Friday, May 9, 2014

Because Mothering Matters...

From one sometimes-snarly-and-snippety-mom to my fellow moms out there...who I assume are sometimes snarly and snippety, too. You are, right? It's not just me? Whew...


Recently I read a list about the many hats we mothers wear and it made me smile. It also made me tired. In this roll call I recognize many of my day-to-day demands:

I am...
a mom,
a personal assistant,
a chauffer,
a singer,
a cleaning lady,
a laundress,
a hero,
a boo-boo kisser,
a librarian,
a swing pusher,
a bug killer,
a chef,
a big ole meanie,
a toy package dismantler,
a teacher,
a student,
a referee,
a stroller-pusher,
a dancer,
a mess.

Maybe I cried a little bit when I hit that last one, because it's so painfully true. Sometimes this role of mother is glorious and I hold my head high, proud of my role as mom:  when my daughter sticks her cartwheel on the balance beam or when my son surprises me with a hug (in front of his 6th grade buddies). When my girl snuggles up with me on the couch or when my littlest tells me that the best part of her day was me.

But honestly, many mornings and often in the afternoon, motherhood is more like trumping through the mud-slogged trenches than it is singing and traipsing across the mountaintops.

Kids fight.
Milk spills.
Laundry multiplies.
Meals flop.
Germs infest.
Toys breed.
To-Do lists lengthen.
Homework disappears.
Tempers flare.
Patience thins.

And just as I reach the end of me, inevitably another desperate need rears its ugly and demanding head and I have to dig a little deeper and stretch a little farther, knowing deep in my weary heart that I'll start the battle over tomorrow. Hence my tearful response to that final line...I am a mess.

But within this mess of mothering, I find meaning because mothering matters to God. 

He tends His flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in His arms
and carries them close to His heart;
He gently leads those that have young.
Isaiah 40:11

This gentle reminder that God cares for me in the midst of my caring for my family stirs something deep in my soul, stirs up a desire for my day-to-day to be different. It would seem that I have two choices when I face the endless demands of my household:  I can put my head down and tackle my chores purely out of a sense of duty because that's what "good moms" do (blech). Or, I can ask God to transform my attitude and empower me to embrace each task as a sacred responsibility in tending to the welfare of my family. In this light, the above list takes on an entirely new vibrancy...

A personal assistant with the unique responsibility of preserving our family-time, hands linked around the dinner table.

A chauffer with regularly scheduled quality time with my kids when they're strapped into their seats and can't get away from me.

A singer with the privilege of introducing my kids to the wonder of 80's music and utterly embarrassing them by belting out the lyrics.

A cleaning lady with the unique honor of making this house a haven for my family.

A laundress with the weekly blessing of praying for each one in my family, from the tops of their heads to the holes in their socks.

A hero because I can tell you where to find almost anything in the house, be it your shoes, your homework or the exact location of that sticky rubber frog you got at the doctor's office.

A boo-boo kisser with the capacity to comfort my kids, whether it's a skinned knee or a wounded heart.

A librarian sharing in the joy of exploring new and incredible worlds without ever leaving the living room couch.

A swing pusher with front row seats to the uncontainable joy of feeling the wind in your hair and the sheer exhilaration of flying.

A bug killer who is sometimes a bug rescuer, teaching about the preciousness of life and the need to respect and care for God's creation. (Unless it's an ugly spider...then squish.)

A chef with the responsibility to care for the insides and outsides of my brood by making sure that what goes into their bodies is beneficial for them, while also passing on a passion for good food and kitchen dancing.

A big ole meanie with the tough job of instilling in my kids a healthy respect for authority with the willingness to sometimes "not be cool".

A toy package dismantler with hands on opportunities to model patience, restraint and a muzzle over my mouth in challenging and frustrating situations.

A teacher. Every. Single. Day.

A student learning from inside this crucible of motherhood about God's goodness. And also learning a lot about new and complicated ways to do simple math.

A referee striving to teach my children about fairness and justice. And about the hidden blessings of serving and letting someone else have the last package of fruit snacks.

A stroller pusher with daily opportunities to stop. Slow down. Explore the habitat of roly-polies. Marvel at the wonder of springtime. 

A dancer laughing as my kids either sit slack-jawed or clap their hands over their eyes as I demonstrate my amazing dancing skilz.  

A mess...I'm still a mess, but a mess with a purpose.

This shift in perspective has not altered my mother lode of tasks but it has had a life-altering impact on the load this mother is able to carry. As long as I remember that my mothering matters.

As we enter into this weekend and pause for a moment to honor motherhood, I hope you will find a moment to acknowledge that while you are exhausted, you are exhausted for a good reason. And I pray that you will hear clearly when God whispers to your heart that you are an amazing mother to your children and your mothering matters. In ways you can't even imagine.

A snapshot of a moment when I remembered
the sacredness of my mothering.

I added a few additional "jobs" to the above list, roles that I find myself filling on a regular basis. I'm sure you have a few you would add, too, and I hope you can find a lighter and brighter perspective on those jobs, as well.  Blessings on you!

The original list can be found here.

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