Recently, I was reading an article about what stay-at-home moms could include in a resumé when returning to the work force. The expression, “If you’ve simply been doing the laundry and overseeing homework …” was used in relation to the various things that stay-at-home moms can be occupied with or involved in. This gave me reason to pause and reflect on my own life as a stay-at-home mother. Am I “just a mom” who is basically occupied with the housework and homework, or do I perceive and value my role as a mother for what it actually is? Do I think and act beyond the chores?
A mother’s role
Of course, I need to tend to the natural, practical matters, and those can be numerous. But amidst that do I have a long-range vision for my children and teenagers where it concerns their spiritual well-being? Am I a true shepherd for my kids? Do I pray for them, asking God to preserve them and lead them into a life with Him? If I know they are experiencing a specific challenge or difficulty, I can hold them before God’s face in that regard. As I wash and fold their clothes, I can use the opportunity to think about each one and pray for them individually.
As a mother, I am entrusted with the task of being sensitive to, and tending to, my children’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Maybe they’re tired after a long day at school, or perhaps they’ve experienced situations with friends or teachers that have affected them emotionally. It could be they are discouraged because of things they’ve had to deal with. Can I meet them with compassion, warmth, goodness, and encouragement? Perhaps I can make them a snack they like after school, give them a hug, or ask about their day. This gives me a heart-to-heart connection with them, so they feel more free to talk about things that might be bothering them, or things that they experienced while at school or at work. Then they are able to sense that I am interested in them and have time for them, instead of experiencing that I am too busy, stressed, or harassed because of all I do as a mother.
Taking heed to myself
Children need to be taught and guided as they are growing up. As a Christian parent, my desire for my children is not only that they are good citizens here on the earth, but more importantly that they are awakened to understand their heavenly calling and election. (2 Peter 1:10-11) Do I help them along in this “education” in a good, loving, compelling way? That is my desire, but despite my good intentions, I soon find my own lack, and see things like impatience, frustration, hardness, and selfishness in my own nature when interacting and dealing with my children.
“I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.” Romans 7:21.
But there is a solution! By being faithful in my own life – acknowledging the sin that is in my nature, and using the power that is available to me in God to overcome it so that the virtues of Christ are what come from my life instead – I can be along in saving them.
“Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” 1 Timothy 4:16.
“Always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 2 Corinthians 4:10.
A different perspective
It can be easy to try and direct our kids’ lives, and issue commands to them. In a book written about the life of a God-fearing woman named Esther Smith, she talks about this.
“… make clear for the children at an early age the difference between good and evil, and… teach them to choose what is good. We are not to stand there like directors and command our children – that is not good for their development. They should be taught to listen to their inner ‘compass,’ so that they are attentive to what God speaks through their conscience and become accustomed to obeying. Then we as parents should appeal to what God has already established in their consciences.
She also says, “Be keenly aware that of everything you have been entrusted with, your child is by far the most valuable. Your child should be treated with respect right from the very beginning.”
I realize that I still have a lot to work on in these areas!
Having this attitude concerning my children certainly puts the daily tasks of “doing the laundry and overseeing homework” in a different perspective! And, if one day I need to write that resumé, I’m sure there will be things that I can find to include. But far more important than being able to say that I have volunteered three times a week at my child’s school or served on the school board is the eternal effect that my role of mother has had on my children while they are growing up! There is no “just” about that! Being a mother is a valuable and serious calling!