Next week, my little girl turns thirty years old! Because I worship at a church with lots of children, because I work at a seminary with lots of young families, and because I am a biblical counselor, I spend a lot of time thinking and talking about children. So, today, in honor of my daughter, I’d like to reflect a bit on motherhood.
Motherhood is Worth the Sacrifice
Back when I became a mother, my circle of friends was for the most part made up of stay-at-home moms. We all had worked other jobs, yet I don’t remember my friends lamenting about what they gave up or how they’d lost their identity. Budgets were certainly tighter for all of us, but no one talked about money being more important than the work we were doing in our homes. In recent years, I’ve spoken with women who miss the thrill of the work they used to do before they became mothers. Some even desire to return to work, while admitting that they don’t need the money. They are missing what they perceive as lost fulfillment.
Motherhood is Challenging
Everyone knows that motherhood is challenging, and for some there is a steep learning curve. Not all women come to motherhood with the experience of growing up in a large family, of doing extensive babysitting, or of interacting with children at their church. In the circles I travel, such thoughts might be unimaginable! Yet, these moms are among you. They have worked in careers and have transitioned to being stay-at-home moms, but they have never done this job before. Such women need the encouragement and help of other more experienced mothers. They often think or are told that being a mother comes naturally, and then they realize they don’t know how to feed or care for a child. If you are one of these women struggling to figure it all out, hang in there! Remember that we don’t take on any new task and immediately know everything. The challenge is not just that it’s motherhood; all jobs have a learning curve. Seek out women who can help you along the way; they once needed to learn as well.
Motherhood is Repetitive
Folks often talk about the repetitive nature of motherhood. Just think of all the things which need to be wiped (again and again!) – noses, backsides, and tears. Then there are the books to reread, hundreds of times! Yes, there is much repetition to motherhood (some may even call it monotony). Yet, doesn’t all important work include repetitive tasks? How many stitches does a surgeon sew? How many flowers does a florist arrange? And when our heat goes out, aren’t we thankful that the HVAC guy has connected the same furnace parts again and again? Yes, days can be long and difficult, but if we’re honest with ourselves, aren’t paid jobs often the same? Let us not think that just because we’re doing the same tasks again and again for little people that it has little value.
Motherhood is Different, Yet the Same
Christians are called to do everything as unto the Lord (Col. 3:23-24), yet sometimes women think their gifts and abilities aren’t being used when they are a stay-at-home mother. Perhaps the real issue is that our culture has simply lost sight of the value of motherhood and the reward of being a mother. We have allowed the culture to devalue the family, and women have become convinced that a career using certain gifts and abilities is superior to managing a home, using those very same skills and abilities! Read through Proverbs 31 and look for all the ways that wonderful women used her God-given abilities in service to her family. Despite all the ways that others can benefit from these skills, and they will at various points in our lives, we must remember that no one else can be a mother to our children.
Motherhood is Wonderful!
So, as my little girl turns thirty, I rejoice that the Lord helped me to see the importance of being a mom and teaching her about the Lord as we would sit at home or walk along the road, when we would lie down or when we would get up. For the years that she was under my care, it was truly my “dream job”!