What Motherhood Means To…Tabitha

I think I have always lived for big moments. It almost seems easier in a way. There is the prep and planning, the processing and deciding, and finally the climatic result of all your hard work. In one single day, it’s all over. There is a decidedly tangible feeling of accomplishment. You know that you have done something, and done it well.

This is not motherhood.

Instead, I find myself trying to commit to the daily rhythms of life. Grasping at the idea that motherhood is not about the result- so much as about the building up to it. For me, motherhood is found in the mundane, the daily, and the routine.

Photo Courtesy of Tabitha Panariso
Photo Courtesy of Tabitha Panariso

There really aren’t any spectacular climactic moments. Usually, we wake at 6 am and all three of us lie in bed together. Nash watches a show while his sister nurses and then falls back into deep sleep. Meanwhile, I try to situate myself to the idea of morning. Grudgingly. In this season of life, big moments are sleeping in or even going to bed early – that’s just how often those things might occur. After I drag myself into the kitchen, I brew some coffee and the first sip out of my favorite cup soothes my soul.

We eat breakfast and hang out for a bit. Nash escapes the table and heads outside on his own, half naked. Nap time looms heavy then – as the pup and the baby crash out. I might laze around with them, listening to a podcast and sneaking in a second cup of coffee. Or I’ll head outside with my toddler pushing him around in his “beep beep” to his excitement.

Time flies by, and depending on what day it is- nothing or everything gets done. We have become frequent fliers at the library, Costco, and even through the Dunkin Donuts drive-through. I love hanging out with my kids. They both seem to enjoy being out and about – and I find myself pushing my introversion just for them. Toddler Time at the library is nothing short of awkward as moms attempt to make conversation while we sing nursery prose and tickle our kid’s toes. But for Nash, and especially for Glory (who is my little extrovert), I will sit through many more of these gatherings. Even if it puts me out, requiring me to do the one thing I just don’t excel at, small talk.

Eventually we arrive home, and if I’m lucky, both kids fall fast asleep.

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Photo Courtesy of Tabitha Panariso

This quietness that abounds with sleeping children is a different kind of quiet. It’s sacred. It’s like a big gulp of air – that moment to re-energize and claim some space for my own.

In the midst of making memories with my children – I am slowly finding the time to do things here and there for myself. I might bake, clean, or even write. I might even feel brave enough to paint my fingernails. Last week, I read several chapters in a borrowed book, completely uninterrupted. All these things seem even more pleasurable now as I don’t gorge on them like I used too – they are selected and purposed.

What looks to be seemingly mundane has become the very stuff of life. This is what motherhood has come to mean to me- these holy moments in which I am seeing more and more of God. He exists here – in the first sip of coffee in the morning, the stillness of nap time, in the excited shrieks of a toddler, and the happy squeals of an infant.

It is Kathleen Norris who wrote, “…God loves us–loves us so much that the divine presence is revealed even in the meaningless workings of daily life. It is in the ordinary, the here-and-now, that God asks us to recognize that the creation is indeed refreshed like dew-laden grass that is “renewed in the morning” or to put it in more personal and also theological terms, “our inner nature is being renewed everyday”.

It’s easy to see faith, and importance, in the viral, the shared and the documented. It is a lot harder in the moments that aren’t arranged for public viewing. Slowly, I am finding that unshakable faith is actually deeply rooted in the everyday. In the very act of being a mother, I am coming closer and closer to God because to me, motherhood is the revealing of His grace over and over and over again.

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Photo Courtesy of Tabitha Panariso

Tabitha is a chronic decaf drinker and occasional nap taker who has lived all over the United States but fortunately landed in the Rockies of Colorado. She is wife to a rugged mountain man and mama to two lovely littles. Together they are embracing a gloriously mundane life, leaning into hope, and striving for authenticity in their faith. Follow along on Instagram which has become her mini-blog @tabithapanariso and read more stories at www.tabithapanariso.com

 

 

 

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10 thoughts on “What Motherhood Means To…Tabitha

  1. That bit about enjoying your little moments more is so true. I know people joke about going to the grocery store alone is like a vacation after kids, but those tiny moments about you become precious and treasured. Kids make you appreciate every single inane or incredible moment in your life a little bit more.

  2. It really is all about the little moments although the bigger ones tend to hold our memories. This reminded me of what it was like having a toddler and a newborn. While those weren’t my favorite days, I do have so many happy memories of that time. There was a lot less bickering 😉

  3. Tabitha, this is beautiful! I agree- I think it’s easy to be a good wife, Mom, Christian, whatever, in the BIG moments, but it’s the small, mundane moments that we have to choose. I love how you wrote out the day like that, and captured so many special moments that you excelled at motherhood. Also- the quiet of naptime. Amen, sister. I will NEVER answer my phone during naptime. It’s too sacred. HAHA!

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