Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"JUST" A Mom

I don't title this post lightly. This issue has been bouncing around in my head for a while and I've shared it with a couple of friends who have affirmed that I'm on the right track. (Of course, I realize we often pick friends who are like-minded.)

A little background: My children are now 24 (daughter, married for 2 years) and 21 (son). When I became a mom, I knew I was 'meant to' be one! I have loved every minute of being mom to Jen and Jeff. No they weren't perfect kids -- but pretty close. We didn't have a lot of problems that many of their peers experienced. We were (and remain) very fortunate.

To claim no credit at all for how well our children turned out would just be insincere and disengenuous. I tried very hard to be a wonderful mother--not just a good mom--a wonderful mother! I know I fell far short of that ideal many, many times. But somehow, my children knew that was my goal and ardent desire, and they forgave me for not always rising to the ocassion, and savored the common knowledge that they were that important to me - and that 'getting it right' meant so much to me. They got that they mattered.

Getting to the point here. My daughter is a beautiful, bright, incredible young woman with multiple gifts and graces. My son is a handsome, strong, incredible young man with multiple gifts and graces. My son also has Asperger's Syndrome (very high end of the autism spectrum). We didn't always know what the diagnosis was, but we knew very early on what his challenges would probably be. We also, though, recognized early on what challenges our daughter would probably have (based on her personality and dispositon).

We never identified our son as being "special needs" because of his diagnosis. Not because we were in denial but because we don't make that kind of distinction in life. All children have 'special needs' regardless of where they fall on any spectrum, chart or yardstick for measuring their development. Some have more challenges, larger obstacles, fewer resources. All have needs that are unique and specific to them.

We've never identified Jeff as our "special needs" son. Nor have we ever identified him by the sports he participated in, the instruments he played or the fact that he read (and undersood) college-level reading material when he was in 5th grade or by his gentle spirit and deep faith.

But then we never identified Jennifer as our "exceptionally bright" daughter, either. Nor have we identified her by the sports she participated in, the excellent GPA she maintained throughout school, or by her beauty--inside and out.

That's because ALL children are special! I don't want to be pigeon-holed as a parent of a XXXX child. I want to be a mom--just a mom. My children are amazing human beings and I am proud to call them both my friends. I am humbled that God gave them to me and entrusted their care and nurturing to my husband and me. We have been in awe of them since the moment they were conceived. We continue to be in awe of the incredible human beings they have become and continue to grow into.

In the world too many things drive us apart and the mentality of "divide and conquer" and one-upsmanship seems to run rampant. I choose to be just a mom who can understand and empathize with other moms who want what is best for their children. I have tried never to judge other women for their parenting (or lack thereof) because I know there were times I dove into uncharted waters and stayed afloat only because of God's grace.

That's the message that I hope resonates for others when they hear me speak or read what I write: God's grace is the common thread for all of us. It's okay that we weren't (aren't) strong enough, smart enough, rich enough, young or old enough on our own to be the kind of mom (or person) we want to be. God's grace is enough--it makes us enough. It makes our 'best shot' at everything we do enough.

My husband and I have never doubted divine intervention and guidance in our parenting or in our lives. We fully accept, acknowledge and are ever grateful for it and invite it into our lives on an on-going basis.

So next time you think you're "just" a mom, smile! Next time somebody identifies you as "just" a mom, say 'Thank you!" It's a great thing to be!

"By faith Moses' parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king's edict" (Hebrews 11:23 NIV).

"These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads" (Deuteronomy 6:6-8 NIV).

"he said to them, "Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law" (Deuteronomy 32:46 NIV).

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth"(3 John 1:4 NIV).


  1. Being "just a mom" is the hardest career for me...But the most rewarding thing at the same time...Especially as a ministry, I hope I'm making my Father smile with the way I share things about Him to His little child [my son]. Great post sister Mary about God's grace and how special all kids are!!! God bless you and take care.

  2. AMEN..AMEN..AMEN...AMEN...Mary this touched me deeply. You know I share the same longing as I have and continue to raise our kids.
    love you, andrea

  3. Mary this was such a wonderful and encouraging post! I loved every word. I'm sure you children are blessed to have a mom like you!

    From your "just a mom" friend, Kelly

  4. Mary,

    I think you penned this post eloquently! Being a parent should be the joy that God ordained for all of us, not separating or classifying our children.

    This is one of your best posts to date!

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  5. Just a MOM reporting in to say AMEN! That was wonderful.