I made lemon muffins for my family the other day. My college daughter took one bite and told me, “I need you to make a batch of these to send with me when I go back to school.”

I told her I would, and gladly. She doesn’t actually need me to make them for her. She’s a responsible, capable, organized, determined young woman. She can make her own muffins. But I love mothering her, and I don’t intend to stop. Ever.

It is true that if mothering my children meant I was hindering them from becoming who God created them to be and holding them back from living their own lives, then yes, I would stop.

But if mothering means wanting to make life a little easier for them when I can, then I’ll never stop mothering them.

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If mothering means wanting to spend time with my children, then I’ll never stop mothering them.

If mothering means making home a safe, familiar place they want to come back to, then I’ll never stop mothering them.

If mothering means worrying about my children even when they are old enough to have children of their own, as my own mom does, then I’ll never stop mothering them.

If mothering means thinking of things I know my children like or enjoy and sometimes getting those things for them, then I’ll never stop mothering them.

If mothering means reading between the lines of my children’s texts and, when I am uneasy about what I “read” (or don’t read) there, asking, “Are you OK?” then I’ll never stop mothering.

If mothering means being proud of how my children have made their own way and have learned to do for themselves, then I’ll never stop mothering.

And if mothering my children means loving them in ways they can see and hear and feel and even taste, then no, I’ll never stop mothering them. Because motherhood does not come with an expiration date.

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Elizabeth Spencer

Elizabeth Spencer is mom to two teenage daughters who regularly dispense love, affection, and brutally honest fashion advice. She writes about faith, food, and family (with some occasional funny thrown in) at Guilty Chocoholic Mama and avoids working on her 100-year-old farmhouse by spending time on Facebook and Twitter.