This post is a summary from a talk I gave to a lovely group of MOPS mums back in 2011. I hope you enjoy it!
MOTHERHOOD CAN BE CONFUSING!
The early season of parenting may be one of the most confusing period a woman has to confront as she transitions from being single, independent and perhaps working, to being married, homebound and restricted, with needy, dependent child(ren)!
It is undoubtedly one of the most physically exhausting periods with broken sleep, continuous feeding/cooking, many many nappy changes and laundering requirements and constant cleaning and chauffeuring around.
The other day I counted how many different hats I wear in a day, and it must have totalled up to 199 🙂
It is also likely to be a period of time when you have to make serious adjustments about your career and how you as a couple would manage the family’s finances on a single income.
It is so easy to feel overwhelmed! The whole family well-being seems to depend on you…Think about the following:
* Nutritious meals that are constantly required, to be served in a timely manner (lest you want to face constant tantrum from both child and husband!)
* Dressing is no longer a fashion statement, but a survival necessity! When your children multiply, so will your laundry load. And very soon you realise you better get really good with home keeping and organisation if you don’t want to be buried underneath layers of continuous housework!
As a young mum, you may find your world whirling around a continuous stream of demands and see no light at the end of the tunnel. “Will this ever end? Is this what I studied so hard for?” They may all seem futile and unrewarding.
These preschool years is the most crucial period of a child’s life. It is the time when all the fundamental for a successful life is set in stone in the child’s heart, and yet, it can be the most difficult, the biggest struggle and the greatest death a woman has to face as she embraces the call to become a MUM.
THE JOURNEY OF BECOMING A MUM
There is a proverbs from the Bible that says that “by wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established…” (i’ve cherished this truth so much in my heart), “by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches” (24:3,4)
It is my heart that we walk away from this with wisdom, understanding and knowledge that equips us with making our family a real home.
No other influence can affect the life of a child quite like a loving, caring mom. She is more than a caregiver. She is a nurturer. She is heaven sent and she carries love and authority to shape the child to his or her highest potential.
Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo wrote in The Toddlerhood Transition – “…during the most impressionable period of childhood, a mom serves as the child’s principle teacher. It is from the mom that the child learns everything about himself and about life to begin to acquire what is essential for life itself. The home that has a mother preoccupied teaching her children about God and life is one that is destined to shape kingdoms.”
Yet my early days of parenting was not easy at all! Home life in those days were boring, monotonous, non stimulating, confusing, unpredictable and totally dissatisfying.
I look back now and i realise how different life is for me now. God has taken me on a maturing journey and shaped me through my home. When i think about what life for us as a family is like now, i think of the two words: enjoyable and meaningful. Enjoyable because i cherish the moment, and meaningful because i now can see the value of what I invest.
When I was unfulfilled I turn to work to fill that void. The only thing is that work and home values don’t really complement. While work allows your progress to be measured and rewarded, motherhood and homemaking seems to be one long road of continuous work, no rewards, no holidays, no bonuses, no social life, no stimulating challenges.
I suppose we run into serious problems when we try to impose the set of success values at work into the home life, because the two games require two different sets of values.
Parenting is succeeding in a different way. The skills, talents, and lifestyle that spell success in business can actually work against you in your role as a parent
Work requires you to strive for result and success, family life hones in on growth and a margin for repeated error, accidents, correction…
Work wants mobility, movement, progression whereas family life thrives on stability and a balanced pace…
Work is goal orientated attitude towards the project at hand whereas family life cultivates a love for the process and an understanding to see the journey rather than the end…
Work prizes efficiency, speed whereas homemaking means that you must have tolerance and flexibility for chaos, for interruptions and for being constantly demanded for help…
Work says I am concerned for image, kids help us to accept embarrassing moments…
(This idea is taken from a book which I think is called “Help for the Family in the Busy Lane” – not sure if this is still published).
A lot of time being at work is a lot easier than being at home. At least at work everything can be contained and we see the short term results of our efforts. But with little children, there is much fussing, spilling, pouting, correcting, instructing, teaching, protecting, forgiving, sacrificing, loving…
The truth is that building a family not easy, and that parenting is hard work. It is not supposed to be a constant thrill because we are building deep foundation with which great lives are built upon. Foundations are not made of glamorous materials, but they hold houses together. Parenting strips away my fleshy-ness forces me to build deeply – inward and upward.
Your journey may take a different spin from mine. But one thing i know, i didn’t want to be a joyless mum, a visionless homemaker or a bored and boring housewife with no prospect for growth! I refuse to be (constantly) overwhelmed, exhausted, defeated and depressed about the future. Instead, I want my homemaking years to be the most enriching time for all involved. This is a precious season of time which will never come back. I choose to see it as the best investment I am making of the best years of my life
For me to transition smoothly, I needed to know the WHY and WHAT of my parenting goals that will keep me on course and moving forward…and I realise that it comes back to finding my purpose and identity in God.
MAKE IT MEANINGFUL!
Firstly as a woman, a wife and a mom, I had to come to full realisation of what my identity is and what my calling would be through this season of time. It is from these fundamental values that every other decisions I make, from the biggest to the smallest flow from.
Secondly I had to make a series of adjustments to life and adopt a different set of values, goals and priorities if I were to make an impact on my home.
Thirdly i had to learn to put on the beautiful garment of the home making spirit and learn to have “Heaven in My Home”.
Your understanding of your role, purpose and vision will impact the kind of influence you will bear at home. Our success and identity does not come from our accolades without but from the legacy we create within.
When it comes to deciding on what to do with your preschooler children, who are mostly going to be at home with you 24/7, i realise that i had to get the above right first, for the way i am spending time with them flow out of am understanding of who i am, what i am called to do, and what my training goals should be like in this season of life.
I realise that when we as mums are healthy emotionally and spiritually, the kids will greatly benefit, they will enjoy being with us and we will enjoy being Mums!