You know why motherhood is so hard? The work is never over. Our “employees,” and even sometimes coworkers, are often ungrateful, irrational, or illogical. And no janitors come to empty the trash or vacuum the carpets at night.
In my house, no one goes to their closet on Monday morning and says, “Wow Mom, my closet if full of clean clothes.” Instead, they ask for that pink tutu that they don’t take off long enough for me to wash—the one I had to hide so I could wash it in this week’s laundry. (I think I might be experiencing a period of #momburnout).
I don’t always feel this way, but this is where I am today. In this holy work of raising saints, I can get caught up in the work of homemaking and taking care of human needs, which feels burdensome and tiring at times. Motherhood is humble, hidden, and silent work. (Well, silent in the sense that there’s no applause when we put dinner on the table, not quiet as in the spaces we work).
The only encouragement on days like today, when I wonder what difference I’m making, comes from Jesus’ model of human life—for God elevated and even sanctified the dignity of humans and their work to divine stature when he himself became man. The greatest work in the history of the human race was the saving work of Jesus, dying for us and putting us in right relationship with the Father. He paid our debt for the sins we commit against him by offering his own life as a sacrifice.
As a mother, my death & sufferings usually look like this:
Child: “Mom can you lay in bed with me for ten minutes tonight?”
Mom (internal dialogue): “No, I cooked three meals for you today, I taught you school, my back hurts, I’m tired, and quite frankly, I want ten minutes to myself . . . or three hours . . . whichever I can get tonight!”
Mom (remembering Jesus): “Yes, love. I’d be happy to.”
In my life, my sufferings and the ways I die to myself can become the most important work that I do. If his greatest work was that of suffering and death, then when I suffer, feel sidelined, lay down my projects, life, and body for another human, but unite myself to his cross, Jesus promises me that I participate in his work of saving souls.
This season of my life could look to the world (and to me some days) as the most unproductive of times. I can even lie to myself and say, “I’ll do something of greater importance and accomplishment when the kids are out of the house.” But the reality is that, because I lay my own life down for another, this is probably the most productive and fruitful time in my life. We mothers are participating in the salvation of souls—the souls under our roofs and throughout the whole world—when we intentionally offer our sacrifices to Jesus. Join me in offering to Jesus all of our days, especially the moments that look most unfruitful, so that we may produce much fruit for his kingdom!
Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. (Jn 12:24).