by Alicia Jones - May 1, 2019
In His Time
Mothering Amid the Must-Dos
Time spent as a mother moves at a bewildering pace.
Hours at night are strangely short, yet long. The daytime can be a dizzying blur of activity where the hours leap ahead, or, in the case of a screaming infant or potty-training toddler, move with agonizing slowness. Milestones are even worse.
One moment, our babies are gulping their first breath of air, the next they are rolling over, taking their first step, starting school, or sitting behind the wheel for the first time. How did we blink and so many changes take place?
Time spent as a mother is unique in another way too.
How are we supposed to do all the things society and even our own conscience demands we do? And, worse, how are we supposed to do them all in one 24-hour day, every single day? Time doesn’t seem to have been made for us.
Mothering in today’s culture demands a level of perfection that may have never been seen. Whether it’s words from a book, screamed at us from the mommy wars, subtly hinted at in social media, or professionally advocated by teachers, pediatricians, and church leaders, there is an evergrowing list that we subconsciously engrave into our very souls.
The house needs to be spotless. Do we want people to think we live here?
Baby’s day must be comprised of perfectly charted nap, feeding, play, tummy, and alone time. Always.
The kids have to do at least three extracurricular activities every school semester. They will fail in society otherwise.
We have to eat organic, even if it takes an hour to get to the heath-food store.
Baby needs 24/7 interaction. We have to be fully present for her. Also, she needs alone time.
We need to have an uninterrupted Bible time every day. Uninterrupted.
I need to keep a good appearance, so the kids know I believe in taking care of myself. Wait—is that spit up all over my shirt?
Thousands upon thousands of must-dos have been thrust upon us—and these don’t even include the ones thrust upon us in our roles as wives, sisters, daughters, friends, businesswomen, and so forth.
The must-dos pile up, streaming atop our ever-growing pile.
It’s all rather like the laundry, accumulating in the basket. Or the floor. Or the bed. This never ceasing cycle that never seems complete and is ever-growing.
And, often, the must-dos are all good, desirable things. Eating right, teaching kids to be sociable, keeping a clean house, and studying God’s Word are all amazing things to do. The pressure is more real, because all of those things are things we want to do.
I understand the list. As a wife, mother, businesswoman, and ministry wife, the must-dos are a mile long. To be fair, not all of them are from society. Many of my must-dos are self-imposed, based on my standards. It gets very easy to be very overwhelmed with all of my own priorities—and then those of society get hammered down atop them.
But I will never forget a conversation with a friend. I was frantically endeavoring to figure out how I could be all the things, all at once, all the time. And what she told me has always come back to me.
You won’t be and do everything—all the things, all the must-dos—all the time.
And it’s okay.
There are seasons in life. There are different days. There are different moments. Even the perfect Proverbs 31 woman wasn’t doing everything all at once. There were days she sold products. There were days she made clothes. There were days she took care of children. And she had help in doing these things.
We shouldn’t expect more for ourselves. There simply isn’t enough time in the day to make perfection happen.
There will be days when the house is spotless—and there will be days that make us appreciate the spotless days so much more.
There will be days when we make that trek to the organic store and eat like the super health heroes we are—and there will be days when fish sticks and PB&J on (horrors!) white bread get the job done.
There will be days when we are more present for our children—and there will be days when they get a little more alone time.
It will all even out.
When we strive to be all the things and do everything all at once, we lay an impossible task upon ourselves: one that cuts off the joys of mothering and enslaves us to all that is truly important. If all the must-dos become more important than the precious babies and children we are serving, we have missed the point.
And then the good things we are trying to do are no longer good.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. - Ecclesiastes 3:1
In Ecclesiastes, there is a passage that talks about this.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
The passage goes on to list all of the many things there is a time for. But they are not all done at once. And, at the end of the passage, it says that God makes everything beautiful in His time.
All of the little things we do are culminating to make a beautiful picture in His good time.
The picture to beauty is a journey. All of those good must-dos are going to get done—just not all at once. There will be bad days and good days on the journey, but they will get done. It will even out.
And, as they are being done, enjoy the journey. Praise God for the days when you are supermom, but also praise Him for the days that make the other days possible. Praise Him for taking all of the good must-dos and weaving them together piece by piece—because you don’t have the strength to weave them all together all at once.
Praise Him in every season of the time He has given us.
Alicia A. Willis is a Christian Historical Fiction author, mother of two sweet babies (one in heaven and one on earth), ministry wife, and coffee connoisseur. When not doing research for her novels or teaching piano, she enjoys water colors, playing with her dogs, singing, and adventures with her hubby. Join her on social media or check out her website to learn more about her books and the ministry the Lord has called them to. http://www.aliciaannewillis.com/