Today, I lost my temper with my children. There were a few things I wanted to accomplish by the end of the day, but our children seemed intent on derailing me from checking those things off my list. I didn’t ask much: I wanted to prepare some pears for the dehydrator, iron some shirts, edit an article, and check in with a friend who recently had a baby. But the toddler was whiney and needed extra attention, our ballerina girl needed ribbons re-tied on her ballet shoes, our all-boy son walloped his head in an athletic adventure, and our sensitive eight-year old had pressing questions about friendship.
Instead of completing my to-do list, I played dolls with the toddler, re-tied ribbons on ballet shoes, dug out an ice-pack from the freezer, and heated the tea kettle for a heart-to-heart talk with our daughter.
I believe each of these things is valuable, but as a Type-A Mom, I must admit that it’s hard to to get to the end of the day and with an unchecked to-do list. When the day ticked by and the pears and shirts were still in their piles, I felt irritated, frazzled, and unsuccessful. I snapped at the children who detained me all day.
Sometimes I wonder, “What if I got to the end of my day and felt like I accomplished something? What if I didn’t feel like I had been derailed all day long?
What if I knew for a fact that my time and energy went toward something constructive?”
I know I would feel good about the day if I could just accomplish the work I was supposed to do.
Do you ever feel the same way?
The truth is, this feeling of accomplishment is within our reach; it’s just a matter of thinking correctly about our work.
Many of us wrongly believe that our real work is everything-except-mothering. We expect ourselves to accomplish motherhood work as a given. Then, we pile our to-do list of “real” work on top of that. No wonder so many of us feel discouraged, worthless, discontent, and overwhelmed regarding the daily grind of motherhood.
Imagine if you and I awoke each day admitting that our real work is mothering, and that our “to-do list” contains whatever need arises from moment to moment.
If I, for one, began my day with this in mind, I wouldn’t be so inconvenienced by my children’s needs, childishness, and idiosyncrasies. Instead, I’d realize that all of these “distractions” are important aspects of my job. Responding with grace to my child’s needs is the very essence of a lovely, worthwhile motherhood.
Motherhood costs a great deal of energy, attention, and thought. When we become more honest about motherhood’s hard work, we can intentionally surrender to the cost of love.
What if we began each day anticipating all of the hard work?
What if we ended each day grateful for the work God provided for us?
We might just discover a deeper level of affection for the glorious gift of motherhood.
Choosing to think more accurately about our calling – one morning at a time – will change everything about how we evaluate our day. Consider this:
there will be injuries I must soothe,
there will be arguments that I must moderate,
there will be something broken that I must fix,
and something lost that I must find.
There will be frequent hunger pangs that I must satisfy,
and thirst that I must quench.
There will be spills that I must clean up, bottoms that I must wipe, accidents that I must change, and illnesses that I must treat.
Today, there will be offenses I must forgive,
forgetfulness I must overlook,
and hundreds of questions that I must answer.
There will be boundaries that only I can uphold
and schedules that only I care to keep.
There will be disorder that I must pull together,
dismay that I must comfort,
and disrespect that I must address.
people will yell for help passionately – urgently – demanding my presence. I must run to the rescue. Sometimes, I’ll discover a legitimate emergency, but most of the time, it will be the smallest complaint that will melt with a kiss.
there will be someone to carry,
someone to dress,
someone to help up,
and someone to hold up.
There will be someone to teach,
someone to inspire,
and someone to appreciate.
Today, there will be someone asleep whom I must wake up,
and there will be someone awake, whom I must help sleep.
There will be injustices I must make right,
meanness I must restrain,
kindness I must encourage,
memories I must treasure,
and goodness I must celebrate.
Today, there will be wrongs to confess, sinners to love, a Savior to worship, and grace to receive.
Today, my work as a mother strangely and beautifully resembles God’s work as our Heavenly Father.
Today, my occupation is His occupation; my service, His own.
And today, if this is all I accomplish, I must fall asleep feeling quite satisfied indeed.
Today, I can do these anticipated tasks with joy and gratitude, because God Himself wakes me up in the morning, feeds me with the Living Bread, gives me good work to do, soothes my weary heart, and runs to my rescue whenever I call for help.”
Dear mothers, the work awaiting you each day is good and noble – though it may be unplanned, mundane, or repetitive. Recall its value in God’s eyes. Give yourself completely to loving God and your little neighbors, even if it requires all of your mental, emotional, and physical strength. Pray for grace to respond with kindness and strength.
Today… what wonderful work.
(P.S. For you: a free printable designed with love by Amy Munn.)