The first thing I noticed about becoming a mother was that my husband continued to sing at church, but now I didn’t. I had to hold Bethany. Then I noticed all the meetings and work he still did, but I didn’t – my role had changed.
With my recognition needs I realised I was faced with a decision – embrace motherhood in all its fullness, or resent it. Do or die. Throw myself into it, or be overcome by it.
No one is lying, motherhood can be tough.
It is self-sacrificing, challenges every fibre of your being and ultimately you die to your own desires every day.
I decided there was no way I was going to hold little precious, unrepeatable Bethany responsible for my lack of self-confidence, or unresolved issues that I may have had, so I decided to embrace this new calling – fully embrace it – not just say it, or think it, but let go of my life as it once was.
I decided to let go of the things I found glory in and find the glory in being a mother – in loving her, in being fully present to her.
Thanks to my mother who gave me this strong value, I threw my passion and gifts into motherhood.
I think I spent the first year of Bethany’s life sitting on the floor playing with her.
There was a song that we often played during that time and the words were “I’ll be content to serve an audience of One, it’s what I’ve been created for since the world began …”
I needed to embrace this. I was much more comfortable with the audience of many – at work, or on stage, applauding me and patting me on the back for the good job I was doing and that people could clearly see.
In motherhood, sometimes, it’s only God who is our audience. Some days it feels like I am not “achieving” anything by the world’s standard, some days it seems like I am not achieving anything at all.
But I know that I will never ever affect a thousand people the way I will affect my children. No matter how many times I stand on stage or run events, I will never affect those people as profoundly as I will my own children. This was the first of many lessons I learned through motherhood.
It has been more than 16 years since becoming a mother. I have learned more about life, love, God, faith, suffering and joy through motherhood than any other job I could and have ever done.
There is a temptation when our children begin school to finish up motherhood. “I’ve done my thing, they are all off to school” and “they don’t need me as much”.
My experience? This is the time the real work begins – time to mentor, to be available emotionally, to teach, to again sit on the floor and spend time playing, talking and hanging out – time to guide my children to become the best person they can be.
When working with young people, so many I talk to don’t even consider motherhood as something to aspire to. How sad. Motherhood is not for the faint-hearted. It is for those who want to seize life and challenge themselves to put others first. “For our light and momentary troubles (that would be the labour, the crying, the nappies, the messy house) are achieving for us an eternal glory (that ultimately is the eternal soul that is our child or children) that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17)
Kym Keady founded Real Talk in 1999. She is a professional counsellor, youth worker, author and inspirational speaker, and continues to draw on her passion to help young people realise their potential and worth.
The Catholic Leader is an Australian award-winning Catholic newspaper that has been published by the Archdiocese of Brisbane since 1929. Our journalism seeks to provide a full, accurate and balanced Catholic perspective of local, national and international news while upholding the dignity of the human person.
The Catholic Leader acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the First Peoples of this country and especially acknowledge the traditional owners on whose lands we live and work throughout the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.