Thursday, April 14, 2016

When You Need A Lift in Your Motherhood

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This year I'm on a quest to read 12 new-to-me parenting books, one each month. I'm calling it "continuing education" for my job as a mom {thanks for coining that term, Cindy R.!}. In January I read Withhold Not Correction, in February The Faithful Parent, and then last month, Sally Clarkson's Mission of Motherhood.

Sometimes parenting can feel burdensome. Not that the children themselves are burdens- but the weight of being responsible for the shaping of a tiny human is A LOT. The work is constant, the sleep not so much, and the pressure of it all can be intense.

Not only must I keep them fed, relatively clean {let's not get too crazy here folks}, clothed, etc; I'm also responsible for teaching them all about the Lord, manners, social skills, and how to be hardworking, well-rounded adults. It's no small task.


Once you get into the nitty-gritty everyday reality of parenting, a lot of those preconceived ideals you had about raising children also go out the window. I can't tell you how many things I said I would "NEVER" do as a mom that I've had to eat my own words on. While a lot of that is unrealistic ideas hitting the cold hard pavement of reality, some good and truly worthy ideals are let go of because it's simply hard to carry them through when you are exhausted and overwhelmed.

For example, I really don't want my kids to watch t.v. every day. While we've slacked a lot on this ideal, especially in more trying seasons, I still believe that it's a worthy ideal. I want my children spending their days digging in the dirt, breathing in fresh air, and using their minds creatively. I want them to read a lot, to be able to work through their share of wholesome "boredom," and to nurture face-to-face relationships. So it's an ideal that, to me, is still worth fighting for, however much I may let it slide at times.

All this to say, The Mission of Motherhood was a huge pick-me-up in my mothering. Sally's words breathed fresh inspiration into my heart. All of a sudden I felt excited, hopeful, and enthusiastic about mothering the children the Lord has given me. She has a gift for encouraging moms to give the best of themselves with zeal and energy. I found myself rediscovering some of my old ideals, dusting them off and giving them renewed attention.

Not to say it is easy. Every few chapters I'd start to think, were Sally's children just far easier going than mine? Did she have the one-in-a-million, perfect family, while I am doomed to a more hopeless reality? But then she would say something that acknowledged the reality of temper tantrums, strong-willed kids, and the exhaustion known only to parents... and I'd realize, "No- she really gets it." And maybe she writes so strongly optimistically because she knows we are experiencing enough of the difficult stuff, and need brighter thoughts to build us up.

Motherhood done well calls for all of us- our time, attention, striving, and focus. Sally paints a beautiful picture of the fruits of such whole-hearted endeavors. If you need a solid dose of inspiration in your motherhood, I would highly recommend this book.

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