Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Mission of Motherhood

I bought Sally Clarkson's The Mission of Motherhood used for $3 on Amazon after seeing it recommended by one of my favorite bloggers (Jess Connell).  It took me a few months to actually pick it up and read it, but I'm so glad I did.

I'm going to break my notes down into a few different posts so as not to overwhelm you. Suffice it to stay I underlined half the book and have a lot to share. :-)

Part One

Clarkson is a huge proponent of "intentional parenting." This is something I've been working on for a while - having a plan and purpose, not just parenting mindlessly. She says, " ...being a mother is a full-time job . . . It is a responsibility that rightly commands our primary attention and calls for an intentional commitment" (49).

If nothing else, what I took away from this book was the call to selfless mothering. To setting aside my desires and selfishness to be present in my girls' lives. Clarkson uses the verse Romans 12:1 to remind us that we are to be living sacrifices. I loved how she relates this to mothering.
"How do we make the commitment to give the area of motherhood over to God as a sacrifice of worship to him? We yield our personal rights . . . we give up our time and expectations to him - and also our fears and worries about how we will manage. We trust him to take care of us and our family. We let him redirect our thinking and expectations and adjust our dreams. And we wait in faith to see the fruit of our hard labor . . ." (54)
Clarkson explains that by deciding ahead of time to be selfless, we are less likely to be ruffled by inconveniences. "I will expect problems and needs to arise and be ready to deal with them in peace instead of impatience and resentment" (67).  It's true that I'm less likely to be annoyed when Lucy asks for a drink if I'm sitting next to her playing than I would be if I was busy scrolling through facebook.

Later on in the chapter, Clarkson talks about a realization she had that strongly echoes my own thoughts of late: "God did not want me to resent my children for taking up my time. Neither did he want me to make them feel guilty for the sacrifices I had made on their behalf" (69). And a few pages later, she sums up so much of how I've been feeling for the past year: "I struggled irrationally with their demands and then felt guilty for struggling" (71). Her point is that we need to decide to be selfless instead of constantly trying to hold onto our selfishness and be a loving, involved mom.

One of the things I love about this book are the practical applications at the end of each chapter. At the end of the chapter on "The Servant Mother" Clarkson gives this suggestion:
"Make a list of some things your children like you to do with them but aren't necessarily fun for you - playing a board game on the floor with a young child, going outside to throw a ball . . . and so on. Commit to saying yes to their responses instead of no, knowing that if you invest in what is important to them, they will be open to believing in what is important to you." (77)
I tried this today. I fell asleep on the couch during Lena's morning nap and let Lucy watch "Frozen" in its entirety. So I felt horribly guilty upon waking up at 10:00 and realizing how pathetic I was. I decided to spend the rest of the day saying "yes" to Lucy. (Within reason.) All she wants to do is play "house and school." All day, every day. It drives. me. crazy. I want to play board games or do puzzles or read books - something with a concrete beginning and end. Something with some sort of purpose. She wants to just play the same pretend scenarios a thousand times. So we played for hours today. Honestly, by 7:00, I told Justin I needed some alone time and retreated to my bedroom. Haha. Maybe it takes practice. Or maybe I should scale back on letting her dictate everything and throw in a few structured activities here and there - for my own sanity. But I feel so much better about the time we spent together than I would have if I'd spent the day browsing Pinterest or scrubbing my floors. And Lucy feels loved. I can give up my selfishness once in a while for that, can't I?

Stay tuned for the rest of the notes on The Mission of Motherhood . . .

{Part 2} {Part 3}

2 comments:

  1. Wow, this really resonates with me. I think I need to read that book.

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  2. I have this book... but haven't read it. I got it when I was going to join an online book discussion/Bible study about it, then I never got into it. Sounds like good stuff, maybe I should pull it out again. I definitely struggle with "me time" vs. "them time" etc, especially since I work part time.

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