“Just a Mom.” A terrible expression really. Where on earth did society get the idea that being a mother is a “lesser” occupation? It most definitely is not! Take a look at the following scenario and see if you can relate:
You are standing in the grocery checkout line with your kids, two eyeing the impulse candy and a one year old master escape artist who can’t be contained by the pathetic seat-belt on the cart. You are doing your best to keep her from plummeting to an untimely death by skull fracture whilst fumbling for coupons and keeping an eye on the other kids, whose eyes have become glazed over in the gleam of shiny, tempting, forbidden candy wrappers.
And suddenly, there she is. She is dressed in 4″ heels, and an expensive outfit. Her hair is perfect, and her makeup is flawless. It takes a second, but then you recognize each other. With a toss of her hair and a superior air she says, “Oh hello! It’s been ages since we’ve talked! Why yes, I’m the vice president of Exquisite for the board of Fabulous over at Company Blah Blah Blah. Aren’t you more impressed than words can say? What are you doing these days?”
As you try to find your voice, you realize there are boogers on your sweater and ketchup on your sleeve. You reach a shaking hand up to smooth your hair, and find the gum that your son lost earlier snuggled next to your ear. Then as your self respect dries up and blows away in the wind created by her tossing hair, you manage a barely audible whisper, “Oh… I’m just a mom…”
STOP right there. Never say “Just a mom!” More importantly, never believe that you are “Just a mom!”
Don’t believe for one second that there is any work or title more important than the one of “Mom.” Because there isn’t! The fact is, raising children, the next generation of human life, is THE JOB. Every other career on the face of the earth exists to support the career of raising the next generation.
Think about that for a minute. The agricultural and/or food industry exists to support the feeding of children and the adults they will become. The medical profession exists to support the health of children and the adults they will become. In the same way, every product that is manufactured for buildings, home, automobiles is ultimately for the use of families and raising up the next generation. (Not saying they all get it right, but that’s why they exist!) Every respectable profession on the planet exists to support the work of raising up another generation. Raising up the next generation is THE GREAT WORK.
Even for mothers with outside careers, that they have no doubt worked very hard to achieve, nothing is more important than the work of raising children! (Let me interject here, I have no disrespect for working mothers. I was raised by one, who sacrificed much to provide and care for my brothers and I. However, I know, for a fact, she believes her title of mom trumps everything else!)
Here’s why your attitude about the job of “mom” is important: The way you view your job is the way you will execute your job. If you believe that your job is merely wiping behinds, cleaning up messes, and washing dishes, you burn out quickly. (Read Self Care for Overwhelmed Moms and Why It’s So Important.) In contrast, when you understand that you are literally shaping, molding, and equipping the next generation of human life on this planet, your job becomes much more than cleanup duty. Your job becomes focused and purpose driven.
What You are NOT
There are plenty of misconceptions about what a mom is. Here, mama, is what you are NOT:
- The hired help. Or more accurately, slave labor. Yes, there is a great deal of work involved with motherhood. There is. Bottoms and noses and faces need wiped. Endless dishes and laundry wait to be washed, and toilets etc. to be scrubbed. But the work you do is a service of love, it’s not slavery. And it does not make you “less than.” Please don’t ever let your children treat you like their slave. (By the way, check out Raising Responsible Kids Who Know How to Work.)
- A woman who isn’t smart enough for a “real” job. I’m not stupid. And neither are you. In fact, I’m smart enough to know that the work I am doing is the most important work there is. I choose to do it. And I choose to do it to the very best of my God-given abilities while employing my God-given intelligence to find solutions to the challenges along the way.
- Too lazy to “work.” Motherhood is not for the lazy. And yes, we all have lazy moods sometimes, but motherhood is work, physically, emotionally, and spiritually! And it’s 24 hours a day, not 9 to 5! Lord, help the husband who tells his wife, “I’ve been working all day…” with an insinuation that she has not. That’s a dangerous statement to make.
- A person who isn’t contributing to society. I am contributing to society. I am contributing by raising human beings who are decent, hardworking, empathetic individuals who will not clog up the prison system or make awful employees or leave their children fatherless or lie their way through the political system. God so help me.
- A doormat for hubby or kids. Knowing that you are not a doormat is step number one. Informing your family that you are not a doormat is step number two. Hopefully, they already treat you according to your high calling and position. But if they do not, know this: What you allow to continue will continue. And nothing ever changes, unless something changes.
- The sofa and soap opera queen. I have known few women who actually fit this hugely unfair stereotype. Once again, motherhood is work. (To any mom who is parking on the couch for several hours a day, I would say, “Get up, woman. You have better things to do. Important, life giving, powerful things to do.”)
- A “mooch” who is living off husband’s income. Don’t even go there. Just don’t. (Yes, someone actually said that to me once. My husband was standing right there and quickly corrected said ignoramus. ) A father/husband has a God-given responsibility to provide for his family. Furthermore, if you have a few small children, the cost of childcare will eat up every dollar you earn anyway. In which case, you go to work to pay for childcare, so you can go to work and pay for childcare. That’s not a typo, that’s a vicious cycle.
The High Calling of Motherhood
We have covered what moms are not, now let’s talk about what mothers ARE!
First, you are a woman.
And a woman is a beautiful thing to be. Woman is the crown of God’s creation. Eve was the very last creation of God on the 6th day. When He was finished, He looked around with satisfaction and declared all His creation to be “very good.” (It took me years to understand this. I hope you are smarter.)
You are a giver of life.
You are created with the supernatural power to bring a living, breathing, eternal soul into the world. It’s a miracle that is too often lost on us.
You are a nourisher.
You have the awesome responsibility of feeding your children from birth to adulthood. The breast milk you produce, and the meals you will prepare fuel your children’s bodies, brain development, growth, and life itself.
But you nourish more than that. You nourish their minds, hearts, and souls. There was an experiment performed in the 13th century by a Roman emperor, who wanted to know what language children would naturally speak when their voices matured. A group of infants were kept in a room, where they were fed and bathed by nurses. The nurses were forbidden to speak or gesture to the babies, or provide any affection. Even though their supposed physical needs were met, all of the babies died before reaching the age of two for lack of a nourishing human connection.
Human babies and children need touch, interaction, and communication to live. And they need love and affection to thrive. The time you spend talking to, holding, and cuddling your children nourishes them. It isn’t “extra,” it’s essential. It is the building block of their hearts and minds.
You Are The Voice They Hear
The way you speak to your children day in and day out becomes the voice they hear inside their heads. (Yes, mama, I know you sometimes say things to them that you later regret. So do I. Make it right, and keep walkin’. Read The Powerful Truth about Mom Guilt.) Children are very impressionable at a young age. They will believe what you tell them and what you show them. Consequently, a child feels valuable when he is told and shown that he is valued. Likewise, when a child is told he is stupid, he believes he is stupid.
You, as the mother, have more opportunity than anyone else to nourish your child’s heart, mind, and soul day by day, week by week, year by year. When he leaves the fortress of your home, there will be many who try to tear him down. But you have a fleeting window of time to give him a firm foundation of humble worth, that the tidal wives of life may not easily wash away.
You are teacher.
You teach your child to talk, to tie their shoes, to ride a bike. As they grow, you teach them life skills. When you approach motherhood purposefully, the words you speak and the example you live teach responsibility, kindness, empathy, service, and so much more. Every single day is an opportunity to teach. Nobody else has the incredible influence that you have!
You are a world view shaper.
Everyday, you mold and shape the person your child will become. Your child will have free will and her own mind. But you are the first eyeglass through which she views the world. The responsibility of pointing her to the origin of life, and teaching her the meaning of life has been given to you. (By the way, if you are still searching for the meaning of life yourself, the answer is in Genesis 1:1, John 3:16, and Ecclesiastes 12:13.)
You are a safe place to fall.
I have very high expectations of my children. I expect much, because if I do, they will reach much. But along this journey of reaching expectations, they will fall down. Many times. I serve a God who is a safe place to fall. I am so thankful that He is not standing over me with a stick to swat me every time I fail. My heart’s desire is to follow His example, and be a safe place for my children to fall. By this I mean, I want my kids to know that making mistakes is a part of being human. I want them to know that they will mess up again and again. But what they do next, how they get up again, is more important. A mom who will always love them no matter how they fail, is a safe place to fall.
You are a launching pad.
This one is hard. The thing is, mama, your children are not given to you for your own enjoyment only, to be kept right beside you forever. Your children are given to you to raise up and send out like a beacon of light into a dark world. You have 18 years of moments, give or take, to pour in and refine all the wisdom, love and knowledge that you can.
And then they launch. Shot forth like an arrow from the bow you hold, aiming for the target to which God directs them. He has a divine purpose and a call for their lives. He did not create them to be just a jewel in your crown, but to send them forth to make a difference for His glory. Just like you are. Because of the imperfect and beautiful job you do, they can leave boldly and carry out the purpose for which they were created within you.
Your worth is far above rubies.
God sees every drink of water you give, every tear you wipe away, every ouchie you kiss, every diaper you change, and every moment of doubt and fear. He holds it all in His hands, and makes every bit beautiful in His perfect plan. You can do this, mama! Even with boogers and ketchup on your sweater. You were made for this!
Do you struggle with your worth as a mother? Or do you have some great advice for the rest of us? Comment Below! And subscribe to Made to Be Mom! Hugs, mama!
Kristi Long says
I am a stay at home homeschooling mother of soon to be 9. Very encouraging! I left my career 14 years ago to raise my baby. 8 more babies later, I’m glad to be in the important job of MOM.
Nine, awesome! Congratulations, Kristi! You are doing great things!