I Wasn't Trained to Be a Mom (But I Can Still Love It)

I Wasn’t Trained to Be a Mom (But I Can Still Love It)

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Sometimes I end up rummaging through past posts for one reason or another, and a post that I have written (and forgotten about) will jump out at me and I am freshly inspired by whatever it was that spurred me on to write the post in the first place.

The quote below is from just such a post that I re-discovered a few weeks ago. It was called “Rejoicing in my Role“, and it keenly expressed a challenge that I still deal with, more than two years after penning the words.

I know that so many of you grew up like me. You were encouraged to pursue education and career, rather than family and home. You learned how to cook by trial, error and fire alarm (burnt cookies, anyone?). When you had your first baby, you were overwhelmed by the sheer weight of responsibility and the realization that you didn’t have a clue how to really care for a baby’s needs, let alone balance the laundry, cleaning, cooking, errands and more with the all-consuming demands of mothering.

You didn’t learn how to do any of this, but now, this is your life, day in and day out.

You have the choice to fully embrace it, learn it, love it, and rejoice in it, or to resent it and show your children through your daily attitude that you don’t truly cherish the roles of mama and homemaker that have been bestowed upon you.

Attitude speaks volumes. We don’t have to use words to communicate deeply to our children, to our husbands, to those who are silently watching us live our lives exactly what we think about the calling that we have been given.

I speak as one who is convicted by these thoughts all over again. I am not exemplary in this area, not by a long shot. I need to be reminded as much as many of you do. So here goes…

Are You Rejoicing in Your Role?

Do I rejoice in the role that God has given me in my home? Is it evident? Do others, and especially my children, see that I love being a woman, love caring for them, love serving my husband and love making my home a haven, both for our family and for others?

In a session (at a homeschool conference I had just attended), on training and raising daughters to be homemakers and helpmeets, this question really struck a chord with me. If I want my daughters to grow up embracing the Biblical role of becoming a wife, mother and homemaker someday (because although not every daughter is assured of being married or having children, this is the normative path for women in scripture, and it is what we feel that we ought to be preparing our daughters for), then I need to consider the example I set.

The role that I have now is not the one that I trained for. I spent 13 years in public school, and 4 years in a liberal arts university, preparing to be anything BUT a homemaker (because I was “way too smart to waste myself on just being at home”, or so the voices around me worked to convince me). It is still a learning curve for me, balancing housework, cooking, child training, home educating, and serving my husband. I still so often feel overwhelmed and under-equipped for the task at hand.

But regardless of how I feel… what do I communicate? That I revel in the role that God has given me? That there is absolutely no where else I would rather be? That I accept with joy even the mundane parts of my day (the laundry, the toilets, etc.)?

My daughters (and my sons as well) need to see a picture of a woman that is at rest, and even better, rejoicing in her role. They need to know that I love being a wife. Love being a mom. Love caring for my home and showing hospitality. That what God has called me to do is a privilege and NOT a burden.

My goal for today? To choose joy and contentment. To purposefully express to my daughter how very good God’s ways are, and how right He was to place me right where I am- in my home!

Have you considered the effect of your attitude on your children, and the message that you are sending? Do you also find it a challenge to display and communicate joy in your God-given roles?

Images by D. Sharon Pruitt

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  1. Thank you for these encouraging thoughts and words. There is a lot to think about. I feel like this was written for me. I just appreciate the hard questions, do you communicate joy in your God-given roles? Have you considered the effect of your attitude on others? I think you can apply this to the role we have at home as mothers and also to the roles we have in our church serving or other jobs/tasks.

    Thank you again. What a blessing.

  2. It can be a challenge to stay joyful throughout the mundane. I am teaching my kids to cook, garden, compost, recycle and live meaningfully and spend meaningfully. I don’t regret going to college, working. It isn’t something that I will return to or return to fully once my children are all school aged. One comment that I found flabbergasting was from my mother in law – she said that both of her daughter in law’s were college educated, but yet were stay at home mother’s like she was, as if it was all a waste. I am who I am because of my education and my experiences. It is definitely something that I am proud of regardless of whether I am practicing or not. Cherish your role whatever it is, at whatever season of life you find yourself!

  3. I have often thought this same thing and you were able to put it into words – thank you! I can’t tell you how many times I have felt overwhelmed over the yrs in this role. I remember telling my husband years ago how unfair it almost seemed that he gets to choose his job and how it fits with his strengths and passions…while I felt “thrown into” a role I knew nothing about and didn’t feel good at or equipped for and for many years, didn’t even like. Now, three kids later and I wouldn’t have it any other way but I still struggle. I never learned how to cook, never had chores growing up and didn’t have a positive example of a healthy marital relationship to fall back on. Sometimes I feel like I’m just winging it and making it all up as I go along and I can only hope that in the end…it will have served us all well. <3

    1. That has been exactly how I have felt…thrown into this! And because I could not come to terms with those feelings and forgive myself for “failing” (at least in my eyes) I held resentment towards my husband and children which came throuh in my actions and tainted the love I have for them. It’s been “a long strange trip” but I’m getting to a better place where I’m more comfortable with my roles as wife and mother and even embracing new roles like “teacher”.

  4. Those of us who WERE raised to pursue homemaking struggle, too; in many ways because the expectations are so high and we’re supposed to already know what we’re doing! Housekeeping and parenting have knocked me off my feet despite being the oldest of five kids, raised to value home & family, and wanting nothing more than to be a wife & mom. The dream vs. reality can be shocking! : )

    1. @SarahMay,
      That’s exactly how I feel too! I’m the oldest of six and thought I would breeze through parenting. Actually becoming a parent has completely knocked me off my feet and I no longer feel quite so confident. It can be a struggle for everyone, whether we planned on staying home with kids or not.

  5. Thank you so much for this post. I am not a mother, yet, but I struggle with the same message I grew up with – education and career. I so want to be home, but the education and career path have consequences that I now have to deal with. I struggle every day with having the right attitude about work and balancing homemaking outside of work. This is a lovely post- thanks for sharing.

  6. I love the sentiments of this post! This is exactly how I feel and why I started my blog actually – to discover being content whereever God has planned for me.

  7. Thank you, Stephanie! As someone mentioned, I also felt this was written just for me 🙂 It has been a challenging few months…lots of illness, loss, etc. and it has all weighed heavily and grown an unwanted discontent. I want NOTHING more than to LOVE being home with my son, love him well, take care of him and our home, love my husband and do it all as gracefully as possible. But I am very aware of how I have I have not been diciplined in so many areas of my homemaking and how we have all “suffered” for it. Your post is inspiring and motivating and these questions will pop into my mind often…Am I rejoicing in my role and is that what my family perceives?! Thanks again.

  8. Awesome post! Very convicting for me!

    I really need to reevaluate the example I am being “all the time” to our daughter, because although no one is perfect, we still need to do our best to be the best wife and mom He wants us to be. I am going to start praying about that for myself. Thank you for bringing it to the forefront of my mind!


  9. As much as I struggled with my nine years as a Kindergarten teacher, at least it prepared me to have my own little son. But yes, there is certainly a lot about my education that has left me having to do my own research about being a good wife and mommy.

  10. The Lord has really been speaking to me about this lately. The phrase that struck me was: “You have the choice to fully embrace it, learn it, love it, and rejoice in it, or to resent it and show your children through your daily attitude that you don’t truly cherish the roles of mama and homemaker that have been bestowed upon you.”

    I think I do tend to show my kids that I don’t cherish my roles as mamma and homemaker. I do it, but I don’t always do it in a way that is honoring and a blessing to my Lord and my family.

    Here is another post I recently read that also convicted and encouraged me in this same area: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/motherhood-as-a-mission-field#.TfuLhsIvMac;facebook

  11. I’ve never commented on your site. I was on raising homemakers site and hopped in over here. Thank you for your encouragement. The task every day seems so mundane and there are times :gasps: I run out of things to do!! Then I am reminded that I can cook, serve, encourage, send letters, call congress, voice my beliefs on certain topics with the governement, there is so much to be done and I should do it with a joyful heart. I get a lot of ‘I wish I could stay home as well” from all my friends. So, with that said, I should see it as a blessing. Not many can live on one income these days. It was a huge change and transition from two income to one but it can be done!


  12. Great thoughts. I often feel “behind” because I am learning much of what I *feel* should have been taught to me growing up. I have two little girls and I want to spend time showing them that it is an amazing and blessed job rather than struggling and failing at my attempt to be “super mom”.

  13. Stephanie, I wanted to add, do you have any plans for a follow-up post on how to help younger women or teens learn about the value and even occupation of being a mom?

  14. I NEVER thought I’d be a stay at home mom and definitely didn’t train to be one. In fact, I told my mom that I didn’t want to learn how to cook because someday I would have a cook to do that. Haha! After working through the first four years of having two kids, I decided that staying home was the right thing for our family. It is such a blessing to stay home, I LOVE being a stay at home mom. I often turn down opportunities to work (part-time or other) because I feel that it would take my thoughts away from my primary responsibilities at home. This may change when our children are older, though.

    My biggest issue is that I don’t have any friends that stay at home. They all work either part or full time. Most of their husbands do not value a stay at home role and my husband is often asked “when is Tiffany going back to work?” or “how does Tiffany deal with the stigma of being a stay at home mom?” UGH. It’s hard going against the grain.

  15. Coming from a community that really encourages becoming wives and moms instead of school, I still feel this way a lot of the time. Being a great mom and wife doesn’t always come naturally to me but it’s been such a blessing to learn.

  16. Ladies, be thankful and joyful that you get to do what you do. My heart aches to be home with my little one instead of wasting my time away in the corporate world in a “career” that is nothing more than a job. The things that the others tell you that you should be doing are worldly things that are only temporary. What you are blessed to be doing impacts eternity and I pray that one day I will have the privledge of being able to focus on serving my family first rather than them getting what is left of me at the end of the day/week. The pressures on women to be super woman at a job and then to come home and be super mom and carry out those roles and responsibilities as well is overwhelming.

  17. I appreciate that you use the words “what God has called me to do.” It’s so important to remember that God’s calling for every woman is not the same and that some women are called to education and careers because God has big plans for them in their respective arenas.

  18. Your comment “because although not every daughter is assured of being married or having children, this is the normative path for women in scripture, and it is what we feel that we ought to be preparing our daughters for” stroke a chord with me. Not every woman is “asssured” of being married or having children…what about not every woman “is called” to be married or a mother? Not every woman “wants” to be a mother or wife just let you know; they are satisfied with serving the Lord, missionary work, a career where they are helping people, etc. And yes, the women in the Bible had the usual path of wife and mother, but I will raise my daughters to be remarkable, self-respecting women first, then wife and mother second. Because what if she isn’t called to be wife and mom?

    Believe me, I am not a feminista but not every woman is called to marry, or “assured” a husband or children. The selection of your words is what is bothersome.

  19. Oh yes I think about my attitude every day…lately it just feels like I am failing SO much. I feel like I am just surviving and I want to thrive…its so hard sometimes. One thing that has helped me a lot is to remember the fruit of the spirit and try to quote it to myself and then it affects my attitude.

  20. Oh man this was like a jab at my heart….but a good one. I needed to “hear” that I’m not the only mom who wasn’t prepared and still feels under prepared. Here I am three kids in and I feel like a teenage who has no clue what to do sometimes. Sometimes I read blogs and I feel like I’m reading into perfect people, although I know there is no such person in the flesh, I still feel like everyone else has got it and is doing it better than me and I’m just trying to make it through the day. This post was so convicting, really challenging my heart to live what I desire to see in my girls. Not just a love for where the Father places them but for the Father as well. That we do on a daily basis should be done to honor the Father….so much for my grumpy attitude today :o(

    Thanks for these words of conviction and encouragement.

  21. I definitely DO struggle with this. I grew up with a working mom and a dad that wasn’t around to help out. My mom never cooked and when she did it was horrible. She was great at keeping house, something I lack, but then my kids are in the house all day long, so it gets dirty. I have been doing this for 10 years now and I still feel bad at it. I sometimes wish I had a “real” job with real appreciation and real pay. I feel like I would be contributing more to my home if I did. Because right now, I hate cooking and I’m not very good at it. I have a hard time staying organized even though I do homeschool and try to maintain some kind of order. It’s just not easy for me. My mom knew how to sew but never passed that on to me. I guess if anything, what motivates me, is that I never got to learn from my Mom these things so I want to pass them on to my kids, but still I struggle with feeling its important. I feel sometimes I might be ruining my kids. It’s hard to embrace things with joy.

  22. This really spoke to me. I am a full-time working mom b/c I never thought there was another way. The message I got from my family and the world was being a homemaker was beneath me. My heart always desired a husband and family but the world redirected me to its pursuits. I married late and God blessed me with 2 kids who are growing up so fast and it breaks my heart daily to have to work outside the home. My house is a mess, I’m not very helpful to my husband b/c I’m worn out from work, my children get the worst time of day with me. And my husband is not the main breadwinner–I make a bit more than he does. So I can’t say that my salary just covers extended care, dry cleaning, etc. so it’s not fiscally worth it for me to work. It’s like I need a good excuse to be the woman God calls us to be. Now both my kids are in elementary school and my family and the culture tell me I don’t need to be home because what would I do? The kids are in school all day. I think there is a lot I can do for my home and I appreciate your post to add to my daily prayers on this subject.

    1. @Tina, I understand how you feel. After we were married 4 years, we moved near my husband’s family. Our daughter was 3, and I was able to stay home mostly until then. However, my husband worked for his dad, made $400/2 weeks, and it was NOT enough. I got a job as a bookkeeper/clerk in a health food store, and did massage on the side. My income was necessary. However, I still found myself mostly responsible for our daughter and the home. My daughter and I started to fight and she became very difficult to deal with (had been very easy before), our house was a mess, and I was stressed and resentful toward my husband.:( After I had a miscarriage at 4 months, I was very depressed, but there was one week that made the difference to me… I worked 80 hours, never saw my daughter, except to rush her to childcare, pick her up at night to feed her and give her to my husband for a couple hours of work, then back to put her to bed. I made more money in that week than in months of normal work. However, I was worn out, my husband and I were fighting, my daughter was a terror and crying all the time, and my home was trashed. In the end, no matter how much I was a ‘success’ in the world, if I was not doing well ‘at home’, it meant nothing. I prayed about it, and within a year, my husband got a promotion, I quit one job, did massage on the side, got pregnant, had another baby, and our home became much better, though not perfect. We live on 1/2 to 2/3 what we had before, but it IS worth it.

  23. Beautiful and thoughtful post! I was always encouraged to get a career but also saw my mother who was a homemaker. It is because of her example, that I saw that a homemaker was not a boring career but very important. When she wasn’t running the household, she did bookkeeping or other office tasks for other ministries… all from home.

    The “being joyful” part is SO important, though. I have one memory (about 12 yrs old) of overhearing my Mom talk to someone that she was never able to be a missionary and travel the world and regretted it. It broke my heart. We, kids, were her mission field. She saw me crying and realized what she said had more impact than she realized. It was a big turning point for both of us. Even at that age, I saw the importance of being a homemaker and how much children need to see their mothers at peace and joyful.

    The funny thing is, now that we are all grown, she is able to travel the world as a missionary. It’s funny how things turn out. 🙂

    Thank you for sharing and teaching mothers that a homemaker is a valid, rewarding, and important role. Raising children to be responsible leaders of our next generation is an honorable job.

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