I am a mom.

Motherhood is my vocation.

I have no idea what I’m doing.

God did not give me any of the tools I need to do this job.

I’m winging this motherhood thing.

You see, I wasn’t the woman who gushed over babies. I never felt a burning need to have them. I was under the understanding that I would have them because that’s what married people do. They have kids after they get married, get a pet, run out of walls to paint, and rooms to renovate. I was the woman who, when asked if she’d like to hold the baby, would say, “No thanks, I’m good.” If I did hold the baby it was to be polite and the baby always cried.

Mine included.

When I became a mom, I did discover a void that I had no idea I even existed until these new little people came into my life. But, it wasn’t something that I discovered instantly. In fact, it took years. This new role of being someone’s everything turned my world upside down.

Nothing could have prepared me for motherhood, so it’s funny when I hear people say, “Oh, we’re just waiting for the right time to have kids. You know, when we’re ready.” I want to laugh a thousand maniacal laughs of a woman who hasn’t slept a full night’s sleep in eight years because I haven’t.

For many people, you have nine months to be ready, yet when the day comes you look at your baby and think, “She’s beautiful, what do I do with her? I’m not ready for this.”

Because you aren’t.

None of us ever are.

That was me and is still me. A mom with no direction, no clue, no idea what in the world I’m doing. Not with myself and not with my kids. I’m winging this motherhood thing.

It wasn’t until almost eight years into this role that I understood my purpose.

The light switched on. The off. Then on again. Then off. Because that’s what 3-year-olds do. There are no secrets to being a great mom and there are no shortcuts that won’t result in extra laundry or cleaning. If you can find a shortcut, they’re not usually worth taking and often more trouble than they’re worth.

Feed them, love them, and tell them they’re yours. Set boundaries and follow through. Do that and they’ll be happy. So will you.

That’s what I’ve learned so far. And how to remove gum from shirts and the pee smell from mattresses.

The vocation we moms are doing—whether we feel called to it or not—is not an easy one. Not by any means.

It’s taxing, demanding, thankless, and exhausting. It’s also breathtaking, funny, rewarding, and joy-filled. It’s chaotic and sticky and messy. It’s confusing and emotional. Often, it’s lonely. Despite living in a house full of people where silence is hard t come by before 8 p.m., on some days I’ve never felt more alone.

Motherhood is serving. That’s all it is. Serving life, love, and everything in between from cleaning in between baby fat rolls to cooling your child’s fever with a lukewarm shower at two in the morning. Serving for the rest of your life in one way or another. It’s a life-long job that never ends for as long as we’re alive and even when we’re gone our job will be left behind in our children’s memories, morals, values, and the way they raise their children. The core of who they become starts with us and stays with them.

What better compliment can we be given than the gift of a child for the simple fact that God knew we were the perfect person to care for them. That no one else in this world could be the one to take care of this person, but us.

I am a mom.

Motherhood is my vocation.

I have no idea what I’m doing.

I’m winging this motherhood thing.

This post originally appeared on the author’s blog

You may also like:

There’s No Glory in Motherhood

God Chose You to Be Your Little Love’s  Perfect Mama

Christina Antus

Christina is a part-time writer and a full-time mom living with her husband and cute kids. When she’s not writing, she’s running, reading, folding forever-piles of laundry and probably burning dinner. You can find her musing about her frivolous life at: It's fine, I ran today.