MOTHERHOOD AND HOMEMAKING
By Richard (Dick) Innes
“I feel like I’ve wasted my life,” said one mother whose last child had recently left home. “I’ve given the best years of my life to bringing up my family while other women have been making a career for themselves. And what do I have to show for all my efforts? Nothing.”
I think that many women these days feel the same way. They have been influenced to believe that their role as mothers or homemakers isn’t as important or as fulfilling as is a place in the business world.
Are their feelings justified or not?
First, one answer to this question depends on your attitude—which is how you feel about your role and responsibilities.
No matter what your work is, if you feel it is insignificant and distasteful, you will be bored and depressed by it.
For instance, could anything be more boring than sweeping and cleaning floors every day of your life? Murray Spangler was a custodian in a department store in Canton, Ohio, and he didn’t think so. Even though the dust badly affected his breathing, Spangler didn’t leave. Instead, he decided to work out a better way to clean floors. “Instead of stirring up dust with a broom,” he thought, “why not suck it up?”
The result? He developed a crude but workable vacuum cleaner. He then decided to manufacture it with the financial backing of a friend. The friend’s name just happened to be H. W. Hoover.
“Second, finding fulfillment in one’s
work or lot in life depends on
whether or not one accepts it.”
To reject our role or even have mixed feelings about it is to invite frustration. Even normally enjoyable tasks can thus become a burden. However, the opposite is also true. When we accept our role, even dull tasks can become meaningful.
To do this we need to stop listening to the opinions of others and see the importance of what we are called to do. Every person’s work is important—from that of school teacher to student; from house builder to homemaker; from scientist to farmer; from ditch digger to doctor; and from mother to manager.
However, there are few jobs, if any, that carry as much significance as that of being a mother. She, more often than anyone else, influences and shapes the character of children who affect generations to come. Furthermore, the role of motherhood is designed by God Himself, which makes it nothing less than a divine calling.1
Third, fulfillment is to have specific goals.
What keeps me enthusiastic about my job more than my work is my goals. To imagine any job without drudgery is pure fantasy.
For instance, some of the toughest work I ever did in my life was digging the foundations of my home. About 70 percent of the digging was in solid rock. The remaining 30 percent was in hard, dry clay. It was unbearably hot, the temperature at 110 degrees. To get the job done I had to hire a heavy jack-hammer. By the end of the day I could hardly even drag that jack-hammer, let alone lift it. I ached all over. My arms throbbed for weeks. But in spite of the pain, I was excited about doing that job. Why? Because I was building my own home.
It’s the same with my everyday work. The thing that keeps me going is my attitude toward my job and my goals. I believe that what I’m doing is important. And having goals I constantly visualize what I want to achieve. Without this attitude and without specific goals to work toward, I know I wouldn’t make it.
It was important to me, so it was easy to have a positive attitude. Plus I had a specific goal and a clear vision of what I wanted to do. I could already see the finished project. It was indelibly etched on my mind’s eye from the moment we decided to build. That’s what kept me going until the house was finished which, because I was doing it in my spare time, took several years to fully complete.
Mothers also need to have goals. What greater achievement in life could anyone wish for than to know that you have invested your life in raising happy, emotionally and spiritually well-adjusted children?
Fourth, if a mother or homemaker accepts her role as ordained of God, does this mean that she shouldn’t work outside the home? Not necessarily. It’s a matter of setting priorities. In this day of so many modern conveniences, many women have time on their hands. It is therefore important for them to develop their other God-given talents. When some of these abilities aren’t being developed and used, a lack of fulfillment results.
“When we accept our role, even dull
tasks can become meaningful.”
It’s a case of accepting the importance of both roles and putting first things first.
Even with housework, mothers need to have priorities. One mother I know whose children have grown up said, “If I had my time over again, I wouldn’t worry as much about my housework but would spend much more time with my children. That’s the most important thing to do, as all too soon they were grown up and gone.”
It is also important that mothers who do not work outside the home realize that the role of motherhood is not a life-time job, and that it is wise to prepare for the future. A wise mother will ensure that she will have something fulfilling to do when her children don’t need her so much, or when they leave home.
Fifth, to feel fulfilled, people need to feel appreciated. Motherhood is no exception. Even the most mundane tasks can be rewarding when people know that they are appreciated.
So, husbands and children, let us never take our wives and mothers for granted, but express our gratitude for everything they do for us—from mending socks, to washing dirty clothes, to cleaning the floors, and preparing our meals day-in, day-out, year-in year-out. And let’s show this appreciation by helping—all the time!
Finally, the greatest sense of fulfillment for any task comes from doing it for the glory of God. The Bible says: “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God,”2 and “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.”3
And again, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”4
Do this and your reward will not only be great in heaven, but here on earth as well.
1. See Genesis 1:27-28.
2. 1 Corinthians 10:31, (NIV).
3. Ecclesiastes 9:10, (NIV).
4. Colossians 3:23-24, (NIV).