Hey! Remember me? Well I got a bee in my bonnet the other day and actually wrote a blog post!
There was an article circulating on Facebook over the last couple of weeks and I may have even “liked” it as it was posted on someone’s feed. However, as I read it more carefully, as I would before I would share it myself, I was struck with its premise: Housework is meaningless and not nearly as purposeful as fun stuff. You can read the whole article here:
“Sometimes I can either do the dishes, or teach or son how to ride a bike, or our daughter to walk. I’d rather do those things, frankly. I’d rather not be that mom who ignores our kids, and myself, because I’m so busy worrying about what the neighbors might think of our messy house.”
Sounds noble and I’ve taken up that sentiment before … and will likely do it again. There is certainly a time to put aside the mundane order & responsbility of life in order to live in the moment, create memories and connect with our family! The problem arises when we choose frivolity and fun as the priority rather than the gift and blessing they should be.
I submit that one of the many reasons that motherhood as a vocation receives such little nobility is this notion that it should look like Mary Poppins with a permanent IV hooked up to Pinterest. Not a care in the world regarding mealtimes, bedtimes or sanity. Not only is this notion unreasonable & irresponsible … it’s dangerous. At the end of the day what does the world see that an accomplished mother does? More importantly what do our children see?
There is a fine line between making memories & modeling motherhood. Is it really a fair reflection of the calling if they never see the responsibility and hard work that comes with keeping a home, caring for your husband, your finances, & your children? If they went to work with their daddy would he tell them that his job is all games, all day, all fun? Would he tell them “work can wait until you’re older?”
I don’t think so or at least not our daddy. He would probably strike a balance and share with them the importance of hard work and also enjoying his job, and that there can be joy in both. Setting up our children with the expectation for daily FUN, with mom delivering the goods, is a treacherous climb up a cliff to nowhere.
When my sister-mother-counselor-BFF Lea Ann was here last week, we pulled a few bees out of our bonnets. She shared some of these very same sentiments with me after she spent a morning mentoring some young mama’s at MOPs. She doesn’t want me to quote her but I’m ornery so I will anyway. Her wisdom is some of the richest and most applicable in my life!
“We are the only example of wife and mother they will see. Caring for the home and family is noble work, God given work and when we believe the lie that we should “let it go” for the “greater purpose” of play, we diminish who God made us to be and the work He gave us.” -lala
She went on to say that there are countless ways we can include our children in this work and all the while make memories, have invaluable conversations and make much of motherhood at the same time. Do we really want our children to grow up with the mindset that play comes first? That frivolity is key to life? Is that biblical?
1 Timothy 5:8
(… and many more)
Don’t get me wrong. We do fun stuff every day. Almost every day. We ARE the Voiles … one of the most sentimental and FUN families I know. I kiss the heads & faces of all my children, read to them, engage in lengthy tickle whoopins, paint & color with them, show them how to make mud pies with mimosa leaves as sprinkles & bean pods as soup. I have an imagination and sometimes I don’t clean my house.
For days & days. But I also brush their hair, their teeth, cook their meals, wash their britches, sweep up their toenails, organize their Legos, clean out their garage (it is THEIR garage) and swat their hineys if need be. More days than not I spend the better portion working instead of playing. It’s real life.
There is much to be gleaned when our kids see motherhood as an occupation with biblical mandates and God-sized tasks that we can only strive towards with His grace. It’s serious! There are implications and consequences for trivializing this calling. It’s a juggling act for sure, but I submit that sometimes it’s the balls of laundry, groceries, disciplining & housework that have to be kept in the air.
Disclaimer: Every house, every mother, & family looks different! I don’t fold socks or underwear and have friends who don’t fold anything. Sometimes we eat home-cooked dinners and sometimes we eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch. It’s not about comparing homes & mothering to one another but rather comparing what the bible says about motherhood to how we live our lives. Period. Grace abounds and liberty is alive & well. Amen?
Blanket Fort, circa: 2008