One of my frustrations of the current women’s movements is the dismissal of motherhood. Every endeavor that a woman could embark on is applauded as noble and worthy and she is capable of rising to the challenges. At least until the challenge is this small person who needs love and direction; suddenly that challenge is beneath her. A friend even showed me an article last week that stated it should be illegal for mothers to stay home with their children because they could be contributing to society. As if mothers- that are really mothering- aren’t contributing to society.
Motherhood is often not seen as a worthy endeavor. One of the reasons for this is how mamas act. We don’t treat it like it’s worthy. Then, not only do other people not think it’s worthy, but that viewpoint is never challenged by what they see. What they observe affirms their mindset and they never budge from that.
Now I firmly believe that if God made women capable, creative, intelligent beings (and He did), then we can also be capable, creative, intelligent mamas. Here are a few obstacles to living that out.
1. We let life happen to us. We go through high school and college and whatever jobs we have and we just go with the flow, doing things as time pops up, and letting other people direct our days. We never learn to map out our days with intention, or schedule our priorities, or even figure out what our priorities are. Then we let motherhood just happen to us and it’s a disaster.
Our days cannot be directed by small children or we will be miserable. Our days cannot be directed by outside pressures and influences or we will be aimless and overwhelmed. Instead we must learn to direct our own days, to conduct our own symphony so to speak. This is why I believe so much in goal-setting and using a planner.
2. We never learned to do hard things well. Our society treats hard things as something to be avoided. Do what’s comfortable. Do what makes you happy. For pity sake, why would you stick with something that makes life difficult? This attitude will not do well in motherhood. Instead we must learn to rise to the challenge, to treat every day as the occasion we’ve been training for, to stick it out when life gets tough.
Searching for the easy way is the opposite of a Biblical attitude. We must learn to have eyes set on eternity. Jesus endured the cross because of the joy that was beyond it, because His difficulty offered redemption to all mankind. We aren’t offering redemption to anyone but we offering a start in life to our children and sometimes we have to look beyond the daily routine to see the significance.
3. We forget we are women first. There have been times in my life when I have wanted to fix myself as a mama. I’ve tried and you know what? For a short period I’ve been a better mama. But during that time, other parts of my life fall apart. My walk with God slacks off (as if I can be a mother without Jesus); I neglect my marriage; I experience burnout because I leave behind all the practices that make me a better mama.
When I treat the woman first, then all the other pieces fall into place easier. When I go to God seeking the help I need as His daughter, He can help me in my marriage and my mothering at the same time. I can become a better writer and become gentler with my children. He can do the things that I can’t but only when I seek Him as a whole person, without writing off any part of how He made me.
4. We don’t rely on Jesus. All the practical steps will only do so much good on their own. I am all for practical steps and ideas and plans but without God transforming our hearts, our motherhood will not change. We won’t grow and motherhood only reveals how we need to grow.
A daily dependence on God and His strength and peace and goodness is necessary to have a home with any sense of calm and joy. Jesus must help if we are to mother with a backbone of grace, overflowing with both discipline and love. It is a job that is beyond us and yet God has placed the work before us, promising to go with us.
Today I’m starting a project based on the big motherhood piece that I wrote just a few weeks ago. It’s part of #the100dayproject and I’m going to explore different aspects of motherhood if you want to follow along. Not because I have motherhood figured out- I don’t- but I do believe we should tell a different motherhood story than what most of culture is telling. There’s a facebook video from yesterday that discusses the project as well.
What struggles do you face in mothering well?