(I hope you enjoy “So Glad I’m Here” by Elizabeth Mitchell. It’s one of my favorite songs about motherhood…)
Here’s an epiphany that changes everything for me: My working hours as a mother are never over.
When I forget the natural “forever” aspect of motherhood, I begin to think that my job as a mother is, say, 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. Oh, I feel so annoyed and resentful when my children need me “after hours”. Weren’t they supposed to be in bed hours ago?? Wasn’t I done my job for the day? Aren’t they supposed to grow out of this needy stage?? What’s with all this work?? With selfish questions like these swirling around in my mind, I don’t necessarily respond to my children with tenderness.
However, when I remember that I am their mother all of the time – that I am the person God designed to be here for my children when they are sick, scared, hungry, thirsty, wet, cranky, or disobedient at the most inconvenient hours – my attitude about serving them changes.
Do they need me at 10 p.m.? at 2 o’clock in the morning? Or worse, when I’m in the middle of a fun conversation with a friend? Or writing a blog post about motherhood? I remember the beautiful nature of my job and try to love them well. It’s always a better day when I respond as a mother and not as the employee of unreasonable 3-foot-tall bosses who call me into work while I’m on vacation.
My children are my people to love and nurture. Everything else in my life – homeschooling, writing, reading, ministry work – should have working hours, but my husband and children shouldn’t, don’t, and can’t.
Oh, and here’s the thing: the reality of around-the-clock motherhood underscores the importance of creating respite and boundaries for myself so that I can be available to serve my children. A private hour in the middle of the day, exercise in the early morning, devotional time in the evening are not “vacation time”, but part of the job. So, I must intentionally create these things in our day and teach my children how to respect them. At the same time, if they need me, I’m here for them. And I’m so glad.