I want to share some thoughts about one of motherhood’s most mysterious blessings. It’s this: as a mother seeks to build a home that is good for her children – one that inspires their happiness and holiness – she simultaneously builds a home that is good for her.
Over the past 12 years, I’ve been working hard to understand child development: my desire is to bring lifestyles and experiences into our home that will help our children to thrive. I’ve discovered that my studies and hard work are actually helping me to understand human development in general, including my own.
I’ve noticed something: motherhood is good for women because that which is good for children is good for women.
Every time a mother leads her child to fresh air, she gets to throw her head back and breathe in deeply, too.
Children and mothers (Ryan chimes in, “Fathers, too!”), we all thrive in the same atmosphere. Our souls breathe the same air and our minds are nurtured on the same sustenance. Maybe that’s why I’ve discovered that it is literally good for me to be around my children, to be living like they live, every day.
At the risk of sounding too dreamy, I believe that motherhood can enrich, strengthen, and stimulate women every day. This is a gift from God.
I’m just one woman sharing how this is true in my life, hoping that it inspires you to look for ways that motherhood is good for you, too.
What’s good for my children, is good for me…
In the morning, I lead our children in prayer to our Heavenly Father as the sun highlights the sky above the pond. Then we listen to His Word as we eat a hot breakfast together, slowly, regularly. We talk about Jesus, ask questions about Jesus, and offer answers about Jesus, sharing one-by-one as final spoonfuls are savored and dishes are washed.
I keep this morning ritual for their sweet hearts, but I find my own awaking.
When I push back the curtains and push open the windows to bring fresh air into their growing lungs, I am bringing fresh air into my own lungs. I hustle them out the door with shoes on feet and hats pulled over their little heads. We step outside and I look for the horizon, my eyes take in the beauty of the earth and the glories of the skies. I think about our Creator. I get the kids walking to stretch their legs, maybe we sing a favorite song as we go.
Fifteen minutes later, we return home and I feel my own blood pumping.
I gather the children around the piano because I want to fill their hearts with beautiful songs. One of the kids usually plays a drum, another may play the violin, and, oh, what to do about the harmonica player… 🙂 What’s left of our little choir sings:
“My worth is not in what I own,
not in the strength of flesh and bone,
but in the costly wounds of love,
at the Cross.”
As we sing, I hold little Audrey on my lap, her hair tickling my cheek, and I remember and “rejoice in my Redeemer, greatest treasure, well-spring of my heart”.
F0r 10 minutes we work on memorizing poetry and Scripture, to build their minds; I find that I am building my own mind. During this daily habit, I am developing a stronger memory than I’ve ever had in my life, not to mention building a store of beneficial material to rehearse throughout the day.
Sometimes we look at beautiful artwork or nature together. Sometimes we make art together. I pull down my own sketch book from the shelf and become better at sketching than ever before in my life. Other times I gather some props and teach a life-lesson – about kindness or courage or sharing – and I listen to myself as I teach the children. I’m forever thinking, “Oh how I needed this lesson today.”
Throughout the day, I read aloud enriching literature to help the children understand history, science, and humanity – and I become more well-read than ever before in my life. My Master’s Degree in English Literature doesn’t compare to my education over the past 11 years of homeschooling. I’ve read widely and deeply across the disciplines.
I understand and appreciate literature, science, and history infinitely better than ever before.
I work hard to provide life-giving food for the children – blueberries, cantaloupe, oatmeal, almonds, eggs – and find that I feel healthier when I eat well, too. We sit down together when we eat (most of the time), we talk together, and build our relationships.
This is good for me, through and through.
In the afternoons, we enjoy a quiet hour so the children can read — each one in his or her special spot with a book in hand. I brew some tea and invest that hour in writing and reading, two of my loves.
My work during that hour is deeply satisfying. The peace and quiet restores each of us.
We serve others and pursue people in need. I want my children to love other people well and to learn that the secret of life is imitating our humble Lord. As we serve, my own heart is softened and matured. My guard goes down.
I find my dependence on God’s grace.
I plan playdates for the kids’ enjoyment, wanting them to build good friendships and to have fun. But, I find that greeting the other children and enjoying fellowship with other mothers builds me up just as much. While the kids play, I get to chat, to listen, to laugh, and to share.
It’s a delight to my soul.
I look for little adventures that will broaden our children’s horizons and capture their imaginations, beckoning them to be discovers, wonderers, leaders, heroes, and God-worshipers. Wherever we go and whatever we see, thrills and inspires me.
I am stretched and I become more courageous.
What a blessing it is to be a mother!
When we work hard to bring light, air, beauty, truth, goodness, exercise, music, literature, adventure, traditions, celebration, service, fun and friendship into our children’s lives, we bring them into our own lives.
So, jump right in! Walk along beside! And snuggle into a world of wonderful things that psychologists and experts will always say are good for the human being.
Motherhood is a gift from God – a gift to children, and a gift to women. (“And to men!” Ryan adds.)