Mothers are all members of an artists’ colony. They may not realize it, but the second they begin to parent, they are making art. They are shaping, creating, designing, and nurturing along a masterpiece. And women who don’t even have children, yet who guide and teach young ones around them, belong as well.
We gather at church, at the park, in our homes-everywhere we go. And we compare notes and brush strokes, encouraging one another and sharing techniques just as artists do.
There’s a sweeping love that swells in the heart of every mother as she cradles her baby, sings a lullaby, takes the hand of a toddler, lifts him to peer into a bird’s nest, points to a fluffy cloud, or raves about a child’s drawing. Every breath she takes, every word she whispers, sculpts a soul.
It’s miraculous, really. Her mood, her glance, even the tiniest of gestures, shows up on the canvas. Her children become a glorious reflection of all she values and believes. Even the ones who stray come back with time, their hearts woven to hers, and ever aware of the tug of love that no distance can erase.
Her phrases, her cooking, her laughter, her smile-all are imbedded into the artwork as if into DNA, indelible and eternal. And on she paints. Eventually even grandchildren feel the feathery strokes of her paintbrush, and bloom with the same colors and passions their parents learned, all from the same loving artist.
And each artist paints differently, yet every result can be breathtaking. Bold, modern strokes are just as valuable as soft watercolors or vibrant oils. Every artist contributes her own style to the task, and each one’s work is noble and worthy of admiration.
Unfortunately, like real artists, mothers often criticize their work, holding themselves to impossibly high standards and feeling like failures. Perfectionism creeps in and shadows the work, distorting her view and discouraging her valor. And what a mistake, when every attempt at art is worthy and wonderful because it came from a sincere heart.
The solution is to mother ourselves. If our child created something amazing, we would praise it and assure them it was more than good enough. Yet when we do the same, no one rushes in to console us or applaud our years of hard work. So we must stop in our tracks, and do for ourselves what we would do for our children: We must tell ourselves we are wonderful, we are earnest and genuine, we are doing the best we can, and we may rest assured that our efforts are divinely accepted.
Our work is the grandest, most vital work in the universe. It matters infinitely. Even the smallest effort is glorious and majestic. We are mothers and this is our art-not only to raise children unto the Lord, but to raise ourselves in satisfaction and joy from a job well done. May we never forget that every kind of art is a thing of great beauty, and what we do is purely astonishing.