Did I mention I'm pregnant?
Because I am. Almost into the 2nd Trimester and doing great! We're very excited and this past week I got to see our little peanut and my heart thrilled. Baby. Little profile, flailing hands, perfect design. I'm going to be a mother of two. That's exciting and scary. When I think of the harder days, those early months when everything is chaos and nothing makes sense and you fear a routine will never enter your life until the kids are out of the house... then it can seem overwhelming and you get those, "What are we thinking?" thoughts. At a recent health screening I had the nurse tell me, "Wow, you're a glutton for punishment!" when I told her I had a 19 month old son at home.
I think I'm blessed. That's what I think I am.
I'm going to be really honest and I'll probably step on some toes and that's okay. But... and here I take a deep breath... but mom's can be really, really prideful. I'm including myself on this one, before you start sending hate-mail my way. I have seen and have experienced how easy it is to fall into the trap of, "Oh, we're a minority and no one understands how hard life is at home with kids." Really? Do we really think no one gets it?
What about our grandmothers? Or our own mothers? Some may have stayed home full-time while others split the responsibilities of a job outside and within the home. We're all busy. We're all trying to do the best we can. We all want to be patted on the back for a job well done. We all want to know that we haven't been forgotten or overlooked. But most of all? Most of all I think we want people to tell us what awesome little martyrs we're being. That's where the pride comes in. That, "No one sees all I do!" mentality or "My husband just doesn't get why I'm tired at the end of the day!" I bet he does, honey. Do you get why he's tired at the end of the day?
On a good day, mothering is still tough. It's still a job. But what we do at home and what our husbands do at work all day all come together to form the life of a family. Some women complain their husbands don't "pull their weight" around the house. Do you pull your weight around his job? Do you take time to do filing for him or make calls or appointments? It sounds ridiculous, but for many of us, I think we think that way. That they should do their job and they should come home and help us with ours.
I see so many blogs that are focused on encouraging the tired mother. And I get that. I really, really do. I've been downright exhausted for the past three months. I don't think I cooked more than one real meal in the previous twelve weeks (thank God for the most patient husband on the face of the earth). It's felt like too much.... the dusting, the laundry that just kept piling up (clean! But still piled!)... it was overwhelming. But sometimes I forget how overwhelmed I felt when I worked in an office. Sometimes I forget how brain dead I felt by 2 p.m..... pretty much like I do now. Work is work. I don't remember reading blogs for the tired office managers and secretaries and professionals.
I think we need to get away from focusing on how hard mothering is and instead be encouraged by how special it is that we get to stay home. Yes, it's still work and yes we want everyone to know we didn't just take the easy way out. I don't think many think that. And those that do, well, they can think what they want. It doesn't have to affect you or how you view your self worth. But we need to, as my Mom has said many times, "Get off the cross. Someone needs the wood."
It is a privilege to get to spend so much one-on-one time with the children we make with our husbands. It is an honor to have delicious meals on the table or fresh bread in the oven. And I know I have been guilty of complaining about "never having any time". Sister, that's a downright lie. You cannot tell me that you never, ever have time. Because I see your blogs. I see you on Facebook. I buy things from your home-based business. We have time to meet with friends (granted, typically with babies in tow, but that's part of being a mother!) and we get Starbucks. We have lunches out and time to workout and read and have devotions.
We may not have all the time we would want to spend in certain areas. A fifteen minute workout may be all you can get in because you have to make sure you have time to shower and get dressed before the baby wakes up. You may need to lower your expectations. But there is no reason why you should "lose yourself". There is no reason to become resentful of one of those best, best, best eras of your life.
We need to be honest with ourselves and others. I know we don't want to be failures at home. I know we want to do a really good job and have our house humming and our children taught well. I know so well that feeling when you want people to recognize how much you sacrifice to do your job well. But for those who do their job well, there is always sacrifice. For political leaders and soldiers, doctors, nurses, pastors, missionaries... to do anything well, it's going to have the difficult days. That's just a given. We need to stop acting so surprised that something worth doing and worth doing well is going to wear us down sometimes. And we need to stop wanting so badly to be validated by the world. When has that ever really helped anyone?
The truth is, it doesn't matter if people see all you do. We were never meant to do our work with someone else in mind. Unless that Someone else happens to be an Almighty God. All of our tasks point back to Him and we should be grateful for the work we have been given. Whether we sit at a desk all day or we sit indian-style on the floor playing with trucks and puzzles. We need to stop the pity parties. We need to stop the gossip in our mom groups. We need to stop tearing down our husbands or expecting them to award us with medals every day of the week because we did loads of laundry, kept dishes clean and the kids alive for one more week.
Being a servant of God's means that your focus is not on, ultimately, serving anyone on this earth (Galatians 1:10). And sometimes we forget, because we're so focused on keeping things sanitary and picked up and ensuring our kids don't have a steady diet of Fruit Loops. The way we keep our eyes on God is by being thankful. Not by being stuck in the moment or focused on how hard it is to be a stay-at-home-mom. We open the windows to fresh air and mercy when we are thankful for all God has given.
And we will become increasingly thankful and joyful for and in the work He has given us to do when we get back to the basics of what we're really supposed to be doing: serving Him. Get your eyes off of your own reflection and get back to the real work that you've been given. The work that you have been perfectly cut out and equipped for. You are not alone, forgotten or unseen.
God has always known exactly what path He wanted your feet on.
"Servants, do what you're told
by your earthly masters.
And don't just do the minimum
that will get you by.
Do your best. Work from
the heart for your real Master,
for God, confident that you'll
get paid in full when you
come into your inheritance.
Keep in mind always
that the ultimate Master
you're serving is Christ.
The sullen servant
who does shoddy work
will be held responsible.
Being a follower of Jesus
doesn't cover up bad work.
~ C o l o s s i a n s 3 : 2 3 , T h e M e s s a g e