Recently, I received a letter in the mail from a friend at church. She has raised three Christian children (one who has since passed away) and is now a grandmother. Her letter was one of encouragement and appreciation as my husband and I strive to raise our children in the Lord. Tears filled my eyes as I read her letter. Here was an older Christian woman whom I admire and deeply respect sharing with me her own doubts as a young mother raising small children very close in age, the very same doubts I experience daily:
Am I spending enough time with my children?
Am I letting housework and chores take away from enjoying them?
Do I give enough attention to each child’s individual needs?
What will they remember when they are grown: A mother who rarely had time to sit down and play, or one who read books to them and showered them with love? A mother who was a strict disciplinarian, or one who showed them grace and mercy?
Will they know how much I truly love them?
My friend said that her now grown children laugh when she relates to them those worries she once had because their memories are only of the times they shared together, including the spankings! Never did they feel left out or neglected. But as a young mom pulled in multiple directions, feelings of inadequacy and guilt were common, just as they are today for many mothers, including myself.
As mothers we have a hefty but beautiful responsibility of caring for and nurturing our children. But, as much as we might like to, we can’t spend all day playing, reading to, and showering attention on our children. There’s also a husband who needs our attention, a house in need of cleaning, bills to be paid, meals to be prepared, and other miscellaneous tasks that come up on a daily basis. However, we have to find a good balance that works for us.
Mothering is a job that rarely receives commendation. Very rarely do I feel competent in the job I’m doing as a mother: I’m always second-guessing the choices I make. Even more rarely do people–besides my kind husband–praise me for my efforts. Why is that, I wonder? Sometimes all we mothers need is a word of encouragement and praise. To know that our efforts are not in vain; to feel justified that the blood, sweat, and tears is not for naught; to stop doubting ourselves, if only but for a minute or two.
Do you know a mother who could use a kind word today? Send her a card, or give her a call. Let her know that you see the good she’s doing in her children’s lives, and encourage her to keep up the good work.
“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.”
I Thessalonians 5:11
Praying God’s richest blessings on you and your family this Christmas season!
God bless you,