Do you ever want to give your younger self a good slap? I do. Often. But in particular, in the area of homemaking, I had it so wrong. I’m downright ashamed now.
Yes, someone else can make the beds and mop the floors, and for many of us, the people who do this are essential and they’re extremely grateful for the work. But there’s more to homemaking than just cleaning, right? God’s changing my heart on this. Especially overseas, making a space that feels comfortable and feels like home is a full-time job.
Did you catch that? It’s a full-time job. And if you can work outside the home and do two full-time jobs, I applaud you. But I can’t. And I remember the first time I judged a missionary mama who told me she was a homemaker. Man, I judged her so hard I’m amazed she didn’t fly across the room. What a waste; doesn’t she have house helpers?
Like I said, Former Me needed a good slap.
Nobody’s going to love this family like I do. Nobody’s going to drive all over town looking for backpacks for the first day of preschool or leave love notes on his keyboard. Nobody’s going to make pizza I can’t eat every Friday. Nobody else knows their great hates and secret loves and how to bless them in deeply authentic ways like you do, mama. No babysitter, no dishwasher, no chauffeur replaces your care and your influence, the calming effect your very presence can have. (Kids, keep it down, I’m trying to have a calming influence over here.)
Do not undervalue what you do.
But I get it: this is a hard job. Little children are especially tiring, and lots of days, I’m pretty sure I’m screwing them up so bad they won’t come to visit me in the missionary retirement home when I’m old and shriveled. Because they can’t. Because they haven’t gotten time off for good behavior.
This is when you need a mantra. A catchphrase. An anthem, if you will. Weed out any lies that are playing on repeat and replace it with something true. For a while, mine was “God knows what I am.” God knows what I am, and he still gave me these kids, this husband, this life. He still loves me. He still blesses me. He doesn’t condemn me.
And as goofy as it sounds, I have a playlist for days when I just can’t mother anyone without some stiff encouragement. (Coffee doesn’t do it for me.) So I’m sharing it with you. They’re not particularly special, but they help me get my warm fuzzy feelings back about my family. Except the first one. The first one is just for dancing. (Also, I didn’t watch the videos, I just know the songs. But how weird could they be, right? ….right? You were warned.)
One of my coworkers poured out her heart on her blog this week about this same topic, and I love the conclusion she’s coming to: “After two years of striving and pushing, I’ve come to a place of growth in my journey where I no longer want to strive to prove something; I simply want to be at rest as the woman God made me. I’m choosing to be Mary at rest at our Lord’s feet instead of Martha striving her hardest to win approval unsuccessfully. Later, if God makes it possible to start this ministry outside of me striving to get it done, then to Him be the glory; for now, I am going to rest at His feet and do the most important ministry He has already given me – our home and family.”
Bravo, mama. I’m right behind you.