and ask questions? That you would feel hopeful and know the immensity of your purpose as a mother. I want to encourage you to be curious. Don’t just go with the flow. Don’t settle for “the way it’s always been done” or “the words that always get said”. Let’s be better mothers. Let’s love it. The whole of it. Even the ‘sleepless in Seattle’, crazy hair, track pants for days, juggling parts. Let’s be intentional whether we work full time or are more flexible or even if we don’t work at all. Let’s choose to embrace this highest calling. Let’s be kind to each other and help one another become the best mothers on the planet. And let’s love the holidays. Seriously life is too short to keep wishing away every break from school.

Side note: Before you go pinning me as mother of the year for thinking of all this please know that my three kids ate three different meals tonight, the most extravagant one being Cracker bread and cheese. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.