If you’ve ever had the privilege of sitting down to a chat with Alice and her family—there are 6 of them altogether, plus pets—you’ll come out of that conversation a better person. You’ll find your worldview is broadened, your parenting aspirations uplifted, and your spiritual walk inspired. She’s just one of those people whose intentionality and purity of heart positively affect everyone and everything around her. I bet you could give her a wilted a plant, and she would could return it to you in full-bloom in 2 week’s time. Ok, that may be a stretch, but she really is a remarkable lady… who is likely blushing as she reads this description of herself. I don’t really believe in the myth of the Supermom, but I’d say Alice is the kind of mother to her children that we can all learn a thing or two from. That’s why I’m thrilled that she has agreed to write a guest blog right here on The Gospel on the Homefront. Please stay a spell, read, enjoy, and then leave a comment!
Why can’t I always have the kids’ lunches ready every evening, each with its own loving note? Why can’t I vacuum my house every day, so that the dog hair doesn’t end up in the food? Why can’t I prepare a well rounded breakfast everyday for my children, so that they leave for school with a head start on all of the food groups? Why can’t I have my laundry folded and put away the same day it’s been washed and dried? Why can’t I have my husband’s shirts ironed so that he doesn’t have to hurriedly do that before leaving for work in the morning? Well, I know the answer for the last question, anyway. Before we got married, we didn’t work out any sort of prenuptial agreement like is apparently recommended, but there was one agreement I made sure of before I said “I do”. The deal was, I will iron his shirts if he cleans the bathrooms. He hasn’t touched bathrooms since we got married, so I feel no guilt over his wrinkled shirts! But, oh man, what about the rest?
My ideal of motherhood, or perhaps what I think is others’ ideal of motherhood pressing down on me… What do I do with all that??
Our oldest is turning 14 in May. It’s been a long journey, and I do not have it all figured out yet, but I do have some small ideas that help me. About time I start to get it, I guess.
Time. Maybe that’s it. Maybe my life is too busy. Maybe I should take some of the pressure off myself because having four kids takes a lot of attention, and that’s four kids, plus the husband! How could I even think that I’d have the time for notes in lunches!? No, I do not think it has to do with time. Not everything, anyway. Hardly any of it in fact. If it was a priority for me, I would have time to vacuum more regularly. Not every day, maybe, but more than once every two weeks or whatever it is. True, I generally don’t have the time to give my family a warm breakfast in the mornings, but their cereals are the low sugar kind, fortified with vitamins; often there’s cut up fruit beside, and always a cod liver oil pill, which we are very competitive about (“Who can swallow this with the least amount of liquid?” “Wow, I pretty much did it with just spit this time!”). And I only sometimes serve ice cream with breakfast, and at least that’s with baked oatmeal… and it’s really, really good. And if I gave up reading a book in the evening, I would have time to fold laundry. I really don’t think it’s the time.
Rather than “time”, I think “priorities” are more relevant in this discussion. What are my priorities, and by what are they governed? Well, off the top of my head, I’d say two are probably the biggest. Number one in my life is: “How does God want me to raise/treat/serve my family?” And then number two is: “What talents did God give me to do that?”
There are some universal truths involved in raising a family in a godly way. I’m not sure I can list them all, but I think they are pretty much summarized under the following two: raising our children to know and love their God, and raising our children to show love and respect for others as image bearers of God. A huge part of doing that is modeling these behaviours in my own life. A good start is showing my children that I want to learn more about God every day by enjoying devotions and Bible time with them, and by praying with them regularly, speaking naturally to and about my God. I can also show respect to others as we go out in the community, drive courteously, wait.in line patiently, engage people in friendly conversation, being quick to say thank you and sorry, and then showing that same respect to my children.
My second priority, using the talents that God has given me, allows me to be the mother God wants me to be. Me, not you. Me, a unique mother, for the unique children he has entrusted into my care. Of course, there are dangers and pitfalls here, as it relates to the sinful parts of my character. I am not a patient person, but I shouldn’t just say, “Well, God didn’t give me the talent to be patient. Sorry kids, this is me. Live with it”. Of course I have to let his Spirit change those negative characteristics in me, and work his fruit out in me instead of sin. But at the same time, God has given me unique characteristics and talents which he wants me to rejoice in and use to raise my children. I am creative. I am energetic. I am social. I enjoy having people over to our house. I love bright colours. I like to dress differently than others. I love to read. I don’t get stressed out by a mess (Sorry, husband!). I love talking to kids as well as adults– kids almost more sometimes. I love discussions. I am not afraid of disagreement (Again, sorry, husband!). I don’t let little things bug me– I really cannot think of any little pet peeves, as they are called.
Hey, it’s fun putting down a list of positives! You should try it! No, really! Leave a comment listing some of the positive characteristics your Creator has endowed you with! It’s not boasting; it’s a way to praise the God who made you! Then, when you recognize those talents and characteristics, you can move on and make use of them.
No, I will not be the mother who folds her laundry the same day it is washed, because mess doesn’t bother me. But I am the mother who will engage my children in lively round-the-table discussion about what God might have been trying to tell us when he decided a particular story should be in the Bible. I will not be the mother who provides perfectly balanced breakfasts and lunches. But I am the mother who encourages her children to wear the clothes that they enjoy to wear, not what the rest of the crowd is wearing. I will not be the wife who irons her husband’s shirts for him. But I am the wife who creatively works out a lower budget menu for the week after making a fun but spur-of-the-moment IKEA trip and bought some things we wanted but didn’t really need.
And hey, I don’t get hung up on the little things, so the fact that my husband never cleans bathrooms is completely forgiven … Hang on, that’s not a little thing…!
Rejoice in your uniqueness, mom! God made you the way you are, so go ahead and be the mother that you’ve been made to be. Your children are each unique, and you rejoice in that, right? So glorify God by setting the same standard for the way you view yourself. (And don’t forget to share those characteristics in a comment!)
The mission of Intersection is to help our readers to see how the gospel of Jesus intersects & transforms all of life in a very real way. Our goal is to destroy the false & harmful dichotomy between 'the sacred' & 'the secular' by presenting a wide range of perspectives that focus on different aspects of life in the city. These stories, reflections, observations, & opinions all have one thing in common—the shared conviction that every arena of life can be holy & beautiful when it is lived out in full awareness of the gospel & in full submission to the leadership of Jesus. Although the Intersection team loves, values, & supports all of its contributors, the views expressed in their posts are ultimately their own & may not necessarily reflect the beliefs & values of New City Church.