Keeping A Clear Perspective in Motherhood
How many times have you heard mothering highly esteemed in the media? Women may be asked if they are “giving up a career” to pursue motherhood. Or perhaps there are comments made about how mothering is impacting a woman in the spotlight. But truly, when was the last time you saw any form of media that portrayed the role of mothering as highly valued. It can be easy in a society with these responses or opinions to have our own perspectives of motherhood diminish in value. All too easy, we begin to think that the role is insignificant or even one to simply endure. But truth be known, mothering is one of the most important roles to fill. It is a job with an eternal impact.As a mother, you help train a heart, shape character, lead, guide, nurture and love. You are affecting future generations with a ripple effect like none other. Click & Tweet!
Perspective is Important
In my 22 years of mothering so far, I have experienced many different perspectives and responses to mothering. As some might laughably say, I’ve seen the best of times and the worst of times. But honestly, differing situations brought a myriad of responses.
From the time I was a little girl, I mothered any doll in my vicinity. I dreamed of nothing more than being a mommy. I had several babies I mothered over the years and remember getting my last doll at 12 years of age. I cried, because I was sad that I probably wouldn’t get any more baby dolls. Naturally, the day I became a mother, a very special part of my heart came to life. I loved it.
I remember in my early years of mothering, going to a mother’s group where there were many happy moms. They spoke of loving their jobs and highly valuing their role to their family and children. They felt they were living the dream and even though it was rough at times, they wouldn’t trade it for anything.
I also remember going to a mother’s group and hearing those who were feeling quite negative in their role of mothering. They felt overwhelmed with the thought of raising children, stifled in their progress of prior careers, and truly felt unsatisfied in their role of mothering. And yes, even those who wished they hadn’t become mothers or longed for the day they could return to the corporate world.
The first thing this illustrates is that our value as mothers can’t depend on our feelings. If that were the case, this would be a crazy train of trying to figure out our worth. We can’t afford to base our sense of value or worth on how we feel about what we do. Quite frankly, there are days it feels horribly hard and there are days it feels incredibly grand, as well as a whole bunch of days that fall somewhere in between.
I remember being in some professional situations where others in perceived authority or influence discouraged me from talking about being a mom. They told me it could make others perceive me as less knowledgeable, less credible, or less experienced. I shudder to think that someone would even suggest that. And often wish I had spoken out more about what it felt like to receive that kind of message.
I also remember in more recent years having others encourage me to talk about my mothering experience and that others would perceive me as more credible and capable. And I remember questioning them again, referencing the prior discouragement. No, indeed, they thought I should highlight my experiences as a mom because it brought such a unique and interesting light to what I had to offer. That felt refreshing.
This illustrates that we can’t base our perceived worth on what others think. That can be hard. We will encounter both people; those that will highly value motherhood and those who consider it among the lower ranks. So we can’t afford to let our position of the importance of mothering be dictated by what others think of it. That too can cause internal turmoil like a changing tide.
Our Children’s Impact on Our Perspective
I can think of days with my kids when relationships feel seamless, emotions are pleasant, and love prevails. My kids voice gratitude and appreciation. In fact, I can even remember some of these days with unforgettable quotes such as:
“Mommy, someday I am gonna marry someone just like you!”
“Mommy, I wish I could marry you, cuz I would.”
“You’re the best mom I could have ever asked for!”
“I hope we always have a relationship that is close like this.”
Or perhaps those unforgettable words come in letters that voice those precious things that you never get to hear uttered, but you are so blessed to hear from your teenager.
Yes, on these days, you feel that what you do matters. You are appreciated. What you do is making a difference! And it feels good.
Likewise, there are days that relationships feel strained, emotions are intense, and chaos prevails. Your kids sound ungrateful and expectant. In fact, I don’t even like to relive the words.
“I wish Daddy could find a new Mommy.”
“I don’t want to go with you. I like Daddy better.”
“You’re the worst Mom in the world.”
And yes, with a little guy that struggles with ADHD, emotional regulation, executive function, and impulse control…some of his words have cut to the core. It can feel devastatingly difficult to hear hurtful words, especially from a child you work overtime to help and care for. (And trust me, we don’t excuse those without consequence or training, but they will likely happen again.)
This illustrates that we can’t base our value on the feedback or response of even our own children. Hopefully, as we help train their hearts and their character, their words will reflect love and gentleness. But guess what…those little people also have a sin nature and will make mistakes. Just as we do…and we are adults. They will speak out of anger. They will say things to hurt you. And they will say things that can’t be taken back. So you might imagine why we can’t afford to let our perceived value fall in the hands of those who are still learning to speak with love and learn to use self-control.
See Your Role Clearly
So, how can we keep a clear perspective in mothering? It takes some work. And it takes some practice. And it takes orienting our self to the truth.
There are three key points I’d like to pass along as quick reminders to help you keep perspective in motherhood. I tried to think of wording that would be easy to recall. So to keep it simple remember the following:
Know, in your heart and in your mind, your true value, worth, and importance as a mother.
God chose you to be a mom. He sent a child/ren your way as a blessing. They are a treasure. He knew you were just what they needed. He has given you the task of raising them, training them, nurturing them, loving them, and guiding their hearts toward Him. This is no small task. It has eternal implications and a ripple effect that you probably can’t even fathom! God has bestowed a job of high importance upon you. And that is the truth. You are valued. You are important. You are chosen for this task.
Let the words you speak about mothering and you as a mom reflect what you know to be true.
(Yes, I know that grammatically, that should be clearly, but it doesn’t fit with the others as well that way!) 😉 We often believe something when we hear it enough times. Our internal dialog, our conversations with others, and even as we are confronted by things in the media…do we speak in a way that values and esteems mothering? Our words can both speak life or wound spirits and destroy.
What if we were to start a wave of confidence in our value as mothers. What if we spoke the truth about our roles, grew in contentment and confidence in our role, and helped others value motherhood in a new way? Wouldn’t that be exciting? And it starts with something as simple as the words we speak and are spurred to believe.
I think back to those who shared the advice of not discussing my role as a mother for fear of how others might make judgments on me or my ability in a professional setting. I have drafted in my mind numerous responses in the years since then. How I wish I had been better about standing up and speaking clearly of what I believed to be true. And have purposed to do it differently now.
Stay away from those things that cause you to lose your perspective or lose your focus on the truth.
Unfortunately, it is far to easy to find those who can be negative or voice negativity about mothering. At times we can be saturated with that in the media. Perhaps there are people in your life who contribute a disparaging take, harsh judgment, or unhealthy sarcasm on your role of mothering. It is helpful to evaluate those influences in our life. What do you surround yourself with? When we are surrounded by negativity, we become negative. When we are surrounded by positivity, we become positive.
Be Aware of Distractions
There may be things in your life that cause you to become distracted from your goal or purpose in mothering. It might even be that certain situations or settings cause you to question your value or worth. Please be aware of these things. Keeping focus and clarity is challenging enough without those things that wear us down or cause doubt.
Take some time today to think through your role as a mother. What makes your role in motherhood important? Why does what you do truly matter?
I’d like to provide a journaling activity that you can come back to and refer to when you are needing the encouragement or reassurance in motherhood. Spend some time today answering these questions and then tuck this away as a simple reminder and strategy to gain focus on those days it feels challenging. You can find this resource and more on your subscriber-only resource page available in your email. This resource page is a great additional page to add to your parenting journal planner. If you aren’t a subscriber, it is free to sign up here. When you sign up you will receive free weekly resources, access to past resources, updates on my blog posts, and stay in the loop about upcoming events and challenges, and more! Don’t forget to download the fostering gratitude and attitude of gratitude resources as well, we can become more positive moms by taking time to note three things we are grateful for over 21 days!
Let’s Do This!
For more great reading and resources, check out this previous blog post on growing an attitude of gratitude, and this one about why moms feel inadequate. Read all the blog posts here; there are several pages of articles to browse.
Tune in today Friday, June 14th on Channel Mom Radio at 1pm MST for a special show about this topic, you don’t want to miss this!