Did you enjoy mothering and staying home right from the start?

Question: Have you found it more enjoyable to be home with your children the more you have had and the older they have gotten, or did you really enjoy staying home and mothering right from the start with one baby? I love staying home and I love my baby, but sometimes I wake up in the morning and think, “what do I do all day long with a 1 year old!?”

Sometimes I prefer the days when I am also babysitting other people’s kids and there is more going on, or when we go help at someone else’s house, but I also want to take good care of and enjoy what God has given me. I want to make the most of my time but do not always feel very productive or fit to the task of staying home with my baby.
Maybe that’s more than one question!

nest
The children found this nest on the ground with one beautiful egg.

My long and rambling answer: Thanks for the good question; it has been helpful for me to think through my answer over the past few days.

What I hear you saying is that you are somewhat underwhelmed with your job right now, you feel lonely some days and you sometimes feel inadequate for the task at hand. I hope I have understood the heart of your question correctly.

As I have thought this over, my answer has turned out to be longer than I thought it would. 🙂 I don’t ever mean to sound “preachy”; truly these are all lessons that God has taught me along the way, little by little. He is so gracious and He leads us along gently.

I hear you and I understand. To be perfectly up front and honest, I haven’t always enjoyed staying home. I don’t always enjoy it now. I don’t remember how much I enjoyed it with just one baby. I’m sure I had ups and downs. Over the years I have found that some seasons, some days, some moments are more enjoyable than others. Other times are just plain hard or unfulfilling or exhausting or lonely or boring. Being where God has placed me takes dedication, work, and commitment, no matter how I happen to feel about it at any particular time. I think the same is true for all the laborers in Christ’s kingdom, all over the world, working in whatever corner God has given them to shine His light.welcomehomeThis was true for my husband Steve as he served in church ministry for nineteen years. He had low times when he felt that he was accomplishing nothing at all. Along the way, there were many mountaintop times as well. The key was (and is) being faithful where God has called you. God blesses faithfulness through all of the ups and downs.

Here is a Scripture verse that has encouraged me many times over the years.

“For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
Colossians 3:3

It’s okay to be hidden away. I reached a point a few years ago where I was completely maxed in my mothering. Our last three children were very small and extremely demanding, and I could not go anywhere or do anything, except the absolute necessities. Steve even did the grocery shopping, on top of his many other responsibilities. Steve kept going out the door with the other kids, to activities and various events. I kept missing stuff, over and over. I hated it. I missed things that were important for my older kids. I felt so lonely and left out. It was a season of really learning to die to self. I had to trust that God would use it for good in the lives of each one in the family. I had to surrender my desires and realize that the world would go on without me. I didn’t love that season at all. I felt like some people wondered where in the world I was. (For example, one time Steve led a Christmas caroling outing for the church and took the older five kids with him. Toby (probably age 5 or so) started throwing up during the outing, in one of the nursing homes, and I wasn’t there to deal with it. Another dear lady jumped in to help out, while Steve kept on leading Christmas carols. I heard about it later and felt so dumb that I wasn’t there– tears literally came to my eyes.) Even though I didn’t love that stage at all, and I was hanging on by a thread, God was teaching me– your life is hidden with Christ in God.

So even though you aren’t in a season of being overwhelmed necessarily, it’s still a season of learning to die to self and to offer up your hidden life to God.

God does some of His greatest work in the secret, hidden away places that nobody notices at the time. The Kingdom of Christ is advancing, through the mustard seed principle.clematisAs women, we must remember that we are emotional creatures by nature. It’s part of the hormonal journey of pregnancy, nursing, postpartum, cycles, etc. We are wise if we don’t rely too much on our emotions, but keep our eyes on Jesus and allow our more non-emotional husband to help us chart the waters we find ourselves in. On a low day, remember there is grace for tomorrow and there will be “mercies anew.”

Seek ways to be a helper to your husband. When I had just one child, we were just getting started with our church ministry. I always enjoyed helping Steve with the music responsibilities and planning special events, etc. It was fulfilling to me to help him in those ways. Whether or not you are able to do anything like that right now, remember that you are also helping your husband by taking care of your little boy each day. It is a huge gift to your husband for him to know that you are providing security for your son. You are helping your husband build a family! It can be fulfilling to think of it in that way.tricycleConsider reaching out and getting involved in a church and/or other ministries. (You may already be doing this; I’m just giving my general advice here!) As you keep your home as your first priority, from there you can thoughtfully and prayerfully reach out to others in whatever ways God leads you and your husband. This can really help with the loneliness. It is easy for some of us to get way over-committed, and that’s not what I’m talking about. Look for things that flow naturally with your homemaking, such as making meals for a meal ministry, finding a mom’s fellowship and play group, or practicing hospitality. Even just being faithful to a church and hanging around a little bit after services will open up so many chances for fellowship and community and ministry.

If your husband’s schedule allows, perhaps he can help with the baby for a few hours, so you can volunteer at a Women’s Center or participate in a music ministry, etc. Just be aware that you are not doing these things because contentment at home isn’t possible. You are doing it because God likely desires to use you to minister to others in a variety of ways, and right now your schedule may allow for that. You are doing it because it is healthy to have some social interaction (hopefully we get back to the place soon of doing this as a society!!). As the years roll on, it’s likely that there will be seasons when the demands of your home may not allow for anything extra. We have to be sensitive to God’s leading and willing to give up of ourselves at every turn in the road.

If you ever sense that any extra activity is putting a burden on your husband or son, you will know what has to go. Those two guys are always first in your heart and priorities, as you have expressed.

Every home and family is different in these practical things. You and your husband can discern what works well for you at this time in your lives.reading

Remember, you are building something. Faithfulness on the slow days now will pay big dividends later. I understand that you may not feel very productive on some days. Remind yourself that you ARE being productive– both now, and for the future. You are sowing seed, each day. It is hard to imagine, when you have your first little one and have been married a relatively short time, the big-ness of all that God wants to do and will do in the future of your family. You are building something of immense importance. Of necessity, it starts small. No matter the number of children God may give you, if you build on the right foundation, your home will become a fortress and a haven and a place where God will do things you never imagined in your wildest dreams. Do not underestimate your value in the home. You are the core of your home, in pretty much every way. Right now you are building a foundation. It’s slow and tedious and not always exciting. But oh my, the trust your husband will build in you, the anchor that you are for your son, these are things that you can never put a price tag on.

We must guard against the deception that Eve fell into– that she was missing out on something. I remember my father-in-law preaching on this one time, and it has always stuck with me. We are all prone to feeling like something better, more exciting, more meaningful is “out there” somewhere. I just went and dug up my notes from this message– May 14, 2006.

“Eve was tempted, by the serpent, to be discontent with what God had given her. Satan is a great deceiver. He wants you to think contentment lies somewhere outside the home.” -Pastor Frank Hall
piano.guitar

Two final thoughts– yes, your motherhood will change and grow with each passing year. In that sense, it does become more enjoyable. You start to have conversations and laugh at jokes together. You begin to read stories together, play games and sing songs together. Your child starts to show his talents and you encourage and cheer him on, and watch in amazement as you see the person he is becoming. Your child expresses his thoughts and feelings and eventually grows into your friend— a friend who understands where you are coming from and trusts you for advice and feedback on their challenges in life. So much for you to look forward to!

frog
Sammy giving a “belly rub” to a frog he found. He assured me the frog loved it!

Enjoy where you are right now. Enjoy the blessings of quieter days and fairly uninterrupted conversations with your husband. It can change very quickly. Should the Lord bless you with more children, you may look back one day and think, was it EVER quiet around here?! You may only be able to get three words out to your husband before the next crisis occurs. It’s hard to imagine until you are there, and then it’s hard to imagine what it was like before!

I hope this wasn’t too long of an answer! I’m always happy to chat, anytime. God bless you as you follow after Him! lantern

6 thoughts on “Did you enjoy mothering and staying home right from the start?

  1. Jennifer, Thank you so much for this post. I love it and many thoughts are going through my head as I was reading it. First, it helps to have these types of discussions with other mothers. That really lessens the loneliness and I am sure the Lord loves when we can encourage each other in our calling-as you have done here.
    Second, you are sharing the fruits of your own mothers labor. She has been an example for many women and there is a great need for that in this day.
    Thanks for the reminder that I died to self when i said yes to Jesus. HE is my portion and with him I have all things that the world cannot begin to offer.
    Thank you for being faithful to the call of encouraging women in our high calling. We must always be on the lookout for the lies of the enemy-he prowls around looking for someone to destroy. With Jesus, we don’t have to fall for his lies!
    May you be blessed!
    Jackie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Jackie. Such a foundational truth that we often must come back to– “I died to self when I said yes to Jesus.” Thank you for those words!

      Like

  2. Being a mother one has an opportunity (countless ones all day long!) to say “my life for yours”, “your needs before mine”. Having being a stay-at-home and homeschooling mom to 10 children, and now as a grandmother to many, I look back on those demanding, wonderful, hard, fantastic, fun, lonely, precious, “hanging on by my finger nails” years as the best years of my life and I have no regrets giving up my own life for them. I would do it all over again in a heart beat. It has been the most rewarding and fulfilling thing I have ever done.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A very helpful response, Jennifer, delivered in a beautiful way.

    Iit is a great blessing to me to reflect on the Biblical teaching that Christ is The Vine and we are the branches! There are so many helpful lessons in this simple analogy!
    For instance:
    All our life and nourishment comes from Him.
    The branch has nothing more to do than abide — at peace — in The Vine.
    The Vine will nourish the branch and cause it to grow and be fruitful.
    How blessed we are to be united with The Vine! HE truly IS our life!

    My love to you and your family,
    UA

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, the analogies given to us in Scripture are so easy to grasp and find application for in our daily lives. The vine and the branches, the seed going into the ground, and so many others. Thanks for sharing. “In Him, we live and move and have our being”!

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  4. Yes, I enjoyed the article on staying home. Hopefully, if the Lord tarries, the USA will get back to some GODLY values and common sense. Happy Memorial Day as we remember our soldiers who gave their lives for freedom AND their wives who stood by their man. Love, Grammy

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