One of the biggest lies these days is that your act of mothering is unimportant. That what you do every day is so ordinary, you can easily be replaced with a daycare worker or teacher.
That you should be doing something else more significant, more valuable.
This lie from the pit of hell has been packaged and sold in various forms to women over the last five decades. The most blatant is that motherhood is synonymous with slavery and if you have children, your life as you know it will be over.
Okay, changed forever, yes, but not OVER.
The truth is that mothering is Kingdom work, and essential to the Great Commission. This is why it is so viciously attacked.
Feminists might be sowing the seeds of discontent, but the enemy of our souls is behind it. In order to value our roles as moms, we first need to understand how they are being torn down.
Betty Friedan wrote The Feminine Mystique in 1963, examining and confronting the role of women as stay-at-home mothers, and argued that women had been coaxed into selling out their intellect and ambitions for the paltry price of a new washing machine.
Fast forward to today, where there is a movement several years in the making to unveil the realities of motherhood. There seems to be a sense of indignation over someone not telling us that this was going to be so hard.
In an effort to expose the truth that we don’t have it all together, we have let it all hang out there: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Honesty is a good thing; it helps us understand that we are not alone in our struggles. And while we shouldn’t labor under the false assumption that everyone else is doing it all perfectly, I wonder if we haven’t contributed to undermining our roles by talking about all the negative aspects of mothering.
I have certainly been guilty of this. I jumped on the bandwagon shortly after my first child was born, with a desire to debunk the romanticized version of motherhood we often hold before we actually have children.
I was open about my struggles with postpartum depression, and the hard work of caring for a baby and then a toddler while my husband was away at work 12 hours a day. Many women thanked me for being real and shattering the isolating illusion that being a mommy is nothing but pure bliss.
But, I had a heart problem. I was doing more complaining about the daily tasks of mothering than pointing out the simple, “ordinary” joys.
When I saw a pregnant woman browsing the baby aisles at Target and passed her with my two kids who were dangerously on the verge of a total meltdown, I’d think “Just wait. THIS is what’s in store for you.” When people asked me if I was having more children, I’d be quick to say I’m a member of the “two and through club”.
I think it comes down to, do we really believe God when He says in Psalm 127 that children are a blessing? “Children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them…” (Psalm 127:3-5)
Now, people use this verse to argue against birth control, and the result is women that feel guilty who either cannot have children or do not wish to have an entire house full of them. I am not endorsing the Quiverful Movement here.
This is simply a question we need to ask ourselves, deep within our hearts. That answer will absolutely color how we parent our children, and also how we choose to view our roles as mothers.
So, you’re probably thinking, my child is a blessing when he refuses to obey? Or when he makes the same messes repeatedly with little regard for who has to clean them up? Surely my child cannot be a blessing when she has an epic tantrum- in public- or when she keeps having potty accidents.
Well… actually, yes! A blessing is anything that brings us closer to God. Our children do a whole lot to teach us about our relationship with our Heavenly Father, and it’s usually through unpleasant means.
But surely this verse must be some backward, out of date sentiment that no longer applies to the 21st century? No, these are the words of the living God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
The message in our culture today about children has wormed its way into our minds and hearts. Society tells us, both directly and indirectly, that children are an inconvenience; wait to have them until you’re “ready”, or better yet don’t have them at all.
Once we resolve this biblical truth that children are indeed blessings, we will view them as a profound opportunity to be about the business of building the kingdom of God. After all, Jesus Himself said “For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)
They were certainly not an inconvenience or interruption to His real work. They were (and are) His work, and ours.
This conviction will also lead us to say of our kids and to them, “You are a joy in my life, and I’m glad to spend time with you.” How different would our children’s lives be if they heard and felt this communicated by us?
We definitely shouldn’t try to live up to an impossible standard or ideal as mothers. That takes our focus off of our unique talents and circumstances, including the special children that we alone have been given to care for.
However, society is all too willing to feed us the line that we should abandon the home in pursuit of our so-called real ambitions. We are sold a bill of goods that to give up our careers or other aspirations for raising children is, quite bluntly, dumb.
Nothing could be further from the truth. This, my friends, is how the Kingdom gets built.
While the Lord is certainly able to change a landscape by storm in an instant, He often works by growing trees over a century. Investing in your children is a vital part of your mission as a mom. It’s crucial to the preservation of God’s truth and the winning of our culture to Christ.
And there’s nothing ordinary about that.