At Home And Loving It

IMG_5674As full-time stay-at-home mothers, we don’t have the most glamorous careers. It’s behind the scenes, mundane, and sometimes hard to enjoy. A book I was reading had an example of how hard it was to be a stay-at-home mother: “It’s so boring!” the woman said. Boring? Tiring, I get. Frustrating, challenging, occasionally menial and repetitive, but boring? If you’re a stay-at-home mother and find yourself bored, invite your pastor’s family over for a 5 course dinner on Saturday. It will make Thursday and Friday interesting. If chronic boredom is a struggle, start a business, buy a puppy, or begin homeschooling.

But boredom isn’t what most stay-at-home moms struggle with. Continue reading

A Mother’s Work

Ernst_Lindenbauer,_1936 Wanting to be a horse was probably a mommy low point. Not just any horse, mind you. One of my kids was studying the Lipizzaners in Vienna’s Spanish Riding School; as I helped with some research, I found myself envying the horses. Not only do they live in a historic building in a European capital, but they also do nothing beyond go for long walks and occasionally jump to live orchestral music. They are taken care of. Totally. “I could live off of apples and oats,” I told myself. When my husband came home from work, I announced my new career plan. The pressure of constantly caring for everyone else’s needs made me lose focus.

Mothers need breaks now and then. But even more than that, we need perspective. And that’s easy to lose when the dishes are piled up and the baby won’t stop crying and the toddler refuses to be toilet trained. Continue reading

Minding Our Own Reproductive Business

9 monthsA couple weeks ago I talked with some young mothers about inappropriate questions that they have had to answer. I’ve had the same questions, and though answering them has not caused me any grief, they easily could have. Questions like, “Are you pregnant?” “Do you guys have a hard time getting pregnant?” “How many kids do you want?” “Is this one a surprise?” “Why don’t you guys have (more) kids?” These questions are different than learning how to think through an issue like family planning by asking someone for their thoughts. Genuine learning questions are in a separate category.

But inquiring into very personal matters out of curiosity, a desire to know, an inability to make conversation on other topics, or as a misapplied expression of care, is a bad idea. Such questions, and any like them, are ones that only very close family and friends should ask, and even then with caution, forethought, and not in the church foyer. If you are not a very close family member or friend, it’s a good idea to stay away from this topic. Why? Because: Continue reading

Evangelical Yummy Mummies

So, reading the Telegraph’s article on Cherie Blair’s speech, as well as Life Site News’ reporting on the same talk, I couldn’t help thinking that one of us – me or Mrs Blair – is living in a bubble. Am I so isolated that I’m not aware of the gaggles of adults, raised by stay-at-home mothers, who are aimlessly wandering the streets, trying to carve out lives for themselves with no preparation, education, or motivation? Am I completely blind to the “danger” of “being the best possible mother” by “putting all effort into [the] children”? It’s possible. After all, I don’t move in circles inhabited by adults like Bertie Wooster or Madeline Bassett. It must be scary. Dangerous, even. Continue reading

What My Mother Did (5/5)

The fifth major thing I want to imitate in my mother’s parenting is her praying. She knew that all the wonderful things she did could not save us, so she was frequently before the throne of grace asking for God’s blessing on her use of means for our salvation.

I think she prayed for us more than she disciplined us (something we frequently needed). One afternoon, we were all out on the porch, bickering and fighting about something petty. Suddenly, Mum was there, looking not very happy with all of us, and we fell silent. Continue reading

Mothers & Daughters

About ten years ago, Carloyn Mahaney and her three adult daughters gave a set of talks on the mother-daughter relationship. The three sessions (one for mothers, the other for daughters, one Q&A) are well worth listening to if you are a mother, daughter, or husband and father. The only caveat I have is that Carolyn Mahaney states repeatedly that the goal of mothering is the children’s salvation. This would mean that a godly mother who has unbelieving children has not reached her goal. Continue reading

What My Mother Did (4/5)

The fourth major thing that I want to imitate in my mother’s example is selflessness. Dying to self is something which she exemplified with small children, then with a house full of teenagers, now with grandchildren, and always with a busy husband.

Growing up, this seemed so normal that I did not even think about it. But living away from home and having my own family has made me realize how much my mother prioritized the needs of others around her, putting her own last. Continue reading

What My Mother Did (3/5)

The third main thing I’m thankful for in my mother’s example is her attitude to stuff – money, clothes, things. Her two-fold approach to material stuff had powerful spiritual consequences.

My mother took care of the things God had given her, and taught us to do the same. She used money frugally. She cleaned the house. She washed our clothes (especially working on all the grass and mud stains). She dusted picture frames, polished stuff, and generally took very good care of everything. She taught us that since God had given us this stuff, we needed to not only take care of it and make it last, but also use it in ways that blessed others. Continue reading