Being a mother is hard work. Yes, I mean the cooking, cleaning, clothes washing, canning, gardening, keeping up with appointments, planning fun events, baking cookies, telling your children to “brush your teeth” ten billion times and staying up late when a child is sick in a nasty way. Those are all hard work. Mom did that work for four children, including children who spanned a significant difference in years and personalities. But there is an element of non-physical but heart-and-mind-numbing exhausting work that requires strength, patience, God’s wisdom, careful words, discipline and persistence that is tough to measure.
Children can fight each other. I fought with my brothers. Mom, even though I wasn’t thinking about it at the time, helped her children learn the skills of listening, negotiation, compromise and problem-solving. Many children don’t pick up their toys or clean their rooms. This requires training, creativity, persistence and clever motivational award systems. What motivates one child may not motivate the others. Mom knew that taking a possession away from me was a powerful motivator. If I didn’t pick it up, she did. I could earn it back. That is a lesson well learned.
Mom was the go-to person when life was crumbling, “unfair”, cruel or just plain heart-breaking. When a child’s heart is broken, mom’s heart is broken. Mom had to comfort and advise. She had to help us see there is forgiveness and hope for the future. Dad cared, but Mom was the primary mediator, counselor, encourager and comforter. There was always hope because of Jesus.
Children are not naturally prone to be good stewards. Mom taught me by example to be a wise shopper and look for ways to save dollars. Of course, sometimes that was just necessary to make the dollars stretch until Dad’s next paycheck. That took time. I watched her clip and sort coupons so that we could see her working to be a wise steward. She sewed our clothing including countless shirts for me. She mended my socks if I didn’t outgrow them before the holes developed. These all saved pennies so that she could then use the money to take us to the zoo or buy us gifts and decorate for the birthday parties she hosted for our birthdays. With four children that meant about seventy parties, seventy cakes and untold numbers of gifts choose specifically for each child with love.
All those things are good and required time and energies including physical, emotional and intellectual strength. But one thing she did required work both in teaching and by example: She lived the gospel in ways only her children saw. She took the time to sit down with us and teach us truth from God’s Word. It was almost like being home schooled in the scriptures, even though we attended the public schools. She kept her own soul diligently (read her Bible and prayed) and made them known to her children.
“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children – how on the day that you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, the Lord said to me, ‘Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children so.’” Deuteronomy 4:9-10 (ESV)
Well done moms! Motherhood is not a hobby. It is hard work. The following article might help you. I like what the author said: “Live the gospel in the things that no one sees. Sacrifice for your children in places that only they will know about. Put their value ahead of yours. Grow them up in the clean air of gospel living. Your testimony to the gospel in the little details of your life is more valuable to them than you can imagine. If you tell them the gospel, but live to yourself, they will never believe it. Give your life for theirs every day, joyfully. Lay down pettiness. Lay down fussiness. Lay down resentment about the dishes, about the laundry, about how no one knows how hard you work.”