As I’ve watched my wife rise to the challenge of motherhood, I’ve realized why every mom is the secret sauce in her family’s life.
When we first met, I was attracted to all kinds of things about her. Her optimism, her free spirit, and her pretty green eyes had me hooked. But I had no idea the person I would encounter once she became a mother. It’s hugely rewarding to be a dad, but a woman goes to a place I just can’t understand as soon as she has a child. Here are three reasons why a mom is the essential ingredient–the “secret sauce”– to her family’s life together:
Moms have no sense of self-preservation.
A mom willingly carries around a kid in her body for 40 weeks. The baby will stretch and contort her abdomen and mess with her hormones in ways I can’t imagine. For the first trimester, she has all kinds of crazy cravings and license to eat whatever she wants. But she can’t get too excited since she can’t keep it all down, anyway. During the last few weeks—if she’s lucky—she’ll get about three hours of uncomfortable sleep per night. She should enjoy those while she can, because once baby is born she gets even less.
Upon delivery of her sweet, drooling poop producer, mom is willing to touch every kind of bodily fluid with her bare hands. She’ll hold a feverish kiddo all night, cuddling and soaking in every germ they’ve got. She’s a CDC nightmare.
A mom gets no days off and wears a virtual sign around her neck that says “open 24 hours.” She gives up the basic necessities for survival like sleep, showers, and hot cups of coffee. With all that, she doesn’t expect it to get easier in time. The day will come when she’s stuck in a dressing room with a 13 year old girl having a meltdown over skinny jeans. She’ll come home to a boy who’s cleaned out the refrigerator and is nagging for groceries before she’s even set down her purse. Yet inexplicably, she jives out on these kids and is always up for the next one.
Moms use a different currency.
A mom will choose an exhausting work schedule–or no career at all–if it means her kids have what they need. Her retirement fund goes on the chopping block if they need tuition, orthodontics, or help to follow their dreams. A mom’s measure of success has nothing to do with her investment portfolio—it’s the security and health of her children.
My wife’s spending habits make me scratch my head, too. Why does she use a beat-up, bargain laptop while her kids have sweet new devices? Why do the girls (and even the dog!) get styled, but she puts off a trip to her favorite salon for weeks? Why is she content driving around in an un-cool minivan that smells perpetually of spoiled milk and French fries? Why does she pay for music lessons and sports equipment for children who might be tone deaf or so clumsy they trip over air molecules on the carpet? In her economy, the joy of her kids means joy for her. Clearly, love wins, since “where her treasure is, there her heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)
Moms don’t know when to quit.
They say the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing and expecting a different result.” A mom knows the pain of childbirth after baby number one, but she’ll do it again. And again! She can predict the soggy, tedious chore of potty training but bravely throw out the diapers anyway. She knows her sass-basket is going to argue, again, when she writes out another week’s chore list. She’s well aware that her teenagers are going to push the speed limit, the homework deadline, and Friday’s curfew, but she still lets them out of the house. She sets herself up for a lot of grief but goes back for more.
But a mom also doesn’t quit on her kids. She believes her D- student can succeed. She sees through the attitude to the hurting heart inside their son or daughter. Pouring out constant prayers, her love “always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres,” no matter how broken her child may be. (1 Corinthians 13:7) No kid can go so far that a mom’s love won’t follow. Because of that kind of tenacious love, she holds the secret to her child’s confidence, motivation, and security.
As I look at my wife and her life as a mom (and see how my own mom loves my brothers and me), it’s hard for me to relate. But even though I don’t always “get” her, I’m glad we’ve got her! I’m sure as every dad takes a moment to reflect on why mom is the secret sauce in his family, he’ll agree.