Friday, March 18, 2011

Motherhood's a thankless job

You know what? I just have to vent for a minute about motherhood.

It is a crazy, crazy job.

If this were the only reason it is crazy, it would be enough of one (but it's not the only one): It is simultaneously the most important job in the world, and yet the least appreciated all the way from the children who directly benefit from it to society at large. Mothers are scrutinized and demeaned far more often than they are honored and encouraged. But I don't want to open that "society" can of worms. That's just part of my vent.

Right now, I'm talking about my kids. Well, just one of them.

I just want to say that my son is sort of a little sick...sick enough to be at home, but not sick enough to be mellow and snuggly. He is sniffling constantly, but also talking at me constantly. I think my mind may in fact explode.

We spent a short while at the park to get some fresh air. I'm taking his temperature, feeding him, scratching his little head, saying YES to everything.....YES you can build a fort. YES you can have my cantaloupe. YES you can put together the giant train track. YES you can bring out the art supplies. YES you can leave it all out for now. YES I will listen about Star Wars and the backstory on your stuffed animals' lives. But is he ever satisfied with what I'm offering?

No. I sit down for a few minutes at the computer to find a phone number, make the phone call, do a task for my husband, and figure out the weekend's plans. But the talking at me continues. Talking and asking and talking and asking. My head wanting to explode.

Finally, I give him a fully self-controlled mini-lecture about how staying home from school sick can be a little boring. He needs to PLAY. He needs to use his imagination. He needs to let me do some mommy jobs. (He needs to not detect the slight panic in my voice! I'm on the verge.)

Silence is his reply. He crawls into his fort with his bestie Patches the horse.

A few moments later, this sign pokes out between the pillows.

He's even taped it to a popsicle stick.

What is enough for that critter???

I'm tempted to feel defeated, but instead I laugh.

I laugh and laugh because of how precious and beautiful he is, and while I'm giggling I playfully ask him if he thinks that is really true. He pops out of the fort, smiles and shakes his head, No.

No it's not true. I love him more than I love my own self. More than I know how to express.

Kids are constantly "telling" us, whether with popsicle stick signs or whining or their insatiability, that nothing is enough. It's critical that I remember what God says is enough.

Remember when I talked about how my to-do list is probably not the same as God's list for me? Just think about how poorly matched His ideas for me are with my child's ideas for me. I'd be playing Legos for ten hours straight, with breaks for just as many snack times, if my son had his way.

Children can drain you in ways you didn't know you could be drained before they existed. And I'm pretty certain God doesn't want that to be a daily occurrence. Of course, there are days where you are literally laying down your life for your child through difficult circumstances. For some moms, these are long seasons of sacrifice. But in the everyday, I absolutely must listen to that still, small voice (God's, not my children's).

He is the only one who knows which priorities need attention. Which people need loving. Which hands need holding. Sometimes of course it's my child, and I need to drop everything else. Sometimes it's my husband and I need to cut short bedtimes stories in favor of time with him. Sometimes it's a hurting friend who needs a call, and so I put on a movie to occupy the kids. But the point is, I never really know what or whom to choose unless I listen. I'm scrambling to do all and be all, unless I listen.

Tune in. Still my busy heart and mind.

I strongly believe Jesus never wants to confuse us or make it tricky to know what He wants. He is not this half-hidden God with a secret agenda. If we are having troubling hearing Him or following Him, it is because of us, not Him. It is because we have too much junk in the way. Or pride. Or distractions. So this is my prayer today:

Lord, let me hear you clearly. Still my mind. Stop it from wanting to explode. Affirm me in my day's work, and show me where enough is. Then please, let my satisfaction run deep, knowing that You are the only person I need answer to. You are the one to speak "Enough" into my soul. You are the one who knows me, loves me, and desires for me to know the peaceful satisfaction of following You.

Have a good weekend, friends. Don't let your minds explode.



  1. Yet another occurrence of the parallel lives:
    My sick-going-on-two-weeks-now 3-yr-old told me that I'm the "meanest Mommy in the world" this morning. I can't even remember why, but I think it was something really mean like making her eat her breakfast, or telling her she had to wear socks with her shoes. We had the same "Do you really mean that" conversation, and thankfully, I'm not that mean after all. ;)

    Hope your son feels better soon!

  2. Leslie- this is all so very, very true. motherhood is an emotionally draining yet the most rewarding job at the same time.i never knew that was possible until i had kids. you are a good mama an dyes, we all need the reminder to just listen. love this post Leslie, thanks for sharing! and i hope your little guy is feeling better soon and you get some time to yourself this weekend!

  3. thank you so much for putting into words how i feel well, often. this was so nice to read on a saturday morning, the start of my weekend, which i want to be full, not drained empty.

  4. Amazing as I read this that "more than enough" is blasting on pandora (they kids always turn it up!) GOD is enough, he provides the enough that we need every day to be what we need for those in our lives!

  5. wonderful. so encouraging.
    so glad i came here today.
    thank you for this.

  6. You're doin' great, dear. It is hard. You are wise to teach him to entertain himself for periods of time corresponding to his age. It will pay big dividends as he grows, for you and for him.

  7. Finally found my way over to your blog, Leslie. I'm all writing and no tech skill! Loved this post. That sign is like something my eldest would write for me. When she was four, I told a wise woman I know, "I cannot make that child happy!" and she said, "Who said that's your job? Does the Bible say you're supposed to make that kid happy? No, you are to protect the child. Feed the child. Be the authority. Love the child. Make the child happy is not in the top 10, because children never get enough. They will suck you dry!" Thank you for reminding me to ask God what his agenda is for me so I don't make myself crazy.

  8. That was an amazing post! It's so nice to know others are feeling the same way..... Such an encouragement!
    I love your blog, I'm a new follower:)