Being a mother is an amazing thing. It is an absolute blessing to be a mother. In today’s society mothers have a lot of pressure on them. Some is external, but some is internal too. Being a mother is an extremely important job, but our current culture tells women that “just being a mother” really isn’t good enough.
We who are called and blessed with the responsibility of being a mother need not take this important responsibility for granted. Unfortunately, our culture doesn’t seem to support the idea of motherhood as a blessing; instead, it implies it is a bit of an inconvenience and gets in the way of a woman’s ability to climb the corporate ladder and ‘make something of herself’.
Over the last several decades there has been a major shift in the opportunities available to women, which has also caused a shift in the societal expectations of women. Women are told as young girls they ‘can be anything they want to be’ and ‘do anything they want to do’. While both of these are positive statements for young girls, society has taken it to the extreme and now tries to make men and women completely equal, which is a fallacy. Men and women were designed differently for a reason. Women now are expected to achieve what men achieve and are expected to go out and earn money for the family too. Our lifestyles as Americans has played a factor in these expectations as well. I understand that many women choose to work outside of the home and that is their choice. I am not judging them. I was there and I felt I was doing what God had called me to do. I also know that there are many mamas who do not have a choice and my heart breaks that they have no choice. This post is not to impart guilt on them either. This post is to point out the cultural status quo from my perspective and to encourage mamas who have a choice and might be struggling with a divided heart between working outside of the home or choosing to stay home with her children.
Men and women were designed differently to compliment each other, but our culture has been pushing out this fact for many years and we are seeing the grave results of it now. I believe the current decline in our society has a lot to do with the cultural changes of a mother’s role. As a woman in her early thirties, I grew up hearing those inspiring statements about ‘doing anything I wanted to do’. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for those statements and believe they played a part in my educational and professional success. I have a mechanical engineering degree and owned a successful prosthetic practice for 6 years. But since selling my practice, embracing my calling as a mother and choosing to stay at home with my children I have thought a lot about my younger years. I do not remember hearing many statements about how important the role of a mother is to her family, nor any inspirational talks about how it will be a joy to be a mother someday. In fact, the only real time I remember “mothers” being recognized was one day of the year...Mother’s Day. This is so disappointing. Mothers should be celebrated every day.
Being a mother is hard work and it is a big responsibility. I have heard mothers joke about how going to work is actually easier than raising their children. While this may be true, there is sadness in this statement. Mothers today miss out on so much of their child’s growth and development because they are not present for a good portion of these years. It has become our culture to have other people raise our children so moms can go off to work. Children prefer to be with their mothers though, especially at a young age. I believe a large majority of a child’s raising must be done by the parents and the mother will take the lead on this because of her natural, nurturing instincts.
As I said at the beginning of this blog, being a mother is something we can’t take for granted. I do not believe mothers were meant to raise children alone though. Fathers play an important role in the family unit as well and should be contributing to raising the children too. To you single moms out there, please hear me when I say “you are amazing and I am not downplaying what you do, nor bashing it!” I have so much respect for single mothers. I believe our society has let single mothers down too.
Our society demands a woman’s worth be measured by what we do professionally. I see nothing wrong with a woman working. I myself enjoy work. Working is a good thing, but what I am concerned with is when a mother’s work becomes a priority over children. Most mothers do not intend for this to happen, but unfortunately it often does. Between projects, deadlines, meetings and more, how do moms fit in teacher conferences, school plays, sports games, spelling bees, and just being around? Something has to give...and odds are it won’t be to the person who signs your paycheck. Moms in these situations often try to do it all and at 110%, which is not humanly possible. This results in a serious problem of over-stressed, over-worked, burned-out moms who suffer serious personal consequences. Which ultimately causes the whole family to crumble.
Please hear me out...I am not pointing fingers or talking about a subject I don’t know anything about. I was there. I owned my own business, had a newborn, and married. It was extremely difficult. When I was working I felt guilty that I wasn’t with my son and when I was with my son, I felt guilty because I wasn’t at the office. It was so stressful. It was more than I could handle. I always felt I was neglecting my husband in some way or another. And as a result I was suffering in all aspects of my life; I was depressed and I was burned-out! God knew I was struggling and so earlier this year, he took the business away. I was able to sell my business and I no longer work there. God has now given me the opportunity to be at home. I am continuing to work, but on a much smaller time scale. I am now helping my husband with his construction business. I have a much more flexible schedule and I get to spend a lot more time with my family and I am very thankful.
I do believe the current decline in our society has a lot to do with this shift in a mothers expectations. ATTENTION MOMS...Let us take motherhood back! I have never heard a mother say, “Wow, I wish my kids would have grown up faster!” Time is the one thing we can’t get more of. Once it is gone, we can never get it back. I want to encourage you to take a look at where your time goes. Are you working? How much time is dedicated to work and how much to your family? Are you reaching burn-out? I think if we all took an honest look at our schedules we would see that our family time is actually pretty limited. Don’t take the time with your family for granted. Your work is important; but NOT as important as your family.
Hello World! This is my first blog ever. Thanks for reading.
Written on 11/6/2013
Last night I went to a Mom Heart meeting at New Life Church. Sally Clarkson hosts these meeting once a month where she speaks to the group and then there is a little bit of time for small table discussions. Her talk last night was titled, ‘When Darkness Comes’ and it was SO GOOD! I had never really heard of Sally Clarkson before until this past Sunday, but two different women I know told me about her and this meeting. Weekday evenings are usually really tough for me to be away from the house, but I could feel that God really wanted me to go to this meeting and I was able to make plans so I could go.
God totally made this possible. My husband’s work was going to keep him late on Tuesday night, so I needed to find someone to be able to watch my son for a bit until my husband got home. My good friend and neighbor Anita who is usually busy every Tuesday evening "for some reason" she was available.
I have been struggling with the fear of starting this blog and writing a book. I believe that God has placed the desire to write and speak in my heart, but I struggle everyday with the fear that I won’t be contributing anything really useful to the topic of motherhood and raising children. I fear that people will take me as judgmental and this fear of criticism is paralyzing me from sharing my work with the world.
As Sally began to speak, I was in amazed. So many of the things she was saying I have been writing about over the last few weeks. I completely related to what she was saying. One difference though was her perspective was more deeply rooted in God’s strength than my own thoughts and writings.
As I was listening to hear words, fear started to creep in. I started having thoughts that I had missed my opportunity. Sadness came over me. I began to think, “Well Mrs. Clarkson is already talking about what I want to say, so there is no reason for me to write or talk about the topic too”. But I am confused. Why did God put this desire in my heart then? Why has He been inspiring me to write as often as I have? Why am I waking up in the middle of the night with so much to say and after about a half hour I have entire page of writing?!
One of Sally’s main topics of the night was about fear! It was like she was talking right to me. I was mesmerized. I know I needed to hear these words and God made it possible. A Psalm Sally highlighted during her talk was Psalm 27: 1-3. “The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, My enemies and foes; they stumbled and fell. Though an army should encamp against me, My heart shall not fear; Though war should rise against me, In this I will be confident”.
Her entire talk was great. She gave so much inspiration to each and every woman in the audience. After the talk, she encouraged us to spend some time in small group discussions. I found an opening at one point and I went up and introduced myself to Sally. I knew she was in a hurry to leave because she needed to get to another engagement with her “men”, she had said. Her son is visiting from out of town. I thanked her for ministry and told her that she is an inspiration. She asked if her and I had met before. ?? She said that I looked familiar. I told her that I have been attending New Life for a few months now, but that I do not believe we had ever met. I briefly summarized what is happening in my life with the desires to write and start a blog. But I posed the question to her about what more could I contribute? She looked right at me and said, “Well why me?” I knew what she was saying. Why does God chose any of us? We should not question his calling, but mediate on it and pray about how we should follow that calling.
Unfortunately, my time with Sally was cut short because someone else needed to talk with her; but, I was thankful for the brief moment we got. She will be speaking a the Mom Heart Conference in January and I can’t wait to attend. Click here for more information on the conference.
On my drive home I began to talk to God. I thanked God for the opportunity to hear Sally speak. Then the fear started to creep in again. God quickly shut the fear up. God spoke loudly to me. He said, ‘No, do not believe the fear! I have plans for you. Just trust me.’ God gave me the analogy of a farmer and his crops. God said I have given you seeds of desires to write for a reason. I have been specific about the topic I want you to write about, just trust me and be patient. When I get excited about something I have a tendency to dive right in head first. I figure, why wait? But God is saying, “Slow Down! You need to be patient, but do not be afraid” God told me that like the farmer, I must wait for those seeds to grow, bearing fruit doesn’t happen over night. The world tells us that if we don’t get it all done today, some one else will have it done tomorrow. While sometimes this may be true, we can’t be hurried by the world. Someone else might have it done, but not the way You will get it done. God will not bless rushed action. God wants us to be obedient to Him. We must be patient for His time.
God was clear about his farmer analogy. He said, you need to wait for the seeds to germinate. He said, I have tilled the soil and given you the seeds, but you need to give them water, sunlight and nutrients so they will grow. He said, I will provide you with opportunities of nutrients, water and sun in different ways. Sally is just one of the many ways I am providing. God said, “Learn from Sally, don’t see her as competition.” It was so clear. I was letting my competitive side reign over the fact that Sally and her message is a blessing, not a barrier or a stop sign. God said, be obedient and you will be amazed when harvest time arrives. “I am the vine, you are branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
How encouraging. So today I awoke with a new sense of mission. I am not going to let fear over take me. When fear starts to creep in I will meditate on the scriptures for strength to shut that fear up. God gave me this verse this morning, “Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” Luke 1:45 I am going to be the farmer. I am going to continue to learn and nurture the seeds God has given me. I am not going to rush things or feel like I am behind. I am going to keep reminding myself that God is in control and that His time is the right time.
So here I am. This is my first blog post ever! I hope you enjoyed and will be back to read my next. I have several almost ready and I will post them when the time is right.
Some other great scripture verses:
“You did not chose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.”
- John 15:16
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”
- John 15:1-4
Hi! My name is Mandy Jo.
Thanks for visiting my blog! Being a mom in this modern age is a blessing, but no cake walk. So many expectations are imposed on us and it can be overwhelming and often discouraging.