Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mother Culture

A long passage, but truly worth reading (especially for mothers) and very much what is on my mind and heart at present.

"Somewhere it is written that "A mother is only a woman, but she needs the love of Jacob, the patience of Job, the wisdom of Moses, the foresight of Joseph and the firmness of Daniel".  But a mother not only has to have all these things, she must have them all at once, often when she is quite young, and too often when she has had no previous training of any kind for the marvelously varied duties she has to perform.  Before she marries, a young lady does not imagine herself facing the difficulties of managing the complicated workings of a household. Untried responsibilities come upon her as soon as she does marry.  And perhaps, just as she is grasping the situation, her first child is born and fills her whole heart.  Then, not only her own health but that of another's depends on how she manages her life. The question of child training and how to "bring up" children becomes a new study and practical concern.
Another child is born, who eventually becomes a sunny companion for the first. But it seems that with each passing year, a mother's job description is revised. The desire for her husband's love and friendship is still strong, but a careful division of her attention is given up to the various aspects of maintaining a happy, well-managed home.  Time alone with her husband now seems to have to be either previously planned moments or stolen ones. There are holiday celebrations to arrange, extended family parties and visits, church functions, occasions for neighbourly hospitality, etc. In the center of it all is one little woman- wife, mother, mistress all in one! 
Is is a wonder she feels overspent? She wears herself out. In her efforts to be dietitian, laundress, nurse, hostess, teacher, taxi driver, wife, mother and mistress, she forgets that she needs a little time for herself.  And it is then that she stops growing spiritually and mentally. Physically she feels ragged and drags through the day until, without being able to mark the hour it began, she lives with depression. Her mind is in a drifting fog when she wants it to think clearly and efficiently. With the distractions of her multi-faceted duties she is unable to follow a train of thought."  (here, here!! thank heavens I'm not the only one!...)  "She considers herself hopelessly behind in everything. Her feet are in the quagmire. It takes an incredible amount of effort to keep up appearances, to wear a winsome countenance. The last straw is the guilt she feels that she is "lukewarm" in the Lord. If I hadn't experienced these symptoms myself I wouldn't be writing this chapter.  Therefore I can validate the need for Mother Culture.
A fresh wind of change will revive you when you participate in Mother Culture. some may say, "I simply have no time for myself". Others, "I don't think it is right to think of myself". Such mothers are stuck in a rut of self-sacrifice to the extent that they are starving themselves spiritually, mentally, and consequently, emotionally. Their children will grow up with that "Oh it's only mother", tone in their voice. Some children will eventually carry the attitude that they know more than mother on all points.
But all this can be altered. Each mother must settle this for herself. The only way to do it is to be so deeply impressed herself with the necessity of growing that she makes it an aim in life.

I think it is a definite gain to the whole family when mother is able to take a little time to pursue her own interests, whether they be crafts, painting, sewing, gourmet cooking, a literature group, gardening, goings to plays or ballets with her husband, or bicycling. "I have no time for these simple pleasures," is the mournful cry. Yes, there isn't time for ALL of them. Think seasonally. One interest per season, coupled with thirty minutes of reading a day, may be all that is needed to keep up the mother culture and regain any lost enthusiasm for living.  Billy Graham said "Mothers should cultivate their souls, that in turn they may cultivate the souls of their children". If we would do our best for our children, grow we must. On our growth depends, not only our future happiness, but our future usefulness".

- Karen Andreola, The Charlotte Mason Companion, chapter 46 -

I love this. :)  What do you all think??


Karen said...

Sounds good to me...but I admit my "me" moments tend to be time stolen from sleep (early morning, after bedtime or things I can do while the children play in between questions and solving sibling issues ... and then there's the babysitting issue (my husband's a truck driver without a predictable schedule)...but I do read frequently so I guess that counts towards growth? And then of course I read some blogs... :-)

Anonymous said...

So true girlfriend!! I mean to make this MY season. Not 100% sure how to do it yet, but am taking some steps. And stuff the guilt!!!!
Love Helen!!

Anonymous said...

Every word of this chapter rings so very true, and I think would speak to every mother on the planet!! This from a Mum whose youngest is nearing 20 years old. Go for it girls!!! Get inspired to make some "you" time in every day. Mum

Kelly said...

Here, here, Saminda! I loved it!

In fact, I just read another blog post about making wise use of our time. Instead of feeling like we *deserve* to do what we want with our time, we need to seek first if we're wisely using the time that we have for our Lord. This post fits in perfectly with that and, to me, completes the message: God purposes that we, as women/wives/mothers, need Him to fulfill us before anything earthly can. We need to recharge, rejuvenate and reconnect with Him, and that means not only serving others but serving our souls, treating ourselves as students and disciples who need to learn and be renewed and not only seek the education and renewal of others. We need things to help us grow, pursuits to refine us and whims to enjoy. Our families benefit. I've noticed that when I'm immersed in a good book and then take a week or two off from reading because "I'm too busy", my mood suffers. I need books - I need something to turn around in my head instead of dwell on negative thoughts that the devil can attack me with. I'm always mentally busy, but sometimes our hectic hands can lead to an idle mind, know what I mean? I certainly can find the time to read every single day, and I think that God wants me to favor this pursuit - to be busy with something to recharge myself, challenge myself and combat negativity from Satan. I think that's a biggie - doing what we need to do to keep away from sin, which includes complaining, ingratitude, etc.

GREAT post!

jazzy cat said...

I think this must be a struggle for mother's but it is also relevant for us all. Just taking time out to recharge and reestablish that relationship with God that you can feel slipping due to busy lives in general, is very important. Also, just reconnecting with who you are as an individual is also important and see what personal aspects you can develop/nurture more in this 'me' time! Lovely exert basically!

Renata said...

I love it!!
How well it describes my life. Thanks for sharing it!


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