“Mom, how did you learn to be a mommy?”

“Gee, I don’t know. You just become one.” That’s about as wise of an answer I can give at seven in the morning.

But I guess you start learning the moment you find out you’re expecting . . . or does it begin way before that? When you’re a little girl and your own mom gives you little pieces of leftover dough to make your own pies like hers, and you fill them with strawberry jam and she stuffs them in the oven right alongside hers.

You learn early on that being a mommy means always making room for your children.

The moment you find out you’re pregnant, your body starts making room for someone else.

It makes sense that this new life would grow and consume so much of your own personal space because it’s preparing you for motherhood. And as your belly grows so does your worry. I don’t know what the technical definition of motherhood is but somewhere in its roots worry and fear give birth to it.

It’s quite strange, isn’t it? You find out you’re pregnant and one of the first feelings you feel is worry. All of sudden the fragility of life is center-focused and love and fear become entangled. By the time you give birth, you’re just so relieved to have made it this far, but the worry never fully leaves. It just becomes a part of motherhood as it snuggles in close and becomes good friends with you.

You get so used to it, you don’t even think about it anymore as you double check their crib and become an expert at spotting any potential danger that could befall them. You get rid of the coffee table so you can make room for their toys. You get rid of your ego so you can make room for their 5-star tantrums at the grocery store. You make room for the discipline, the teaching, and the interruptions to everyday life. For the daily inconveniences of cleaning up messes you didn’t make so they can make memories while you make room for growth in patience and endurance.

Always making room for them.

Always moving over so they can have your part of the pillow.

Always sharing your last bite of chocolate cheesecake because they want to try it, too.

Always pausing in the middle of a deep thought so you can listen to their story of how they caught a very rare bug (which turns out to be a common bug) and never remembering the thought you had paused. Perhaps you were on the verge of solving some great world problem, but alas it is all forgotten now because you were making room . . . in the opening of space inside your heart and mind and life.

Always making room on your lap for a child in need of comfort and whispers of love.

Always making room in your arms to carry their favorite toy and the flowers they picked just for you.

Always making room for laughter and fun and lessons and correction.

Always making room in your schedule so your child can do one more cartwheel or sleep in five more minutes.

Always making room inside yourself to become the mother they need as you learn about the children they are.

“Mom, how did you learn to be a mommy?”

In the making of room.

This post originally appeared on The Messy Christian

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Sherry White

Sherry White writes about the messiness of life, parenting, and faith at her blog The Messy Christian. She tries to add her own brand of humor and insight into everyday issues we all face, reminding us that even though we find ourselves in countless messes, God’s grace lights the way. She would be thrilled if you follower her on Facebook and Instagram.