We can say “a mother’s work is never done” with resignation, with frustration, despair, tiredness – and fair enough – some of our tasks are repetitive, seemingly thankless, and not particularly inspiring. Alternatively, we can focus on the purpose of being a mother, and from that gain a sense of significance for the things that we do.
- Mothers nurture the hearts of children – this takes time and availability
- Mothers create a home – not just a comfortable house, but a place of security and belonging
- Mothers create memories – tangible memories of doing things together and for each other, as well as intangible by just being there
- Mothers teach – and our lessons shape the very being of our children: spiritual, moral, social, emotional, and physical being
A mother’s work is far more than looking after the physical well-being of everyone in the family; of making sure there is good healthy food, clean clothes, and fresh sheets, of getting people to the right place at the right time, or wiping snotty noses, toilet training, and organising all our stuff. It includes those things, and yet when we give ourselves to the whole role of being a mother, it is much more.
Being a mother is all about Relationships
I think the most significant task we can take on as a mother is to foster relationships in our family.
- Husband and Wife relationship – This relationship alone has several significant purposes. In nurturing this primary relationship I am looking after my own emotional and social needs, which in turn creates a safe, stable and strong family life for my children, and it shows them how to build a strong and healthy marriage for themselves one day. This issue alone is a generation builder!
- Parent to Child relationships – without relationships we are just adults and children living in the same house, without relationships we are just living by house rules and waiting to grow up. To be any influence in my children’s lives, to be able to help them, encourage them, give them wisdom and confidence we need to have a relationship – a healthy relationship.
- Sibling relationships – we say that siblings don’t choose to be friends, that they are just put in a family, but reality is that a healthy sibling relationship is a choice – and we as mothers can teach, guide and encourage our children to choose to love their siblings.
- Friendships – mothers teach, guide and encourage friendships beyond the family walls. We not only teach the skills to be a good friend we help our children make time for their friends.
- Community connections – The home is the base for all social connections – as we teach our children the value of other people, and the importance of being a friend and meeting people’s needs, and as we make time and opportunity for this to happen, our children’s world expand
And last but certainly not least
- Relationship with God – As I live an honest and open relationship with God myself, I introduce Him to our children.
Busyness kills Relationships
Busyness kills relationships – or at least maims it! This is where the idea that ‘a mother’s work is never done’ becomes harmful – we focus on all that we have to do. And then we let our attitude stink about it, because it is exhausting, and endless, and ….well, exhausting!
There is always going to be work to do – it is the nature of our world. Dust happens, dirt, grime, spills, mess. Our family will always need to be fed and clothed. The baby needs to be bathed, the toddler needs a band-aid, the school kid needs help with their school project, the teen needs to be driven to their sport practice, the young adult is buying a car – and this only covers the sphere of motherhood, I am also a wife, homemaker, homeschooler, friend and volunteer!
These things are good things – it is good to be busy, to work hard, but when we talk about busyness there is an underlying dissatisfaction: we know that we are focusing on the wrong things, that our priorities are out of order, that these things are taking the best of our time and energy – and it is these things that are affecting our attitude.
Choose your focus – Tasks or Relationships
As with all things we have a choice – we may not feel like we have a choice, considering all the things pushing in on us, all the things left undone – but we do have a choice. We may not be able to choose the circumstance we find ourselves in but we can choose our attitude. We can also choose our priorities. Will I choose to focus on tasks or on relationships? Will I choose to see the eternal perspective of the things I do during my day or will I choose to be frustrated and overwhelmed by the many practical things?
This does not mean that we sit around with our kids sharing milk and cookies all day – no, there are things that need to happen, but our heart should be tuned towards relationships.
First we need to know that building and fostering relationships is our number one task. You may need to change your thinking here – the mother’s role is to foster relationships – have you thought about that before? Think about it now, and start to see the things that you do with those glasses on. Relationships should tint all that we do.
When we have relationship coloured glasses on, we will value our time differently because we are not only with the people we love, but we can use this time to influence them. Our energy is focused on how to help my child. And my attitude can be one of thankfulness for the material things we have around us, that allow us to be together.
A mother’s work is never done!
You see, a mother’s work is never do ne, not because it is mundane and repetitive, not because kids are sloppy and not picking up their responsibilities – a mother’s work is never done because we are always a mother, a mother who values relationships.