Motherhood is rigorous work. We all know this. Oh. So. Well. Which is why often we turn to communities of all sorts, online or in person. For support. For tips. For resources that can help us to love what we do, to embrace especially the mundane and the monotonous stuff. Rightly so. I am an advocate of putting back the sacred in our everyday tasks, of letting motherhood change us, of slowing down, of simplicity. Anything that can spur us to keep doing the hard things day after day. Often we grasp for tools outside of us, but today, I want to focus on the tools within us. The unique tools God has entrusted only us with. Loving what we do is good, but so is doing what we love, and consequently being who we are in our homes.
Because mothering with our best self is an expression of God’s glory.
Someone once said that the glory of God is (wo)man fully alive. And one aspect of living fully is to live authentically, to embrace all of who we are just as God does. The good and the bad. For many of us, the multi-faceted role of a mother and a homemaker brings us face to face with parts of ourselves that we don’t necessarily like. Which will be for another post. Today, I want to start with the parts of ourselves God has made nourishing, naturally.
Mothering With Our Positives:
- Leverage Your Strengths: Because We Can’t Be Everything To Our Children. We have to do a whole lot of things, but we don’t have to excel in them all. Instead, we can focus more on what we do best and then strategize how to tackle tasks we are not so good at. I’m not the best chef, so I try to simplify in the kitchen. I’m not the cleanest housekeeper and I’ve lowered my expectations for what a clean house looks like. I just try to make sure the essentials get done and instead, I focus on decluttering and having a minimalist home, something that comes naturally to me. I’m not very crafty, but I sure can sing and dance which I often do with my daughter. When I do these tasks as often as I can, I end up enjoying myself and giving a gift to my family without much effort.
- What are your Verbs? If you haven’t given it much thought lately, I invite you to think of “verbs” that you do well. The stuff that comes naturally to you. Find ways to showcase these strengths daily. It’s a way of honoring God, who made us this way. And it’s a gift to our family to see mom enjoying herself so much that it doesn’t seem like work at all!
Mothering With Our Personalities
- The Steady You: Our Inborn Temperament. Few of us go from one extreme to another. There’s a steadiness to the personality we are born with, though we grow and change over time. Know how to bring out the best in your personality. We often have ideas of what an ideal mom should be, the ideal mom your children can have is you being simply you! I am a strong introvert and can’t handle too much people time without an equal amount of alone time (or I get really crabby!) When I am able to recharge throughout the day and week, I am also able to give undivided attention to my daughter joyfully.
- What Are Your Adjectives? There’s a lot of different personality tests out there, like the MBTI and the Birkmann. I like them all, but if you are not an avid test-taker like me, just a simple observation will do. Where do you get your energy? Do you like to plan ahead or do you like to keep your options open? How do people describe you? When we nurture our nature, we respect how God made us. We are then able to embrace differences with others and learn to work with them. We are better able to nurture our children’s nature as well.
Mothering With Our Passions
- Dare to Live Your Life. God calls you to be no one else but You. To live out your story. Model that for your daughter. We can’t force our values on them, but we can reflect them in our choices and actions. I’m born to live cross-culturally and I identify with those who have been uprooted from their home culture well. My husband and I have chosen to live in a multi-culture community where a lot of refugees and immigrants resettle. One day, I hope to live overseas again. We also host international students in our home and are currently thinking about possibly becoming foster parents to unaccompanied refugee minors who are waiting to get resettled in the U.S. These choices are just part of who we are, and not because we feel like we should. And our daughter is growing up with plenty of opportunities to see our passions lived out in simple and practical ways.
- What are your Nouns? What is it that gets you fired up? What are the dreams God has given you? List them all and figure out ways to live them not in the near future, but now. Motherhood does not mean we have to give up on them. We just need to get a little creative.
What do you think? What are your verbs, adjectives and nouns? Please do share!