I write a lot about motherhood here. Duh. I’m a mama to 6. It’s the defining role of my life at the moment–the one in which I have invested the most “research” and prayer and interest and time and sweat equity (is puke equity a thing? That too).
Honestly, I look at it less as a role and more as a calling. Maybe you’re not called to motherhood, for one reason or another. Maybe you feel called to go to the Congo and share the gospel with the unreached or devote yourself to rescuing battered and lost women or any other myriad of ministries. That’s awesome. I just know that, regardless of anything else I add to it, since I do have half a dozen little souls to shepherd here in E. Texas, and that process takes up 90% of my waking hours, THIS is my primary mission field right now. (And if you’re in a similar situation, it’s yours too. Be encouraged in that).
But what about the other 10%? What about those moments when you feel that undeniable tug to: create, write, dance, sing, study, read, research, jump, run…WHATEVER!
Are those desires wrong? No! They are God-given talents that He has planted deep within your soul, and to deny them is to deny a part of what makes you uniquely His.
However. What you do with those desires? Practically? Well, that could go either way.
I’ve been really mulling over these ideas lately, and I’ll have more to share with you tomorrow, but for today, I wanted you to hear from another young mama.
Her name is Ashley, and she caught my attention when she commented on one of my Instagram posts, offering donkeys as a dowry for her daughter to marry Theo. That literally made me LOL (and I NEVER write that).
Ashley: I don’t necessarily recommend putting that one on your resume.
She even sent me an “audition photo” for Theo’s viewing pleasure.
Isn’t she precious???
Ashley shares one of my dearest dreams–to write/publish a book. Except she is interested in children’s books.
So, without further ado, I’ll let her tell you a little more about it herself…
I truly believe there is no greater calling than being a mom, but then again I am a little biased, since I get to spend my days with two adorable girls. I have no doubt that my job as a mother is an important one and that God is using me to impact my little ones’ lives and souls. Yet, among the dozen diaper changes, frequent night wakings, and super sassy toddler attitudes, I can’t help but wonder: Is there more?
God has given each of us amazing talents and passions, and when used correctly, they can advance his kingdom. So many times I feel guilty for daydreaming about writing books, especially when I haven’t been on top of laundry for the week or when I haven’t been finding joy in playing the same game over and over again with my three-year-old.
I know I am not alone.
The truth is that pursuing our passions alongside motherhood is not wrong. We can enjoy the fruits of our dreams as long as they fit inside God’s will and honor him. We can have that soul-satisfying desire met, while still putting God, our husband, and our children first.
Once I realized that I could achieve my passion for writing children’s books, I got to work. I wrote my book during one inspired night while pregnant with my second daughter. And then I went about trying to learn everything I could about Indie publishing. I even started interviewing illustrators.
There was only one problem.
As a mom, life does not sit still and calmly wait while you work on your goals and projects. Somebody always needs something and something always needs to be done.
Our dreams are not going to magically come true overnight. God requires that we have
diligence and perseverance when we work on our dreams. I had to do these three things to actually make my dream of becoming a children’s book author a reality.
• Be Intentional: We don’t know how much time God grants us, so we must be intentional with every moment we have. That is definitely easier said than done. I have to be purposeful and have a quiet time in my Bible. I have to give my girls my full attention when it is their time instead of checking my phone. I have to be in the zone when it’s time to work on my book.
• Simplify: No one can do it all. It is just impossible. You have to decide what your top priorities are and say “no” to the rest. The problem arises when you try to dabble in a little bit of everything. By doing that, you stretch your time too thin for your truest passions and talents. Repeat after me, Mamas: it’s okay to just say no.
• Ask for Help and Take Time to Refuel: Taking a five day vacation with just my husband was one of the best things I could have done for myself, my marriage, and my writing. Look for opportunities to get away from the busyness of life, even if it is just for an hour or two a week. This is your one distraction free moment to concentrate on your passions. Taking this time is mandatory. Trust me, it makes a world of difference to how you feel and how you treat your family when you return to them.
Many of us are stuck in the I’m “just a mom” mentality. But the truth is that there is no such thing. If “all” you accomplish on this earth is loving God, loving your family, and loving others, then you have done well, good and faithful servant.
However, I encourage you not to let your mom title be the excuse that keeps you from pursuing that one thing that is burning a hole in your soul. Take some quiet time (i.e. those five precious minutes in a closed bathroom) and do some soul searching. What passions and dreams are buried down there?
Ask God what dreams he wants you to pursue and which ones can be used for his glory. Fulfilling those dreams doesn’t just happen overnight or by whim. Sometimes it takes a lot of work and a lot of faith, but carving out slivers of time to pursue them is worth it because you are not “just a mom” (anymore than you are “just a student” or “just a clerk”).
You are an amazing child of God who has been blessed with unique abilities and talents for his glory.
I loved reading about Ashley’s desire to put her family first while still fulfilling a God-given talent–especially since it will, no doubt, be a huge blessing to her little girls, knowing that their Mama wrote that book with them in mind.
If you’d like to read more about Ashley’s book and maybe even participate in bringing it to fruition, you can here. (Something else cool: for every book you buy, Ashley will donate 2 more to children in need).
I’ve been thinking much about this lately as a mom to 4 (3 boys and a baby girl) ages 7 and under. I used to lead a Bible study, write, and blog Bible studies and mom life for women and now wonder if I’ll ever get back to it. I love being a mom and definitely feel it’s my calling and I do not want to rush a day of it, but feel the struggle to balance my passions. Thanks for this post!
Your comment about making feminists cringe made me cringe – feminism is, by definition, ‘advocating social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men’ – it’s about equal rights and equal opportunity for choosing what you do. If you choose to make parenting is the defining role for your life, that’s fine. There’s certainly no need to either excuse your choices or apologize, just as those ladies who choose other options needn’t do either either. We all deserve equality and acceptance, wouldn’t you say?! 🙂
I get that. And I don’t disagree. Nor do I disagree that I could have worded it better. My point was simply that admitting that motherhood is your primary defining role is not a popular concept currently but that, while I realize that, I can’t let that popular opinion rule my convictions.
Motherhood isn’t every woman’s calling. Many women choose or can’t have children for a variety of reasons. So to imply that it is every woman’s defining role is a very generalized statement. Motherhood is my primary role, but I also have a wonderful career. What one women’s convictions are doesn’t mean Jane Doe has the same convictions. There is so much ‘mom shame’ these days. Working vs. Stay at Home, Homeschooling vs. Public School, Breast Fed vs. Formula and the list goes on and on. We as women should lift each other up in prayer and encouragement. I’m thankful we live in a country where women have the right to choose what works best for them. Your blog is one of my favorites even though we live such different lives. We are both Christians though trying to do whats best for our family and in the end that’s all that matters.
Hi Amber, thanks for your thoughts. I was a little confused at first when I read your comment about implying that motherhood should be the defining role of every woman’s life because I definitely agree that it’s not everyone’s. As you said, some women choose to and/or cannot have children, so it couldn’t possibly define them. I read back through that first paragraph, & I don’t find anywhere that I am saying that motherhood should be the defining role of every woman (just that it’s mine). In fact, I was speaking much less to careers and more to the concept of ministry, which is why I mentioned going to the unreached or helping out battered women as callings. Rather than being a comment on someone who chooses a career, I was speaking to the mommas who, because they have young children at home or choose to homeschool or…whatever, feel like they don’t have a legitimate ministry. I’d love for them to be encouraged that they do, indeed, have a legitimate mission field right in their own homes, whether or not they have a career.
Okay, so this is one of the best posts about balancing your here and now life with your dreams! Love it, Ashley (and Abbie, too)! 🙂
I may have interpret your comment to Mae wrong then. When you wrote, My point was simply that admitting that motherhood is your primary defining role is not a popular concept currently but that, while I realize that, I can’t let that popular opinion rule my convictions. Sorry I miss read what you were trying to say, and thanks for clarifying.
No worries at all, Amber! When I said “your,” I meant “my.” Can totally see why that would confuse you. I actually went back and reworded that whole intro because I was not trying to be combative or defensive in it, and I certainly didn’t want it to take away from the true reason behind the post. I appreciate your kind words.