Any life involves of a lot of the mundane. It doesn’t matter if you’re a doctor, a mom, a teacher. You still have clothes to wash, lines to wait in, errands to run. There are always dishes; you will need to eat; you have to make the bed in the morning and occasionally clean the toilet. Ok, I realize the bed thing is questionable for a lot of people but you have to wash the sheets once in a while at least.
Motherhood can seem like the ultimate combination of mundane activities. There are no exciting surgeries, no teacher awards. Nobody applauds when your child finally reaches those milestones you thought might never happen, although you might get a handful of facebook likes from that one. You never completely finish anything. Makes college classes seems nice, doesn’t it? So how do you learn to enjoy motherhood?
My oldest just turned seven and I can say that I love the life I have but it’s taken years to get here. Motherhood the first couple of years was like slogging through mud. So I’m going to share a few of my secrets. But first, a disclaimer, because I am the queen of disclaimers. I don’t mean that my kids don’t fight or cry. I don’t mean that my plans never fall through or that I have exciting things happen every week. I don’t mean that I don’t sometimes experience day after day of trying to manage until bedtime because I’m tired and my attitude is the problem. I am a sinner and I live in a fallen world. What this means is that when I survey our weeks, I like our life. Don’t evaluate this hour by hour, ok?
This is mostly summed up in remembering you are a woman first. If you aren’t a mama and you find you are discontent and unhappy with your life, these things will work for you too. If you take care of yourself as a woman, the mama part will shape up on its own, I promise.
1. See the beauty in obedience. Ultimately your life goal is to glorify God. You take the work He hands you every day and do it for His honor. This means that it doesn’t matter if you are a college student, a mom, a dentist- you find contentment and joy the same way. You take what He gives you and you give it back to Him. When you obey God because you love Him you find that is your purpose. This is where it starts. You can do everything else I talk about and if you miss this, you miss it all.
2. Plan well. When Phylicia was here visiting, the first day we played with the boys and sat and talked and enjoyed each other’s company. I was miserable by about 3 that afternoon because I hadn’t done anything all day. If you are sitting around doing nothing, you are going to be miserable. Why? Because God gave you a work to do and you’re being disobedient. Have a plan for accomplishing that work and work that plan in a way that benefits your personality. Alternate mental and physical activities. Do the bulk of your work at your best time if you can. Plan to get out of the house every day or every other day at least. (I’m going to do a whole post on planning so if you have questions, email me.)
3. Sharpen your mind. Don’t just change diapers and mop the floor. Read a few pages of a challenging book every day during naptime. Dig into the Word. Find 15 minutes a day to work on a skill that you love. Pray throughout your day: being home with small children gives you the opportunity to bring the needs of others before Jesus.
4. Schedule exciting things. Go to the park with friends. Pick a night to get together with some other women and work on projects. Volunteer in a ministry you love at church. Start a blog. There are people out there who need what you can offer and you can make it work with kids. There are always limitations on our time and schedules (even if you aren’t a mama) but you can make time for at least one thing. Give yourself something to look forward to every week- a date night with the husband, perhaps?
5. Learn to love what must be done. Pray daily for God’s heart for your family and home. Or God’s heart for your job and the people you serve there. God put you there for a reason and last time I checked it wasn’t to be miserable. Purpose brings joy, not ease. There will be plenty of hard things you just have to do and you might as well learn to love them. And side note- don’t blame this on having kids. People without kids have plenty of trials and difficulties; they just look different.
There’s an increasing number of younger women who don’t want to be mamas. I think part of this is because we present motherhood as sad and depressing and who wants to volunteer for that? But none of God’s promises about purpose and contentment and joy include a clause that excludes mothers. We exclude ourselves by not taking responsibility for our lives. You are the one in charge of how you plan your day (while recognizing God’s sovereignty) and your attitude. You can shape a life that you enjoy; it just might take a little time.