That is a line from a movie I saw with some friends recently, called “Mom’s Night Out”. It was a great story, full of fun and laughter, but also sprinkled with enough poignant moments to produce a few tears. It’s the type of movie that every mother can relate to, no matter how old her children are. And it was the first time in a long time that I have actually seen the role of stay at home mums portrayed as something meaningful. It will stay on my heart for a long time, because it is so directly related to my own struggles as a mum.
Motherhood is a divine calling, and God did not make a mistake when He gave us our children. It is so easy to become overwhelmed and feel like a failure as a mother, particularly when we are constantly comparing ourselves to society’s ideal. Is my child perfect, is my house perfect, is my marriage perfect? On and on and on it goes. Should I work or should I stay at home? If I work I will feel guilty leaving my children, if I stay at home I feel like I’m not contributing enough. If someone asks me how I am, I say everything’s fine because I dare not admit that I might be finding things difficult. Mums are not supposed to feel like that. Mums are living the dream.
In many ways, we mums are living the dream. For me, getting married and having children was everything I ever wanted. I love my life. But still, there is that niggling doubt that creeps in every now and then and makes me to wonder, is this it? Should I be doing more with my life? Doesn’t God have some grand purpose for me that involves more than scrubbing toilets and endless loads of washing? I look at the mums who seem to have it all together and return to my chaotic house and think what am I doing wrong? I never seem to be able to keep up with everything, let alone carve out some time for myself! How do they do it?
It’s not just as mothers, but as women in general, that we seem to be on this never-ending treadmill of comparison, and in our darkest moments berating ourselves for always falling short. But I wonder if we took an honest look, would we question whose standards are we actually trying to meet? Are they our friends, our mothers, our husbands, or our own? Who is it that is constantly telling us that we don’t measure up? When you think about it, most of the negative self-talk is exactly that. Self-talk. Meaning it is us, talking to ourselves, saying we aren’t good enough. Not our friends, mothers or husbands. But us.
What about God’s standard for a Mother? Do we really believe that He has called us to this role, that we are doing an important job? That our children are exactly where they are supposed to be, and that God designed us to be their mother, and them to be our children? If we could just hold on to that belief, even for a moment, then we would stop trying to be more than who we are. Because finally we would know, all that matters is who we are in God, and that is enough. He is the only one we ever need answer to. What a liberating thought!
But it is in the routine of everyday life that we forget this truth. Somehow it gets lost between the squabbling, tantrums, grocery shopping and housework. Life as a mum can very quickly become something of a chore. But what did God intend us to feel about Motherhood? In Proverbs 31 it says “She is worth more than rubies”, “She works with eager hands”, “She speaks with wisdom”, “She laughs at the days to come”. Doesn’t that sound like a great woman, someone that we might even aspire to? We need to shake off society’s ideas about Motherhood, and appreciate that it is indeed a divine calling, one we have been chosen for and should accept with honour.
When you start to look at the journey of Motherhood as a way of loving and serving God and the family He has blessed you with, even the smallest task can take on a new meaning. It is yet another opportunity to show God that you are truly grateful to be a mum. No, it might not always be glamourous, but it is meaningful. Every task you perform in your day is a demonstration to God and your family of how you feel about them. It is an act of love. It’s not always easy, but don’t let yourself be fooled into thinking you’re not doing something amazing by raising children. Look to God for approval, not the world.
We all know how quickly time flies by. One minute you have a baby in your arms, the next minute they’re all grown up! Well, it feels like that sometimes anyway. Talk to anyone who’s had kids and they all say the same thing, where does the time go? Cherish the moments you have with your children, and remember it is only for a season. Make the most of the opportunities you have to shape their young minds, because they will be adults before you know it! Accept the role of Motherhood gracefully; treat it as something you have been called by God to do. Be the example God wants you to be, the example that your kids will follow with their own families one day. And most of all, be comfortable with who you are!
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.