In one of my devotional readings, this week, I was reminded about how vital my ministry is as a mother. I thought on this eve of Mother's Day, I would remind us all about the invaluable role we play in our children's lives.
My mother-in-law tried to tell me when our 13-year-old was first born that my ministry was at home. I had spent all my life in music ministry with our church and this was her attempt to get me to stay home with the baby and not get involved in anything. Now, I respect my mother-in-law. She was a single mother who successfully raised two boys into men that are now following the Lord. They are both hardworking and good examples for Chris and Brent.
At the time she said this, I knew she was right, but my heart belonged to music and I knew I couldn't give it up. I was one of those moms who kept on doing what I'd always done. I didn't stay home because I was a mother. I took Chris with me. He would sit in his car seat in the middle of band practice or choir practice.
I never thought anything of it and I don't think Chris was hurt by it at all.
Since my decision to work from home...which by God's grace, I couldn't have done until now...I find I have the same philosophy with Brent. I do whatever it is that I'm called to do...and take him along. Of course I have a built in babysitter! (There is a certain advantage to having children 12 years apart!)
With Chris, I knew the ministry was there. The bonding with him. The spending time with him before bed. Instilling in him how to value people and treat them with respect and kindness. Instilling in him knowledge of Jesus and the desire to follow him. I didn't really focus on it, but it was still a ministry.
With Brent--12 years after Chris--and now that I'm a little older and wiser, I see that ministry in a different light. I see my ministry of keeping house (which I'm admittedly not doing very well with) and raising another little boy with Christian values and a good work ethic.
As I look back on how I was with Chris, I'm astonished that he has turned out as well as he has. I know I'm more mature now, and as Chris grew up and out of the earlier, more trying years I learned to deal with him much better. I'm hoping that since I've learned this, I can avoid the same trials with Brent.
There is one thing I regret, though. Although I know it was in God's plan, I learned to do things that have now become part of my home business, I still see the effect it has had on Chris and our family. I regret going back to work. I should have made sure that my work was part-time. Chris, as many of you know, has Aspergers. While I was at home in the mornings, I had Chris in a schedule and rhythm of getting up in the morning and getting ready. No problems. At one point, I started going to work early. Kevin's (hubby's) schedule had changed so that he was home--although somewhat groggy--in the mornings. So I took that as an invitation to get to work earlier. What I didn't realize was that Kevin didn't have the discipline to get himself up in the morning, however sleep deprived, and keep the schedule I had Chris going with. (A classic case of "if you want something done right....")
At 13, after years of no structure, I'm trying to retrain Chris in personal hygiene. I look back and see the spiral downward in this happened when I started to work more. It brought home to me how much he needed me and that there is no one better to do my job. This is one of the reasons why I'm fighting to stay a work-at-home mom with Brent.
I know not every mother can stay at home. Many do so and my hat's off to you because I understand the stress and the overwhelming feeling of having to manage a house, children and a job with all the responsibilities those entail. Many do so without any detriment to their children. I was one who didn't see anything wrong with a latchkey kid. Chris was that for many years in the afternoon. I didn't have a problem with that since I was home in the evening.
Anyway...We, as mothers, have an amazing ministry. Not just to our own children, but to other mothers and their children, as well. If you're in a community--neighborhood or church--you know what I mean. It's one of the reasons why I started this blog and have become involved in the women's ministries in our church. I see how important it is that we mothers share our experiences. There is comfort in knowing that other mothers understand, that other mothers have been there, that other mothers won't judge us. They've all been there. I encourage you if you're not in a supportive church environment--perhaps the mothers there are judgmental--find yourself a group where you're excepted, and challenged to be more than you are, to realize your full potential as a Christian mother.
On this Mother's Day, let's renew our vow to our children, let's encourage other mothers, and let's acknowledge the role our mothers and mothering figures had on shaping who we've become.
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