Motherhood: Our Current Situation
Despite the disregard for motherhood as the ultimate vocation by the current feminist movement, there is another voice rising up that appreciates mothers and all that they do and stand for. This group continues to grow, thank heavens, and is shedding light on the importance of being wonderful, holy mothers for our children.
If you have children, you know as well as I do that being a mother is one of the most difficult yet rewarding vocations out there! And I call it a vocation instead of a job because motherhood is not a ‘job’. A job is defined as “a paid position of regular employment”, whereas a vocation is “a summons or strong inclination to a particular state or course of action”. No mother I know is getting paid to be the best mother they can be, but doing it out of love.
How We Can Turn Things Around
That being said, there are those who would complain about certain aspects of this vocation. We all know it’s not easy! We are often tired and exhausted from chasing children around, going hungry because we forget to eat, and if nursing we are physically feeding another person. Not to mention the cooking, cleaning, teaching, and redirecting that is constant. Yet, I urge you to resist complaining.
One of my favorite scripture passages from Corinthians 13:4-6 always inspires me when I’m feeling overwhelmed and immersed in self-pity. (Which seems to happen all too often!) “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud… Love is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs… It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
So how can we put this passage into action and start living out our calling to motherhood with joy? Here are 5 things I try to do so that I can be joyful every day despite the chaos of daily life.
1. Make Everything You Do an Act of Love
This is easier said than done, I know. But if we truly view everything we do as an act of love, the tasks involved in raising children and maintaining a household take on a whole new meaning. Once I started viewing the laundry, dishes, baths, midnight feedings, reading a book for the tenth time in a row and all the other seemingly mundane tasks as an ‘I Love You’ to my family…I had my joy back! Motherhood is paving my road to heaven by teaching me how to love like Christ!
We say we would do anything for our children and spouses, and yet we complain about having to feed them every day, change diapers, deal with tantrums and all this without always feeling loved in return. But true love is all about self-sacrifice without expecting anything in return. This is what we need to continue to strive for.
2. Find the Glimmers of Heaven in the Every Day
What do I mean by the ‘glimmers of heaven’? You’ve all seen them. These are those little moments where your child does something so cute or sweet that you instantly recognize this moment as a gift to you from God. Mine are usually when my toddler learns a new word or my preschooler learns a new skill. Or even when they fall asleep cuddling by me on the couch, or my daughter sings a new song she learned in school. There are so many, and God individualizes these moments for us! They are etched on our heart and belong only to us. How blessed we are! Allow yourself to take in these moments when they happen. They always help me maintain a joyful attitude throughout the day!
3. Use ‘Me-Time’ to Build Yourself Up
Instead of watching Netflix or scrolling through your Facebook feed in your free time (which I am sometimes guilty of both, so no condemnation here!), try building yourself up in a positive way. There are 4 aspects of the human person, Physical, Intellectual, Emotional and Spiritual; if we neglect any of these areas, we are essentially starving ourselves.
For the physical aspect, I see this as trying to eat healthy and exercise regularly. Do you spend money on processed food or whole foods to cook fresh for you and your family? Do you exercise several times a week?
On the intellectual side, this is fueling our minds and learning new skills. We are capable of so much as human beings and are born with a desire to learn. We just have to hone in on our interests a bit. Do you read books or research topics that interest you and would be beneficial to put into practice? Do you learn new skills from time to time that can help you be a better mother?
Our emotional side is more of focusing outward on others rather than ourselves. We can take a step outside of ourselves for a minute and think about how we can serve those around us. Do you put emphasis on your relationship with your spouse and children individually? Do you volunteer to help out at your church, children’s school or in the community?
And for the spiritual part of us, which often gets neglected in the daily hustle, it starts and ends with prayer. Do we pray daily? Are we likely to invest time into learning about what it means to be Christ-like? Do we surround ourselves with books, podcasts, television and other social media that will support and enrich our faith?
Again, no condemnation from me at all! These are all things I like to think about, and when I do them, have changed my life tremendously. I still fall short frequently, but by the grace of God, continue to pick myself back up.
4. Pray for Motherly Virtues
Do not underestimate the value of prayer! In our weakness, Christ shines through. When I feel like I just can’t go on, I always say some simple prayer. It hasn’t failed me yet. I have told my husband time and time again that God ALWAYS rescues me! It’s pretty much a daily occurrence.
Virtues that I try to pray for that are especially important in motherhood include: Patience, Strength, Perseverance and Love. God only knows how much I constantly need these!
5. Prioritize So You Don’t Get Overwhelmed
Prioritize can mean a lot of things. But in this case, it is to prioritize according to God’s plan for you that day. My basic priority list is always 1) God, 2) Husband, 3) Children, 4) Family and Friends, 5) Everything Else. If you notice, each category is either God or people in my life…then everything else is lumped all together.
You see, when you keep priorities in their proper order, everything gets the attention it deserves. When I find myself so focused on cleaning my house and my son wants me to read a book, sometimes it’s like God’s voice is telling me to stop and take the time to be with my child. ‘Create that moment with him, that is my plan for you right now.’
My Prayer for those Living Out the Vocation of Motherhood:
I pray for you, mother, wherever you are and whatever situation you find yourself in. In hopes that you can take this advice and put it to use in your life. I pray that you can resist the temptation to get discouraged and overwhelmed, and realize how blessed you are and how God is ALWAYS there to rescue when you need him!