When you measure motherhood against other jobs, it doesn’t sound that attractive: 24-hour shifts, 7 days a week, with no pay and no leave benefits. Who would apply for a job with that kind of description?!
It’s true that as mums, our work can sometimes feel relentless, repetitive and thankless. I know I have felt like that at times. But I’ve gradually tried to shift the way I view the ‘job’ of motherhood.
Our work is a privilege
My attitude each day is shaped by how I think about the work before me. I sometimes forget that it is a privilege to be a parent; it’s an opportunity that many in this world long for. I need to remember that children are a gift from the Lord and that he has placed my daughter into my care for a purpose. This trust in God—and the strength I receive from him—becomes the foundation that I can stand on.
Each load of laundry can be an opportunity to pause and be thankful that we have clothes to wear, appliances to use and children who are growing, learning and being creative. Those dirty dishes show that my family has been fed. Those daily tasks that can seem so meaningless are all contributing to the atmosphere of our homes and the sense of security that our children need to thrive.
Our work is slow, but significant
Parenting—raising our little people to become kind, thoughtful, responsible and functional adults—takes time. Some days I wonder if anything I am doing makes a difference as we tackle the same issues time and again. Then I see my daughter implementing a coping strategy without prompting or making my bed in the morning simply to help me, and I see a glimpse of the fruit of our efforts. The little moments matter. That conversation. That time when I let her do something even if it wasn’t the way I would do it. Letting go of an unrealistic expectation to allow her to solve the problem her way. Apologising when I have made a mistake. Putting time and effort into these little daily interactions with our kids is making a long-term investment into our world.
Our work grows us
The physical work of parenting and maintaining a home is easier to see than the deeper work that happens within ourselves. I never thought that I was an angry person until I became a mum. I hadn’t really seen the full impact of anxiety in my life. Then I started to see how my low tolerance for frustration was impacting this precious little person. I had a choice to make. It was time to do the deep work of addressing these issues in my own life so that I could be the mum I wanted to be for my daughter.
Children aren’t only a gift that we can enjoy but also a gift that invites us to grow. Children have a knack for discovering which ‘buttons’ to push to get a reaction from us. I aim to see this as an opportunity to bring my struggles to God and allow him to work within me to make me more like Christ. I am so grateful for his grace because it is usually the same things that I need his help with repeatedly. Sometimes this deep work needs the help of others too. Let’s seek help from mentors, counsellors and/or medical professionals without guilt.
How do you view your work?
Mums, we have work to do! But rather than seeing our days as a never-ending ‘to do list’, we can choose to tackle the everyday muddle with gratitude, persevere with the little, significant moments and do the deep work of personal growth with courage. And remember—we are not on our own in this journey. We have a loving God to equip us and, I pray, a supportive community to encourage us.
How are you talking to yourself about the everyday tasks you do?
What can you do this week to address those deeper heart issues?
Jodi Koepke spends her days sharing words of encouragement for women in leadership, finding her way through the beautiful mess of parenting and relationships and geeking out on technology. She is the author of Stepping Up In Leadership, a speaker and podcaster and the Managing Director for MOPS Australia. Find her at www.jokoepke.com.
Reap Journal (Adult edition)
If you’re training to be an athlete or concert pianist, you’ll no doubt have a daily workout or regime to get you to your goal. So, how do you train to be godly? By devoting yourself to the word of God and being disciplined in allocating time to its study and meditation!
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