As I sit here to write this post I wish you all could see into my house. To see the state of disarray my living room is in; because we slept on the living room floor last night for fear of waking my melancholy six month old to move him upstairs to our bedroom. And then my husband woke up late meaning we did not have the time to clean up the blankets and pillows let alone have a cup of coffee together before he rushed off to work; and my aforementioned six month old is currently occupying what was once my spot on the couch because he sleeps way better in the morning than he does at night. Let’s not even get started on my kitchen.
The house is blissfully quiet. I have a somewhat warm cup of coffee, I’ve spent time with Jesus digging into His Word for hope and reassurance, and I even got to have a quick chat with a friend about our plans for this evening. All in all, a very successful morning as mornings would go for a stay at home mother.
Which is what I wanted to address with you this morning. Motherhood. Successful motherhood. Staying at home with those wonderfully challenging little copies of ourselves who like to make our every waking moment an adventure and momentous struggle to maintain inner peace, sanity, and some semblance of dignity all while being smeared with baby drool and cleaning up toddler poo from the bathroom floor for the fifth time this week.
What I don’t want, is for this post to come off like other numerous posts about motherhood, however well intentioned, that tout the trials of dealing with our littles day in and day out while daddy doesn’t appreciate all the work we put in and our monster mother in law makes us feel inadequate and we just can’t understand why society doesn’t seem to care about how hard we really have it. Not that all of those things may not be true at one point or another, they just aren’t what this post is about.
Let me explain. A few weekends ago, while at the birthday party for one of our favorite cousins, a family member made a comment that rocked my world for quite a few days and filled my heart and head with all manner of insecurity, anger, resentment, sadness, shame, and self righteous “who does she think she is” monologues where I proceeded to defend my every waking moment as a mother and validate all of my decisions made day to day, including the ultimate decision to stay at home and raise my kiddos in this season of their lives. (Sorry, longest run on sentence ever I know)
This family member, not so tactfully, reminded me that she would not be able to attend an outing I was trying to plan for my birthday because unlike some people, she actually has a job. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. That one hurt. A Lot. But I smiled anyway and laughed and moved on as best I could in the moment all while fighting back tears.
I wish I had a “job”
A reason to wake up in the morning, style my hair carefully, artfully put on my makeup, pack my bag for the day, make a list of tasks to accomplish and phone calls to make, and plan a business luncheon for my coworkers and friends. Sometimes I wish this more than I care to admit. Just to be able to leave the house with a purpose other than to take my children to the park in the hopes that I can wear them out enough to take a nap while they do in the afternoon. I wish for exciting tasks such as making phone calls and answering emails and going to meetings about ways to increase productivity and inspire workplace engagement.
And yet, after typing all that out, I feel silly.
Not because of what I typed; but because, in wishing for a job such as this, I am wishing for someone else’s life and devaluing my own role day to day.
Motherhood is a noble profession.
How often we rally a war-cry declaring this very thing to the world, all the while doubting the truth of that statement in our very own hearts. Some would say its because there is no monetary compensation for our efforts as mothers. Others say its because there is no clear ending to one workday and beginning to another. And others still say its because our chauvinistic society has been devaluing the work of mothers for ages (which may or may not be true but is definitely not what I want to discuss in this post) and therefore we are conditioned to think our efforts as wives and mothers pale in comparison to those who go into the marketplace and “sell their wares” every day so to speak.
But here’s the thing, if we are looking for satisfaction and appreciation for what we do from society, relatives, our husbands, and our children in order to feel as if we are accomplishing great things as wives and mothers, we will always be disappointed. No one, I repeat no one, can champion our day to day efforts in the spheres of our homes and the lives of our children, except the one who placed us in this role in the first place.
He alone will always tell us we are doing a good job. Thank us for our efforts. Champion our contributions. Speak hope and truth into our lives day to day. And bring validation to the role He has placed us in.
I know you have heard it before.
Your children are a blessing from God and He gave them specifically to you because only you were meant to be their mother. Please don’t read past those words without absorbing them. As overstated as you think they might be, they remain the truth. God has placed you exactly where you are today, equipped you with the tools you need, and champions the work you do when no one else is watching. He has given you this job. Motherhood. This most noble of professions. And you and I, we are to work at it everyday as if we are serving at the feet of Jesus directly. Because then and only then will our day to day strivings begin to take on the meaning He intended for them to have. Only then will the words of tactfully challenged family members cease to be a mantra we repeat to ourselves and allow to grow roots of resentment and despair in our hearts.
And only then will we begin to find a sense of satisfaction and self worth despite what society tells us we should be doing and why.
Motherhood is, and was designed to be, a most noble profession.