My boys splashed happily in the bathtub, while I splashed vigorously with the bowl scrubber at the toilet. There I was, in the middle of multi-tasking genius. I mean, what better time to clean the bathroom then while the boys play with their bath toys? Suddenly, a thought tickled my brain: What if this is the last time they want to take a bath? They are getting older… you could be missing one of those “last times” and filling that space with… toilet cleaning?
I quieted my cleaning and hung up my gloves. Took a seat on the orange and blue step stool, and watched them play. I felt my soul grow still even as I listened to their happy chatter. I playfully swatted away some stray droplets and helped them make bubble beards. A new thought came stealing into my heart: What else am I missing in motherhood by multi-tasking?
Raising children is a prime example of “working our way out of a job” but sometimes we miss the whole journey because we’re anxiously studying the road map to make sure we didn’t miss a turn. Motherhood is not just a season of multi-tasking, but a precious time we can learn to trust God to provide for us.
Recently, a message our pastor preached on holiness struck me as so fitting for mothers. I Peter 3:5 talks about holy women who trusted God. I paused to ask myself, Is my mothering holy to God? Do I trust God in my mothering? Or do I think that I’m the one who has to make sure my kids turn out right?
For most of us moms, the day-to-day mundane tasks pile up, kids get whiney, and we’re often the only adult in the midst of the fray. We just want to get to the end of the day and have something to show—even if that’s just a long to-do list with lots of checkmarks on it! Sometimes, I think our multi-tasking can become an effort to show self-sufficiency. To say, “See, I did it!”
It’s too easy to add self-sufficiency to our daily chore list.
Yes, the very nature of the work of caring for children calls for multi-tasking: changing babies, fielding toddler potty time, and wrangling children’s curious choices in clothing. We have many needful things to get done in the course of the day. But that’s not the multi-tasking I mean.
I’m talking about when we become the ones who must ensure our children make good friends, make wise choices, pick the perfect college, and so on. We shoulder this burden with all the others and keep on hustling. We try to “do all things,” and wonder why we don’t feel like “enough.”
But the verse “I can do all things…” doesn’t end there. The next words are “through Christ.” That means, depending on God while you also have little ones dependent on you. Boys needs to see not their mom as the rock, who always got things done, but GOD as HER rock. God as the One mom always turned to and trusted to get her through the days. The One she trusted when the to-do list wasn’t checked off and when things didn’t fall out according to plan.
Moms, when you feel stranded instead of sacred, be still and invite God into your mothering space.
Trust that He has a purpose for our work with our little ones. I’m sure those holy women of the Bible did not have perfect days, perfect children, or perfect lives. But they were called holy because of their trust in God.Our purpose is no to be perfect moms with perfect kids, but to give glory to Him in all we do, the good, bad, and the ugly!
Holiness in motherhood happens when we hang up our work gloves and let God work in us.
Practically, here’s how we can begin making motherhood a holy endeavor:
- Commit your way. (Psalm 37:5). Set your daily tasks before God. Physically bring out that to-do list and pray that God would guide the choices you make about what to get done and what to leave for another time.
- Prepare with scripture. Have a verse you can cling to when you’re tempted to shoulder the entire burden of raising children. I like Psalm 37:5 mentioned above because right after committing our way, it says we should “trust also,” meaning it’s a two step process. I like to repeat this verse in my mind when I get anxious.
- Work while you wait. Psalm 37:34 says to “Wait for the Lord and keep his way” and I Corinthians 15: 58 tells us to “abound in the work.” Trusting God and allowing motherhood to be holy to God doesn’t mean we sit around doing nothing, it just means our mindset changes. We’re not working to draw attention to what we have done, but to what God is doing.