MOTHERHOOD: The Mother of All Roller Coaster Rides

It’s Mother’s Day week, and I’m wishing a very Happy Mother’s Day to every woman who brings a maternal love and influence to a child … whether they’re part of the child’s family tree or not.  Sometimes a child’s best mother is not really their mother.

Sadly, I see that a lot in Brazil in our work with Hope Unlimited for Children. Many of the children we serve have had their welfare sacrificed by their own mothers.  They’ve been neglected, abandoned, abused, prostituted … by their mothers.  I don’t get it.  I don’t get it at all.  I thank God every day that wasn’t my experience.

Last week I did an early Mother’s Day tablescape for my own Mom.  She’s a good one.  No, she’s a great one … but she’d be the first to say she made some parenting mistakes.  If you’re a parent, I suspect you’ll say the same thing.

After all, those sweet little pink and blue bundles the stork deposits on our doorsteps don’t come with how-to manuals, do they?

I don’t know who first said that a mother is only as happy as her unhappiest child, but I know it’s true!

I’ve ridden that mother of all roller coasters a few times, and (even with grown children) I suspect I still have more rides ahead.  Those precious innocents quickly present their own little personalities (I love to watch that happen) … and eventually Mommy and baby-growing-up just don’t see the world the same.

If we’re honest with ourselves, we know it’s going to happen … so why does it surprise us?

Sometimes as a mother I found it fairly easy to “go with the flow” with my daughters … and other times I can only thank God I didn’t mess them up royally!

I’ve never been at all fond of the “blame your parents” mentality so prevalent among many over the past few years. (I’m not talking about abusive parents; I’m talking about good, loving, trying to raise their kids “the best way they know how” kind of parents.  My heart just breaks for them.)  So maybe your parents did make some mistakes.  At some point it’s time to decide to claim our own reality — whatever it is — and move forward.

It’s time to choose the good parts of our upbringing, repeat them with our own children if we’re blessed to have them … and don’t repeat the things that didn’t work so well.  Sounds like a plan, doesn’t it?  Warning:  We’ll still find something else to mess up.  We all do!

There’s no way around it …

Our parents weren’t perfect.  We aren’t perfect.  Our kids aren’t perfect.  Our grandkids aren’t perfect.  That last one’s still a theory; I think mine might prove it wrong. *Wink*

We do our best as mothers.  Some days we feel like we should be given the Mother of the Decade award. Other days, not so much.  Yeah, the mother of all roller coasters effect …  The emotional yo-yo.

The “my child hurts so I hurt” syndrome.

The “my child made a bad choice, so I’m blaming myself” response.  (Huh?)

The “my child chose a life-altering path, and I can’t do anything to make it better” … and I’m grieving.

Oh yeah, some days … weeks … years … parenting is really hard.

When I was a baby, my parents dedicated themselves to raising me in a Christian home, always doing their best to honor God in their parenting.  I did the same when my daughters were born.  I’ve always taken that commitment seriously.  I believe the Scripture that says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

But there are no guarantees that along life’s journey the roller coaster ride of parenthood won’t bring nausea or panic along with the laughter and exhilaration.

You Moms out there (birth Mom, adopted Mom, godmother, child’s friend) … our job is to love the children in our life.  LOVE them … wherever they are in their journey … and pray diligently that God will help them stay on (or find) the path that will lead to a bright future. 

You may never know the details … but pray that the end result will be beautiful.  As beautiful as the first time you saw their sweet face.  As beautiful as their first little smile.

As beautiful as their Mother’s heart …

I’ll be joining
Cuisine Kathleen for Let’s Dish
Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday 
Home & Garden Thursday at A Delightsome Life
Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home
Inspiration Friday @ At The Picket Fence
Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound


  1. Beautiful and precious table…really a treasure and keepsake table.

    I nodded and verbally said throughout..Absolutely…absolutely.

    God is a prefect parent and yet His children still rebelled…Adam and Eve.

    Yes, motherhood is a roller coaster…so glad I know the one who is in the front car guiding the ride.

    Oh, our son who is in Cambodia has also been given a chance to come build homes in Brazil…don’t know if the Lord will lead him there or not.

  2. Amen and Amen and Amen! You have said a blog full here. As a parent (that has made plenty of mistakes) I agree wholeheartedly with every word you wrote here. xo Diana

  3. I have to say I agree with EVERYTHING in this post! For all it’s ups and downs, I still wouldn’t want to have missed the ride. ~ Maureen

  4. Once again, I got a double portion with this one. Since you know how much I love words, I always love the words that go with your tables. They make me smile, or think, or often just nod my head. Such was the case this morning. You spoke so many truths in one post. (And I giggled right out loud about that silly “theory” that there are no perfect grandchildren. Surely Little Man and Little Sir will prove that wrong. If they don’t… never fail, the ones in my head and heart will. )

    On top of your wonderful words, that table just warmed my heart. I loved the use of the old baby things and all the pink and blue. It was one of your prettiest yet, and from this woman’s perspective, the most creative one I’ve seen in this fun little Mother’s Day table challenge so far.

    Happy early(Grand) Mother’s Day, Susan.

  5. Sweet table with all the vintage baby items. I recognize a few from my own baby things – the pink blanket and the silver rattle. Years ago I pulled out my rattle and hung the silver part on a neck wire so I could wear it. Need to see where that is now. 😉
    Happy Mother’s Day to you.

  6. A very thoughtful post! Your table includes so many wonder vintage baby items! I have that teething ring, engraved with the time and date of my birth and my weight. Thank you for some good thoughts as we approach Mother’s Day.

  7. Hi Susan, I’ve been so busy helping out with our new little one that I haven’t stopped by your on-line house for a visit in awhile. Oh you are so right, so tragic. My heart goes out to children without mothers in spirit. I also saw a lot of it as a school nurse. And such wisdom in your advise for those blaming their parents who did their best. One of my friends is in great pain right now as some of her children are doing that. I pray she has a good Mothers Day.
    May God bless your role as a mother,

  8. Beautifully said…

  9. What a sweet little table! Lovely sentiments on parenting too. It is hard but, so worth it.:) Thank you for joining me at Home Sweet Home!

  10. woww great post good luck

  11. Beautiful post and very true words. Happy Mother’s Day! xo

  12. Hi, Susan. This is such a beautiful, heartfelt post, at just the right time. You are so right that we all, of course, make mistakes, but I see grandchildren as an opportunity to do it all over again, but with the experience that we’ve gained over many years. None of that “spoil them and send them back”–a grandparent’s role is far too important and precious for that! Plus we get to teach our children how to do it better, but yet, they turned out okay, so we must’ve done something right! 🙂

    Those baby blankets you have are beautiful! The bunny and the ducky are precious. It would be so fun to try to replicate them!

    Happy mother’s/grandmother’s day to you, Susan! ~Zuni

  13. You’ve spoken quite eloquently for so many mothers and daughters. I’m going to send this to my daughter. She’s expecting her first baby, a little girl, in September! We’re so excited. Thanks for this wonderful post. Cherry Kay

  14. Beautifully said. Happy Mother’s Day!

  15. A very treasured table. So many cute details and memories. Mothers and daughters are so special. Your dishware is beautiful. I hope you have a fabulous Mother’s Day.

  16. Fabulous and delightful!

    My PINK, enjoy your weekend and happy mother’s day!

  17. Motherhood weeps and rejoices… I wouldn’t have missed it for anything else in the world.. love your photos…

  18. Hello! Very nice post! I love all those vintage items, the little sheep my prefered one! I’m visiting your blog for the first time and I like it a lot.
    Besos (kisses) from Argentina from a vintage children’s dishes collector. Silvina.

  19. How beautiful, the sentiments and all your vintage things!
    Thanks for linking to Let’s Dish!