Finding Fulfillment in Being a Mother Only

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Written by Sherrie Cook, Contributing Writer

For many years I’ve disliked filling out paperwork at a doctor’s office or school that asks for my employment status.  I struggle with knowing the right adjective or title to describe all I do in a day. Usually, I simply put “homemaker”.  That never seems fair to anyone.  Does that mean that the mother who works is not a homemaker, too?  No.  Does that mean that all I do all day is manage my home?  Of course not.  So really, it’s not fair to any moms anywhere.

I suppose it’s because there are never enough lines in the packet to explain what the real job of being a mommy encompasses. Even if there were enough lines, we moms wouldn’t have ample time to sit there and fill in all the details of our days!

Some days it seems all we get accomplished is to change diapers and wash endless faces and wipe away falling tears and dam up dripping noses.  Sometimes, we get to celebrate successes and at other times we have to do our best to mend broken hearts. Sometimes our waking hours are distracted by looming decisions regarding the future of our children…sometimes our nights get consumed, too.

Throw in breakfast, baths, homework, packing lunches, creating wholesome dinners, character training, errands, cleaning house, soccer, baseball and volleyball practice, church time, husband time, and a little family time and our schedules are filled to the top! overflowing!  (Notice I skipped personal time, exercise and sleep, among others.  Those are the ones that get cut first anyway, right?)

Image courtesy of katerha

Distracted by Doing “Good”

So why is it that we always think we can take on more? And more?  And MORE?  Like… involvement in the worship choir, teaching a Bible class, president of the PTO, soccer coach, part-time job, co-op coordinator, troop leader, ladies class instructor, mentor, head chef for small group and secretary for the neighborhood association!

Can you identify with some [if not all] of those titles above?  As women who love God, we earnestly want to serve Him. We see a need and we want to fill it.  If we’re asked to participate in a noble cause, we most often respond positively.

If the request was for something illegal or a blatant waste of time, we would have no problem walking away, but all the things (and we all know there are way more) listed above have merit. They are “good” things in which to be involved.  They help our families, our friends and lost souls.  They need to be done.  And somewhere in the dark corners of our minds, perhaps many of us know that if we don’t step in and fill the role, no one will.

In many cases, I believe, that being distracted by doing good is one of the ways the evil one uses to get a foothold on the hearts of God fearing women. Women who have a heart for Jesus.  Women who want to serve Him by serving their families.  Women who desire to model the woman of Proverbs 31.  Women like you and me.

I, personally, have been dabbling in this very drudgery.  I’m learning every day, hard lessons.  I’m making heart wrenching choices about where I can truly be involved.

Right now, I am a mother of very young children.  I feel like I have so much to give to my family, my friends, my neighborhood, my world!  I am embarrassed to admit that at times I feel like my gifts are being stifled or wasted while I do this “mom thing”.  It is when I bring that confession to the Lord that I can hear Him whisper, “Be the best mommy you can be.  Today.  Let tomorrow take care of itself.”

June 2009080BeStill by christin, on Pix-O-Sphere

It is then that I’m reminded that being “only a mom” or “just a mother” is enough.  It is enough for God.  It is enough for my children.  It is enough for me.  Right now, I’m pleased to say that motherhood is my season. If it is your season too, I pray you will join me as we strive to find peace in the presence of this awesome calling.

Do you ever struggle with “only” being a mother? How do you combat those struggles?

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About Sherrie Cook

Sherrie is a wife, mother, peer counselor, speaker and author. She enjoys helping fellow moms in their quest for a simple, God-centered home for their natural living families. She notes her (hopefully) helpful hints at The Proverbial Woman.

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  1. I am in my first trimester with our first child and feel blessed to have read your article. I am still deciding what to do regarding work when this little one is a toddler, especially as we want to have have the next one not too long after!
    I got a bit teary reading just then, and felt that you really affirmed that our identities are influenced by this change in becoming a mother – something I feel more peace about fully embracing and journeying in with God. I look forward to celebrating successes and mending broken hearts – just the way God made me able to do. (This also makes all the current nausea and tiredness feel very worthwhile!)
    Thank you!

  2. Well, Im going to be a mother very soon! Im looking for some advice about the reality of having a child and have found your post interesting. I’m getting all prepared and reading up on how to deal with the many different things of having a baby. You seem to be doing great!

  3. I found your article by doing a google search and it was very comforting and insightful. Thank you. I’m a Christian SAHM also to four kids 10, 8, 4, and 2. It’s been a discouraging day and I needed some perspective.

  4. This blog is so encouraging. I had been feeling this way for a long time. This year has been hard. I’ve lost my uncle, mom,, aunt and my job as well as develop borderline pnuemonia since April. Its been a strain because I was killing myself while working and maintaining the home. Now that I’m home, I find myself still working hard, but feeling under appreciated and burned out. My husband has wanted to be the main breadwinner and now, has been working overtime (not forced). I was getting to the point of resentment, despair and overall loneliness due to lack of help and companionship. Then I came across this website and was encouraged to just fulfill this role and Jesus will take care of the rest. Thank you so much, you have no idea how much this helps me a young mother of small children ages 4,2.5 and 10 mons.

  5. So hard to deal with. I am constantly feeling like I don’t measure up as a “homemaker.” So I have been daydreaming about getting a job, relieving some financial pressure, and seeing if that outside fulfillment will fill the hole.

  6. “Be the best mommy you can be. Today. Let tomorrow take care of itself.”

    Thank you.

  7. Oh I love this supportive post and the comments so much. I’m 54, and get no support. Everyone is saying, you need to get a life and get a job. Those very same people need me just about every day. I have two grandchildren living with me. I raised my kids, I homeschooled, when my son was paralyzed I took care of him. If you read between the lines (to keep this shorter, ha) this is just a drop. I did venture to work. It was awful. I homeschooled and did my homework by day, then every night either went to work or school. When I got home the husband was sleeping and the kids were hungry or needed help with something. That would be around 11pm. I quite enjoy being here, chasing two babies, and teaching them. I get a kick when people wonder what I do all day. Yeah, it does bother me at times. But then I fire back, oh, the babies and I soak grains and grow sprouts. My business is here, and if I make any money on my projects, or heal people up with my crazy potions I am totally happy with that. I just wish the world around me would quit thinking I can’t possibly be happy with this life. That somehow I’m missing out.
    Thanks to all for the Bible references too. It’s all so nice to know that I am not alone with these feelings.

  8. So when I answer a post, I write a book…lol!

    This is a topic that I have often sruggled with since my daughter was born (She is 6 and I now have an 8 mo old). Interestingly, I always wanted to be a SAHM, but I also felt God had placed specific dreams on my heart. I found that I’ve been bored amongst it all, not challenged, and feeling ashamed that I felt this way. (Yes, bored even with all the wonderful slobbery kisses and read alouds and the never ending list of chores and responsibilities! :-) This past fall I truly wrestled with it (majorly wrestled!!!) and at this point have found a contentment with where I am as well as a new trust that the Lord will bring about the time to do “all the rest”. For those who continue to struggle with wanting to pursue those dreams, these things/thoughts were helpful for me: 1. Find someone to talk to about how you feel. You don’t need to be ashamed about your feelings. Talking to someone can bring fresh perspective! 2. God did create you for a purpose and he may have placed other dreams on your heart as well. At this point you may be a SAHM, but you will not always be. Instead of dreaming and scheming of how to make it all happen, talk with your husband about how at some point you may begin to pursue your dreams. For me, it just felt important to recognize and state what those other dreams are instead of burying them. If there are a number of areas you’ve considered, ask the Lord to show you more specifically what is next and a plan to eventually pursue. (For example, If it is going back to school, maybe the first step would be to recognize specifically what area of schooling and then finding a school that has that area, even though it may be a few years before it happens). Sometimes just having something to look forward to can give you the excitement you need to more fully enjoy what you are doing now. 3. If you find your life to be a drudgery, asking the Lord to give you and your husband a vision for your family of what he wants you to be accomplishing as a father/mother/husband/wife,etc. is also helpful. Answering the questions of what do you want for your children? What is important for them to be learning? What characteristics do you want them to have? What world view is important for them? What kind of learner do you want them to be? Are you supporting your husband and honoring him in his leadership? Is he pursuing what God has for him? Wow, there are lots of questions you could answer. As we began to answer some of those questions and others, God began to renew my vision for the now instead of just for the future. We have an awesome task before us and He does have an opinion about it! We often just need to begin the process of asking and seeking Him to bring about a renewed excitement and vision for what we are doing. I pray that faith rises up in you to trust Him with ALL of your dreams: those of being a SAHM as well as the rest!

    • @Faith, Wonderful thoughts! (I like your book!) Your steps reminded me of a post I read recently:

      All companies have a mission statement. It helps to keep them focused. It helps everyone to know what they stand for and what direction their business is going. Lindsay, at Passionate Homemaking, has done a wonderful job (I think) of walking through how to design one of these for our homes. What I like about it is that it answers a lot of the questions that Faith brought up here, and it can be changed (if needed) as your seasons change. I’ve seen this done before, but thought she did a lovely job.

      Thank you for sharing yourself with your “book”, Faith!

    • @Faith, I really liked your point about not feeling ashamed about expressing feelings of “wanting more.” Once I got past my fear of honesty, I felt so much better and had a much greater sense of peace, direction and purpose. Hiding my feelings and trying to pretend that I felt happy was what was really making me miserable. Isolation is the enemy in this situation. Once I realized that I wasn’t alone in this experience, I found that my anxiety and restlessness faded away.

      I also liked what you said about planning for the future … life is always changing and although I may be SAHM right now, someday my life will be different and there will be new challenges and responsibilities. And then I’ll probably look back at the all the years I spent at home with my kids and wish I could have some of those times back again … :D

  9. Thank you. A friend and I were having a conversation the other day about the season of motherhood and the misplaced feelings of guilt for not doing more outside of the home.

  10. I am thankful that I don’t often feel like “just” a mom…but I think it helps that I have been affirmed as a mom many times by family on both my own and my in laws. They truly believe in what I am doing as worthwhile and a high calling.

    But I can see where others come from this way with feeling like they are “just” a mom.

    I often get the comment after people asking my husband “what do you do” then they turn to me and ask me…I always answer I am a homemaker and a mother. Since to me its sort of two different things…anyways usually no one seems to care about that and they change the subject…

    But I did have one man once ask my husband and then turn to me and ask me “so are you a homemaker?” in a nice way and I said yes…and he got a big smile and said that that was wonderful, in a really genuine way…it made my day.

    I also don’t like the comments I get, which I have had from other moms who work outside the home, with the question “so what do you do all day?” I feel like saying that I actually have more work than time allows…but I think in this day and age where there are so many conveniences out there people sometimes don’t understand what we do if they are coming at it from a perspective of not doing things as “from scratch” or spending as much time with the kids etc…I don’t want to come across as saying using modern conveniences of any sort are wrong but doing things like cloth diapers, or clothes lines, or making food from scratch takes time and energy…which I don’t think people who do other things can understand.


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