A Mother’s Heart

“Is life passing you by while you shampoo the peanut butter out of Junior’s hair, then change the baby’s diaper again? Does your mothering seem uninteresting, insignificant, even slightly demeaning? Do you feel that your talents and gifts are lying dormant and that your degrees are wasted? Do you feel as though you are in a holding pattern, waiting for your children to leave home or to start school, so you can resume real life?”
Uhh….yes! At least, sometimes. Or at least I used to. There are so many kind of cliche excuses that women bring up to make their time at home seem worth it. “I’m not just a stay at home mom, I’m a chauffer, cook, babysitter, maid, counselor, etc, etc.” Of course, most mothers do this kind of stuff. It is a perfectly legitimate way to show that your time is valuable and has meaning. You can even go further into the abstract and say you give your child so many intangible things, like a secure home, a strong parental connection, expanding their mind through your own education…but even that can seem kind of…meaningless? Cliche?
There are times when I crave something REAL. Some way that I can KNOW what I’m doing is important. But even in the work world there are rarely times when you see clearly that what you do has purpose. So what is the answer? As always, the answer is God. There is a certain way in which humans do and always have given themselves to one another. A way that doesn’t show up in one persons life or lifetime, but our lives as a whole, our lifetimes lined up into a history. God has made this clear what he says in Deuteronomy: “Do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live.Teach them to your children and to their children after them…so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life…These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
This is why I love history, nostalgia, memories piled into books, feelings poured into songs. Romance. It allows us to see ourselves clearly because without acknowledging our relativity to others our lives do become meaningless. Without communicating in what others have done, without taking pleasure in the same things, without doing the same things, our lives float around without any point by which to say “there, there I am in my life, and there are those who have influences me and here are those who will feel my memory and communicate me through words and art and actions and music after I’ve gone.” Our lives are so intangible that it is only through what God has given us, this amazing command to share, to teach, to impart wisdom, especially wisdom of him, that our lives have any relative meaning at all. 
So to all mothers out there I would say your time spent all day is not meaningless at all, and not just because you are caring for someone, but because you are caring for them as God cares for them. You are educating them as God educates them. You are loving them as God loves them. You are the first true example children have of what God is, and through him, through all Christians, through tradition, you are passing the pail with the water of salvation down the long line of history. 
“We fail to hear God’s call and miss the broad scope of possibilities before us. We focus instead on the routine activities and demands- changing diapers, potty training, cleaning up messes, telling kids for the fifth time not to slam the door- and miss any sense of a higher calling. Mothers, look up and look ahead!”
-A Mother’s Heart, Jean Fleming

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