How Being a Mom Changed Me (and Maybe You, Too)

In Blogs by Karen Katulka3 Comments

I always wanted to be a mom. Like one day owning a Porsche or swimming with dolphins, I imagined that it would be awesome.

I saw what it could be like with my own two eyes. My mom is the mom of four kids (now adult children) and she managed our home life as if she was the CEO. She could cook dinner and talk on the phone like she was born to do it. She always picked me to run downstairs to grab a frozen vegetable from the ‘big freezer’ because she knew it was a task I loved to do. She signed every permission slip with her pretty cursive, and I can’t remember ever being forgotten at a pick-up (my sister on the other hand…). I never wondered if she felt out of control or had any regrets in her parenting. She was and continues to be a mom who offers her two cents of advice (whether asked for or not), which normally includes eating a green vegetable every day and practicing the habit of not worrying too much about silly things.

It was my life as a kid that made me want to become a mom. 

It was my life as a kid that made me want to become a mom.

And now, by the grace of God, I am the mother of four kids. We were blessed with a daughter first, then TWIN BOYS (someone please tell me I’ll sleep again!), and then one more son. 

Mine are still young. There are many days of fussing and whining and cleaning and cooking that have had me wondering what did I think being a mom was going to be like? 

Like owning a Porsche (not that I know personally), momming is an expensive, delicate, fast-moving, forward-going, gear-shifting lifestyle that I hope doesn’t crash. I never get a chance to stop or think. I can’t remember the last time my home was quiet or that my sleep wasn’t interrupted in the middle of the night. There is dust everywhere, clothes strewn on every floor, five beds to make, six mouths to feed. 

I imagined, like swimming with dolphins (an activity I also have never experienced), becoming a mom would be fun and interesting, like gliding atop waves with a sea breeze rushing through my hair and a big smile on my face. I imagined our little pod of people swimming side by side with happy little grins. 

I observed all the moms in my life, taking notes of what to do and not to do. The kind of mom I was going to be and not going to be. I was just so certain that it was where I would thrive. 

What I never factored into my ‘mom-life’ equation was what has turned into my reality. That I would feel inadequate. That I wouldn’t want to parent every day. That some days I would want someone else to come tuck me in and sing over me before I went to bed. I never dreamed that I would struggle so much with figuring out the answer to “what’s for dinner?”—and for breakfast, lunch, and snacks—every single day. 

I never dreamed that I would struggle so much with figuring out the answer to “what’s for dinner?”—and for breakfast, lunch, and snacks—every single day.

I never factored in that my children would have minds of their own, with their own issues and struggles. I never factored in that it wouldn’t be like swimming with dolphins or driving a Porsche, or that on so many days I wouldn’t feel up to the task. I thought I would be, well, a naturally perfect, fun, shiny mother.

Turns out I’m not a natural. I can’t do it on my own. 

The older I get and the further along in parenting I go, I have realized one very important part of the equation that I never would have guessed. The Lord uses my role as a mom every single day to teach me something about Himself. The inadequacies, the weight of parenting, and the shepherding of my children have surfaced a dependency on Jesus that I wouldn’t have known otherwise. 

The Lord uses my role as a mom every single day to teach me something about Himself.

For it’s in our weakness that He is made strong, right? So, while many days of parenting may look as good as a Porsche or be as fun as a dolphin ride, there are many days of desperate dependence, too.

I don’t know where you are in your life today. Maybe you’re like many of the moms I know who have found their passion in mothering their children. Or maybe you’re like one of my dearest friends who just lost her mom. Or like my younger friend whose mom is incarcerated and is not home to raise her. Maybe you’re like my friend who recently had a miscarriage. Maybe you’re praying that one day you will become a mom. 

It’s all real—the good, the bad, the stuff we never factored in.

Regardless where you are today, may I encourage you? Your weaknesses are there so you can depend more fully on the Lord. If life was all Porsches and dolphin rides we’d never need Him. 

Your weaknesses are there so you can depend more fully on the Lord.

In the last few weeks, I’ve fallen in love with Lauren Daigle’s version of Helen Howarth Lemmel’s hymn “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.” I play it over and over, allowing its meaning to seep into my head and heart. While I listen to the words, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace,” I imagine that Jesus is singing this song over me like I sing over my children before they go to bed. 

Being a mom has changed the way I think. I don’t know the feeling of owning a Porsche and I’ve never experienced the thrill of riding a dolphin. But, every night I go to bed with a grateful heart for the four little lives who are tucked inside their beds. That is a feeling I do know. And it’s better than anything I ever imagined.  

(And finally, since it’s Mother’s Day, I’d like to dedicate this piece to my mom, Charlene Clay. If I was with you for dinner tonight, I’d pick the frozen broccoli. I love you!)

About the Author

Karen Katulka

Karen Katulka is the Director of Marketing and Communication at The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. She enjoys spending time with her husband, four children, and hopes to ride a dolphin someday.

Comments 3

  1. Will be rereading over the next decades of motherhood.

    Beautiful in mind and soul, and honest. Perfect adjectives for a mom and a writer.

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