The Noble Task of Motherhood
Back in my teens, my high school stopped offering home economy classes. No one wanted to take them. Why? Most young women believed home ec was for unambitious girls who didn’t plan on getting an education and going somewhere in life.
Society had denigrated the noble task of motherhood to something women only focused on if they failed elsewhere. In fact, many were rejecting the idea of motherhood as important at all.
Social ideals ebb and flow. Thankfully, not everyone believes this lie about motherhood being for the simple, the unambitious, the uneducated, but do we reflect enough on the noble calling of motherhood?
When asked to give our job description, moms should include, “I’m dedicating my life to raising up the next generation.”
Motherhood is about mentoring our children. Motherhood is a missionary field, a place of teaching and imparting wisdom. It is about being one of the first pictures of God’s love in a child’s life. It is one of the highest callings in life.
But … what about the other tasks of motherhood? Carpooling, endless meals, never-ending laundry piles, homework, and other to-dos? Are these tasks any less noble because they seem ordinary?
When a mom friend recently lamented she never accomplished anything, I asked her to name off what she did in a typical day. It took her a long time to list everything, and most of it was for her children.
“Imagine,” I said, “what would happen if you went on strike.”
“They’d starve, maybe become savages.”
While we both laughed, the point was clear. Her tasks didn’t seem lofty in the eyes of the world but they were vital to her kids’ (and husband’s) success. No, she hasn’t been paid for her mom tasks, nor has she received glowing accolades from the world, but she is irreplaceable. She is a picture of servant leadership, the kind Jesus modeled when he washed his disciples’ feet. She is a tangible picture of love.
Sometimes the noble but everyday tasks of motherhood are downgraded into the “I did nothing” category.
But motherhood–in all it asks of us–is a noble calling full of self-sacrifice and love. It is often full of doing little things that lack glamour and take lots of time, but those tasks make the world go around for countless others.
All too often I find myself tempted to think I’ve done nothing when I don’t have anything tangible to show for my labors. But having lunch with my husband, mom, or daughter, folding clothes, carpooling, packing lunches, sitting with sick kids, cooking dinner–all of these are noble tasks! Some of them are doing, but they also involve being–being there for others. Being with others. Being the arms and hands and face of God’s love to others.
In Be The Mom, Tracey Eyster urges us to remember the importance of being, not only doing. Some of the tasks I mentioned above are doing, true, but when kept in their proper perspective they are necessary for living. And many of our mothering tasks often have an element of being. A mom could fill her life with other, more glamorous “me-oriented” tasks, but it is a wise mother who knows her limits and leaves room around the edges of her life to be with her family.
Motherhood may sometimes feel ordinary, as though the little things don’t matter, but it is a noble, beautiful task, perhaps the greatest task to which most of us will be called.
Take a MOMent to write your “To Be” list for the week. Print out this list and write down your most important “To Be” MOMents to make time for this week. Then post it somewhere you’ll see it often to remind yourself you are a human BEing and not a human DOing.