“Savor every moment.”
“Dishes and dusting can wait.”
“Your babies grow up too fast! Enjoy every moment with them.”
“You should eliminate “hurry up” from your vocabulary and just walk with your children at their pace?”
Mamas, can I be real with you for a minute?
I love my babies. I mean it–I adore them! I can’t stand to be apart from them for very long, and I have the best time in the world when we are doing things together. It’s one of the main reasons I homeschool.
But Mamas have to get stuff done too.
Sometimes all the well-intentioned posts, articles, and advice about slowing down and savoring time with our children just adds to the Mom Guilt we all agreed we were going to stop.
Mom Guilt. It’s that nagging feeling that you’re not doing enough. Not quite good enough. Not enough…
I hope by now you recognize where that voice of Not Enough is coming from. It’s the enemy’s biggest lie. (Read this post where we talked about insecurity and “Not Enough”.)
As a mom, I know that you want to enjoy your children’s childhood. I know they are one of the most precious things in your life, and you have a huge desire to be with them. I know that you would never think that dishes or dusting (or whatever job you have to do) is more important than your child. So I say this with great love:
Ma Ingalls wasn’t Hands-Free
If you haven’t read The Little House on the Prairie series, you’ve probably seen at least a few scenes from the beloved (though less-than-accurate) Michael Landon tv series. Remember those moments of prairie life that inspired you? Laura and Mary working and playing happily and peacefully–for the most part.
At the end of the day, the family would gather in the sitting room and listen to Pa play the fiddle while the women-folk worked on their needlework. The family spent those peaceful evenings bonding before bedtime.
But during the day, Ma was getting stuff done! She was not out romping in the fields making wildflower crowns with her daughters. Did she want to? I’m sure she did! But there was food to prepare, laundry to wash, animals to tend to…houses to build (remember that one time when the log fell off the house as they were building and crushed her ankle? Ouch!).
Spending her days taking care of her family made her a great mom, not a distracted one.
June Cleaver didn’t beat herself up because she was vacuuming the rug instead of tossing the ball with Wally and the Beaver.
Claire Huxtable didn’t cook supper every night and wasn’t always there to welcome Rudy and Vanessa and the rest home from school.
Molly Weasley has magic on her side and yet she uses her spare time to fight evil rather than scrapbook her red-headed children’s baby days.
Those are fictitious examples, but let’s turn to scriptures.
Hannah sent little Samuel off to serve the Lord as soon as he was weaned. Mary was a great mom, always attentive…wait, there was that one time when Jesus was 12 and he was missing for like 24 hours before she even noticed. Excuse me Mary, what sort of mother…. (you know I’m kidding.)
How about that illusive Proverbs 31 woman? She rises early to prepare food. She provides for her household and servants. She invests. She crafts. She decorates. She works!
She isn’t watching her children every waking minute, and yet, they arise and call her blessed!
Don’t get me wrong, your children most definitely need you.
They need your care. They need your affection. They need your attention.
They need the advice of a person who loves them unconditionally and knows their personalities better than anyone else!
But maybe we take it a little too far.
Maybe they need you to wash their clothes and cook their food as much as they need you to “watch this cool trick”. Maybe they need space to perfect that cool trick before you watch!
We find balance by giving attention to the right things at the right times.
My primary mission with Martha, Martha is to find the balance between getting stuff done and focusing on the most important things in our life. Scripture says Martha was distracted with much serving. I know it can become a distraction, a burden, but that doesn’t mean we have to cease all productivity.
“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:” Ecclesiastes 3:1
There is a time for work and a time for rest. A time for cleaning and a time for reading stories. A time for cooking and a time for splashing in the bathtub.
A time for hustle and a time for stillness.
Ma Ingalls may have worked all day, but she ended the day in restful relational time with her family.
Be present in the moments!
And, when you are rocking the baby or reading to the toddler, or tossing the frisbee, alter your awareness. See yourself as they do. Lock it away in your memory.
But when the duties of homemaking call, do not be ashamed to answer them with your full attention also!
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” (Colossians 3:23)
If you work at your tasks with all your heart, and then cease from your striving, you will find the balance in your motherhood, in your life, that God intended for you. And your children will arise and call you blessed.
Tell me, do you ever feel guilty for not giving undivided attention to your children?
A little disclaimer: the term hands-free was coined by a wonderful writer who wanted to focus more on the most important things in her life while giving less focus to the day-to-day tasks and demands of modern life. I wholeheartedly agree with that notion! It’s the primary idea behind Martha, Martha. Others have used that notion to imply that giving any attention to our tasks and demands somehow deprives our children of a good mother. That is the idea I hope to dispell.