Motherhood and The School of Virtue.

January 29, 2015


In my few months over the holidays when I really slowed down, I had a good deal of time to really reflect about what kind of a mother I hope to be for my children, and how each of my children have impacted me. The outcome of all that reflecting? Realizing that motherhood is putting me back in school. The School of Virtue. Est. April 27th, 2009, the day I became a mother. There are days I flunk out. F+, maybe D-, but the school is always open for learning whether I am failing or not….

The day your child is born begins the eye opening, soul shattering, mind blowing, sometimes break you open, and breathtakingly BEAUTIFUL life lessons at the school of motherhood. Little by little motherhood has sometimes gently, and often abruptly opened my eyes to who I really am, have the capacity of being, and who I am choosing to be, whether I like it or not.

Patience, Sacrifice, and Unconditional love. It comes easy in that newborn face, and those sweet docile and oh so innocent first months when they eat, sleep, cry, and eat some more. Your heart pours forth. And through the tired weary eyes, you would give your life for that little soul in your hands. As they develop their own personalities and often times strong two year old will powers (my kids got a good dose of the strong), that overflowing unconditional love is still there mind you, but it starts to challenge you….to really see what you are made of. Those sappy overflowing feelings usually don’t show up when they are throwing the third tantrum in a row on the kitchen floor over the second snack you said they couldn’t have. Or when they stubbornly refuse to clean up their 132nd mess of the day…..the feelings are not there, even though the love still is. 

School of Virtue

I have had so many days when I see so painfully clear that I often demonstrate conditioned love to my children. When they aren’t the perfect child in public or they deliberately choose wrong over right,  I don’t often feel like being patient or forgiving. It is all too easy for me to be short tempered and snappy.  And yet they never run out of hugs and kisses for mama (yet), and are so quick to forgive me of my faults. All three of them teach me through every challenge and every small victory, every tear they shed, and every smile. Through the art of consistent love you heart is schooled. It is what slowly teaches you how to give without expectations or limitations. To love without thinking of what it will cost, or without expecting anything in return. 

It’s an honor to be at this school of virtue. Even when it is mundane, repetitive, or thankless. Motherhood is my greatest work. I think I will be in school for years to come, but am so grateful to be learning.

Sending love to each of you mothers – first time and long time. Your work is valuable beyond measure. You are irreplaceable in your child’s life, and your sacrifices may not be seen, but they will produce some pretty bountiful fruits in the hearts of your children.

P.S. I’ll edit this late night rambling tomorrow. Thanks for reading through it;)

Leave a Comment

  • This was such a beautiful post and I cannot wait to have children from which I can learn from as well one day.

    Rae | love from berlin

  • Esther Zimmer

    Anna, I’m not a mother and I will be honest and say that it was a choice I made after much deliberation and discussion with my husband (before we got married) and yet I love children and nothing makes my heart as happy as seeing my friends become parents and for hubby and I to play an active role in those children’s lives (meltdowns when we say no to a second ice cream when we take them on outings, included!) – I just didn’t feel like the role of mother was for me, I know that’s hard for mothers to understand, but I feel very strongly that God has other plans – even if I’m still trying to understand what those plans are! However, posts like this really resonate with me, children have so much to teach ALL of us, if only we would let them…a really beautiful read, thank you. Esther xx PS your topknot in that first pic looks like a heart to me, very fitting for this post!

    • Esther, you are so kind. Mothers need those encouraging and understanding friends. They are very important in my own personal life! There are so many paths in life and I bet God still has incredible plans for you! Thanks for reading. xx

  • Hi, Anna

    what a wonderful post!

    I’ve been at the School of Virtue for ten years now, loving my two beautiful angel girls every minute of the day! Some days are challenging, others tiring, but all of them miraculous, and yes, it’s the best job in the world!
    I’m amazed by how much mothers are capable of, how much they endure, how they can fight. Their love for their children is stronger than anything else that exists in this world. I’m proud of EVERY MOTHER and GRANDMOTHER, they’re the real leaders in this world, teaching us right from wrong, inspiring us ,and encouraging us to be strong.
    And all those giggles, hugs and little kisses mean more to a mother, than any salary would.

    I love being a mom!

    With Love, Monika

    • So well said! Isn’t it incredible? We each have different family sizes, challenges, and strengths, but each have such a capacity to love. I think a part of that is awakened when you become a mother.
      Cheers Monika!

  • I love this! Being a mom has been my greatest joy over the last year. I have oh so much to learn but I am so grateful for the opportunity. Thank you for sharing and encouraging other moms! Your babes are precious.

  • I have been thinking about this a lot, my Jack is the same age as your Max (we were due the same day and I was so jealous when you had Max on time and I was a week and a half late:) We are expecting baby #2 in June and this whole working mama, balancing kid, spiritual life, home and life in general is stretching me everyday. I still don’t feel like I have a rhythm a year and a half later, I know though that I surrender in frustration to God a lot more than I ever have before. To my kidless friends that is the one thing I stress, is that they make you a better person, in the challenges and the love, and also knowing that you are their example of what a grown-up should be. There is nothing more humbling than seeing your own flaws reflected back at you in that little person.

    • A week and a half late? Oh I know that must have felt like a year! You have so much to juggle. I hear you! It is the same for me. And most days I wonder how God trusted me with so much when I feel so incapable. Oh but what a good point to surrender it all. My friend shared a quote on instagram that helped me so much…”God never created me to be a master of motherhood, He created me to learn motherhood from the Master.” – Rach Kinkaid. Hugs Kate!

  • Anna, this is right on time. My hubby and I are currently expecting our 2nd child and our daughter although about to be 3 is still very much in the “teachable two’s” phase. It seems like there are tantrums everyday and I sometimes question my abilities as a mom because I feel like well I may be doing something wrong.
    But then God always sends a gentle reminder either through His Word or fellow mommies, reminding me that I’m not the only one whosechild sometimes acts up, or refuses to pick up her blocks. That I can only do the best that I can do, and love her. This too shall pass…!

    As always great post, and very encouraging.

    • Charlotte, my Gabriel really put us through a challenge all the way through the 4’s! I kept thinking I must be missing the boat on something, but I held on to the hope that with consistent love and boundaries he would return to the steady sweet hearted boy I knew was in there. He sure has, and I just want to encourage you that on those days you feel at a loss, keep that hope that are your love is what they need most. You are definately not alone…ha! xx

  • Oh Anna, I love this! I’m on my way to becoming a first time mama (25 weeks along) and it’s already changed me so much. I can’t wait to start experiencing and learning from him more and more, can’t wait to hold and kiss him and watch him become who he is! Everything you said is a great reminder to lower my expectations and take every day at a time, and that love as a guiding force is really all you need. You’re a beautiful mama!

    • Congratulations Jena! I am thrilled for you truly. Those first few months are irreplaceable. And of course…every month after that is too;) You have a wonderful perspective and your little one is so lucky to have you!

  • What a beautiful and encouraging post. This truly touches on everything I feel as a mother (especially when I’m dealing with my teenager) I’m always a student in that school of virtue. Love this Anna!

  • Sharyn Busick

    Perhaps the most adorable trio of kids ever! They look straight out of a Gap ad! This is a sweet and thoughtful post about such a tender subject. It is nice to see these reflections in January and not just May. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Really beautifully said and illustrated. My oldest will be five this summer, and with an almost three year old and an eight month old, there are days I feel I have completely got this self-sacrifice thing down. Look at me, reading the lives of the saints to them while they carefully and joyfully color//peel crayons of their hides//eat said peelings. But most days, I’m bathed in the humility of being with them, and am so grateful when beautiful women I admire like yourself share about your own path as a mama. Cheers to us! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • […] you read Anna’s article over at In Honor of Design about Motherhood & the School of Virtue? It’s […]

  • so beautiful and so true, thank you Anna!

  • Beautiful! I hope to be a great mama some day too!

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