Thursday, October 12, 2006

Thoughts on Motherhood

I've been reading an article in Radiant magazine called The Stay-at-Home Question: What is the New Ideal for New Mothers? Although I don't consider myself a "new" mother, the discussion is interesting. Here is a quote I keep coming back to:

Leslie Leyland Fields, mother of six and author of Surprise Child ...notes the tendency some have - even within the Church - to criticize and even look down upon those who do not adhere to the functions of the at-home mom. "There are those in our churches who believe that unless you're homeschooling, taking your children to every church event and service, devoting your every minute to your children - unless you are all these things, you're not a good Christian mother," she says. "I disagree. I think we're sometimes in danger of deifying our children and our family, setting them up as idols in place of God."

Here are some of my thoughts and questions:

  • Knowing that it is ideal for children to be at home with mother let's say at least until preschool/Kindergarten, will there ever be situations when it IS within God's will for mom to work outside the home?
  • Are my friends who work full-time out of God's will?
  • What about those mothers in ministry or fields of public service (ex: doctor), is it ever God's will for them to return to their careers when their children are small?
  • I think it's easy to assume that God's will is for all mothers to stay home with their children, but do we ever set up our role as sahm as an idol?
  • Is it possible to take mothering TOO seriously, therefore ignoring what God might be leading you to do that's different?
  • Is devoting yourself so completely to mothering stripping you from who you are?
  • Can we get lost in the role of mother?

I so enjoy reading blogs. Most of the blogs I read are written by moms - from all walks of life. I enjoy everything from the homeschooling/homesteading/ultra-conservative mom to the leave-your-kids-with-daddy-for-a-girlfriend-weekend mom to the career-minded mom who lives in the city. All these moms love their kids - and the Lord! Sometimes though I can walk away from the computer feeling discouraged. "Am I supposed to be living like that mom?" "Should I be doing what she does?" "Should I be churning my own butter and making my kids clothes?" (Just kidding - ain't gonna happen!)

I know that just like educating our children, each family must seek God's will for their family regarding whether mom works. I admire homeschooling moms tremendously. God isn't telling me to do that. I so love being at home with G. But will there be a time when it's His will that I work - especially if my work is ministry?

There may only be 4 people out there who read this, but I would really like some feedback. What are your thoughts?


kacole said...

I know some moms that are not stay-at-home-mom-material and I don't feel like they would be the best mom they could be if they HAD to stay home with the kids. (But that doesn't make them bad moms.)

I think that like anything else - you just have to go with what God's will for you is.

And I think you CAN get lost in the role of being mom. I think it happens very often...causing marriages to suffer, friendships to suffer, etc. I think it is also bad for for the parenting skills of that particular mother. Burn out!!

But hey - I'm not a mom.

Beaver said...

AMEN! I never thought being "called into the music ministry" meant being where I am now leading children's music and our arts school, but here I am. And although I may be considered to be "working outside the home" and I have no plans to ever home-school my kids unless something drastic like that has to happen, I am SO where God wants me to be right now. In fact, I would be content to spend the entire time at the church while my kids are at school. (Wendell puts his foot down, though . . .) I know I get paid to be "on staff" at the church, but honestly I'd do it for free. It's the ministry that God has for me right now and it's so exhillerating to be here!

joyfuljourney said...

Hey Beaver,

Do you ever feel like you aren't spending enough time with the kids? What about W?

I have come to the conclusion that if I were to work, I'd still be a good mom. I know that sounds simple, but what a revelation! Working wouldn't make me a bad mom. If I worked outside the home though, I would no longer read blogs that are mostly about being home with kids full-time. Just like when we chose not to homeschool, I no longer read about homeschooling. It would have caused doubt and regret. I can now discuss homeschooling with those who do because I KNOW that as long as we live here, we will use public school.

Anyway, good discussion!

weevileer said...

Precursory note:I apologize for my amazing inability w/brevity...You know I am struggling with some of these same questions, don't you? There are days when I feel a ginormous call to be a sahm then there are days when I feel strangely at home with what I do during my work life. Not only have I been part of a huge blessing for the cotton growers of this area, but this job has been part of a huge change w/in me and w/in my life. Just the circumstances of how I got to this path in my career seem guided from above. My boss recently said to me "There is no one else but you who could do the job you do." And he may really be right. If I weren't here that same man wouldn't have had the profoundly positive affect on me, my life, and in my marriage that he has. I'm coming to believe that if I weren't here at weeviltopia there would still be an overwhelming amount of unresolved issues left in my heart and soul.So, maybe it's possible that weevilworld is exactly where I'm supposed to have been all this time.(-:

weevileer said...

Oh,and you can make that 5 people who read your blog! I've been here inthe stix to long...could you please explain white rabbit to me sometime? Please?

Beaver said...

Well, depending on who you ask, what I have is either considered a sickness or a blessing. As crazy as I may think I am some times, I have the need and ability to do some SERIOUS multi-tasking. So, I do spend time with the kids and with Wendell (and he's beginning to see the difference between being a "volunteer" and a "minister" - a marvelous difference) so it's not like a competition of who gets the most from whom, but that we are doing what God has for us to do. I think selfishness can really come into play and definitely does when too much time is spent on any one group of family members - children or parents. God is the one who deserves the time and we are the ones who are blessed by the time our loved ones spend with God.

And the sooner the kids catch onto that, the better! :-)

joyfuljourney said...

Oh, my friends and my sister are such blessings! Beaver, what words of wisdom I so needed to hear! What you said about spending too much time with one group of the family might be what that author was talking about. We CAN make mothering too important! When what we really need to be doing is focusing on HIM, He deserves our time! What an incredible lesson to teach our children!

WeevilWoman - you make me LAUGH! I don't know what I'd do in this one-horse ( store)town without you! You keep me SANE! I wish Kacole and Beaver could meet you personally. If Kacole would ever come see me, you could meet! You are a wonderful mom and wife! By the way, good use of the word ginormous!

Check out my Sept 1st post for the White Rabbit explanation. But here's a warning...if you choose to partipate, you are stuck in the game for life!!! But, you and I could have lots of fun playing! You are just creative, crazy and clever enough to play well!!!!

kacole said...

I also get kind of tired of hearing how things are your "ministry". I am sure that being a mom is one of those jobs that get shoved into the "this is your ministry" category.

While mommy-ing has bazillions of ministry oportunities AND is a VERY impportant job - it doesn't mean that THAT is what your MINISTRY is (it may just be one of many). Your calling may be teaching, singing, writing or preaching. But just because you are a mother doesn't mean that it will be the only ministry you have - it doesn't define you.

Does that make sense? Just because I answer the phone at the church - that isn't my MINISTRY (I can minister through that - but my heart/calling is somewhere else).

joyfuljourney said...

I know what you mean. God has given me a huge responsibility being a mom. It should never be taken lightly. But, I was a whole person for 30 years before motherhood, and I knew my ministry had nothing to do with that. It doesn't define me. My "ministry" has always been done through my role as "pastor's wife". For some, being married to the pastor has nothing to do with their ministry. For me, it has a whole lot to do with it. During this season of life, He is allowing me to connect to other mothers with young children in my town, but our conversations cover WAY more than kids. My life just can't be all about my kids. I think that's way out of balance.

Kacole, your job is answering the phone and dealing with old ladies with crooked boobs, but your ministry goes way beyond that!

JRR said...

I have no thoughts on motherhood, but apparently I should get some. This is how to increase traffic.

weevileer said...

I am now retracting my comment about being in the right place. Or maybe I'll just emphasize that I am still quite confused and bewildered about where I shoud really be. Work vs. Home. When I leave the house at 6:50 am and my wonderful 4 yr old E is crying and saying "but mama I want to be with you!" and S is consoling her with "Mama will be with you all day tomorrow." Just makes me want to put in my two weeks notice immediately!! Two days from now I'll be hearing "No mama don't go. I want you stay with me!" So often I think I just might want to have the opportunity to lose myself in mothering and wifing. I've been trying to convince S I would be a better wife if I were at home 24/7. He's still grabbing his wallet and heart for dear life!

weevileer said...

I believe Kacole is wise beyond her years. With her way with words her ministry is obviously somewhere other than answering the phones, but I sure like the crooked boobs story!

Joyful, you are a wonderful mother, and I feel no matter where you were working your boys wouldn't suffer for it, you wouldn't let them.Your boys are both so sweet and so nice to be around.Part of what is special about you is how you minister, really minister, as our pastor's wife.You're such a blessing.What I'm learning from you is 1) to be more organized in an unanal way (2) to think about things a little more deeply and thoroughly than I usually let myself (3)to laugh more everyday than I used to. (-:
Sorry about the brevity issue, have never been able to conquer that in words.Have to go hunt weevils now.

i'm_inspired said...

JJ, For what it's worth to you, I've been there and done that..spent many guilt-ridden years for not being at home with the girls when I went back to school. Not only did I have feelings of forsaking them, but I felt like I abandoned God due to all the 'busy-ness'. Satan will beat you to death with it!!!

Now, that I look back in retrospect, I don't think it would have changed the character or well-being of the girls one bit, for me to have been with them every minute. They were well cared for by their dad. He was teaching when they were in school and took care of them when they were home.

The girls learned to be self sufficient and self supporting. I ask myself, "What's wrong with that?", when there are so many 'adult children' still living with mom and day, bleeding them dry financially.

I thank God for using those years in preparing all of us for our lives today.