Thursday, January 6, 2011

True Lies of Motherhood (or Womanhood?)

It's Thursday, a writing day.  Typically I drop the kids off at 9:30 (at their preschool), head to my favorite writing spot, and write for at least two hours.  This is my Tuesday/Thursday routine - the only time, truth be told, that I focus exclusively on writing.  The rest of my days and weeks are filled with kids, home, husband, general household stuff.

This week I've had a hard time getting back into the swing of things post-holiday.  My house is back together, but I still feel a little upside-down.  Graciously, I've felt the Holy Spirit prompt me to use Tuesday & Thursday to rest this week.  There has been no pressure to be productive.  No pressure from Him, anyway.

Here's how my day has gone today:
  • 6:20 a.m. up with my youngest
  • 7:00 a.m. both kids up and eating breakfast; husband wakes up to help
  • 7:15 a.m. husband is changing diaper of oldest while youngest eats and I make lunches
  • 7:30 a.m. husband sits with oldest as he starts breakfast; I load youngest into the car along with everything we need for school later - we head off for our weekly blood draw
  • 8:10 a.m. we finally arrive at the lab (across town in rush hour traffic) for our blood draw
  • 8:40 a.m. we leave for home, making my husband late - argh!
  • 8:40-9 a.m. call Lily's doctors (two of them) regarding certain testing; call my dog's Vet to discuss the two tumors we found in his mouth last week; return a friend's phone call
  • 9:00 a.m. arrive home, load oldest into car, double-check 'provisions', kiss husband goodbye, head to school
  • 9:15 a.m. stop by Starbuck's on the way to school to treat myself to a hot chocolate
  • 9:30 a.m. drop kids at school; hugs and kisses all around
  • 9:45 a.m. back at home, I ask God how to order my time...there's a lot to do.  I start the laundry while thinking.  I put away stray toys while thinking.  I make beds while thinking.
  • 10 a.m. brief Quiet Time
  • 10:15-11 a.m. pay bills, balance our budget, return emails, keep laundry going
  • 11-12 eat an early lunch, bake brownies, continue laundry, clean kitchen, research a property we're trying to sell
  • 12 noon I pick up where I left off with regard to researching how, when, where to submit the four finished picture books I currently have in my reservoir
  • 12:30 I can't resist actually writing, just a little, as I think in my head..."I'm a sloth...I've done nothing today.  Am I dishonoring my husband by making him work so I can sit around and be a kept woman?"
  • 12:35 p.m. I start this blog post, laughing at myself and wondering how many of you can relate to these thoughts

"Kept" woman?  If I stop and think, I never sit around and do nothing.  Even if I'm watching TV with my husband, I'm also going through the mail, running the dishes, keeping the laundry going (a never-ending task), reading a book, or writing in my journal (often I do more than one of those things at once).  How many of you, my female friends, are exactly like this?  How often are you still?  And if you ever are, how guilty do you feel about it?

This week I've been struck several times by how fleshy I am.  I don't feel condemned - not at all.  Instead, I feel sad.  The moments where I've witnessed my sinful nature have been full of regret and desire for change.  I know I can do nothing to change myself.  This must be a work of the Holy Spirit; He must engage my flesh and transform it into His image.  My job is to allow Him.

I wonder how much more this might happen if I actually chose to be still?  (Psalm 46:10)  I wonder how I would be transformed if I ceased to indulge in guilt and self-reprimanding, if I stopped acting as my own judge.  All morning long I've been plagued by the ghost of the thought: "you're not good enough.  You need to do more, be more."  The thought was not that clear, but that was the heart of it.  That's what is behind my need to feel productive, my fear of disappointing (in this case, my husband, by making his sacrifice seem like it's for naught).

The struggle is cliche.  It's been written about countless times, yet I still wanted to share.  I wanted to put it out there to say to all of my mommy, housewife, career women friends: you do enough.  You love, you inspire, you produce.  You are plenty good enough.  I'm not sure what else to say, other than: I hope these words speak to your heart.  I hope you feel the deep approval God has for you in them.  I hope you are encouraged, dear ones.  With love, Jenny


  1. What an amazing way to bless your friends, dear one.

  2. Hi! Popping by from Amy Sullivan's place. Thanks for your kind words about my post there.

    This is a great post! I really have to watch that I don't put all my identity and self worth in my projects. I'm definatly prone to it - it's so easy, and fun! I love my projects... they can run away with me if I'm not careful.

    Thanks for sharing!
    -Kim @

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  4. Really loved you identifying in your post the cause of your angst, "not good enough, not producing". The hard work of self understanding is the hardest work of all as a mother, but oh so important, so we don't live compelled lives rather we are freed to live convicted ones. You are such a joy, so brave, so continuously faithful to your love of Christ and your relentless pursuit of him. There is joy in the offering! And do know, that being a mommy heart to your dear ones, guiding and protecting their hearts, is infinitely more important that laundry, cooking, cleaning, shopping, or bringing in income. There is no one else poised as well as you, with your mother's heart, to love and believe in, train and disciple, your two sweet babies. And they want for no one other than you either! You are a great mommy. Love you, Mary Robin

  5. Hey there Jenny! New blog groupie, first-time poster here. Rest is a hard one for me too. A few months back when I was reading exodus in my quiet time came across study bible note which said that the Sabbath was given partly as a gift to man. I had and would have never thought of it that way. It took us until two weeks ago to start practicing a more intentional Sabbath. The first week was horrible - I was shocked at how unable I was to enjoy relaxing, how many times I reached to get working on something. Love this post and all that I have read so far. I have a lot of catching up to do. You are doing an amazing job writing this blog! love, jess