A Mother's Presence
by Vicki GRECH
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Many people it seems grossly underestimate the value and worth of a mother’s presence in the home on a full-time basis. Adulthood is fully dependent upon the training and life experiences of childhood. Many people believe that they spend almost their entire adulthood trying to get over their childhood. I doubt many would argue that providing a balanced foundation for rearing children is a critical element in becoming; “a well adjusted, secure, happy and peaceable adult member of society”.
Before proceeding any further I wish to point out this article is not directed at those “out-to-work” moms who do not have a choice to be a stay-at-home mom. I do acknowledge there are many moms who are simply not able to stay at home with their children. This article is directed more so to those moms who have made a “trade-off” by choice in their lives and those of their children to work outside the home.
Mother-craft and home-care positions are seen by many as “mundane, repetitive and boring”. I can only say that perhaps those who do not see the “true value” in the roles that are considered imperative in any Christian family setting have missed the point. The presence of a full-time mother in the home provides a balanced structure for the model and framework of Christian life in the family home. Psalms 127:3 – “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward”.
Motherhood or mother-craft is one that should not be taken lightly and is an enormous responsibility. In addition to this, God also expects we raise our children His (God’s), way, not our own. For God’s wisdom is far greater than our own as for those who have read the Bible would be aware. However, in saying this, it may not always provide a guarantee of producing a “good" child as such, but it certainly improves the chances.
The Bible gives clear instruction in many instances throughout the Bible with regard to the practice of motherhood and home care. God tells us we should be available to our children constantly and consistently to train them effectively. Deuteronomy 6:6–7 (ESV) – “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise”.
I hear many women say they can adequately fill both their roles of motherhood and homecare whilst working outside the home. I beg to differ and I seriously question the integrity of this claim. Perhaps the key element missing in this statement is – “quality”. Yes, maybe they can do the both, however, can they provide the same “qualitative “ care as stay-at-home moms? By this I mean; can they provide constant and consistent training and structure in providing a “working model” by example that supports the framework of a Christian family lifestyle. I doubt very much they can when you consider mother-craft and home-care is a full time job in itself! How anyone can seriously claim to fit on average 16 hours of “quality” mother-craft and home-care a day into just 4 r 5 hours is beyond me.
I also question their “qualitative” presence in every situation a mother is confronted with in her average day. Let us take just a quick look at some of the tasks mothers are assigned almost daily – cook, cleaner, laundry service, courier, taxi, banker, accounting, nurse, counsellor, babysitter, CEO, over-seer, living encyclopaedia and so on. I am sure many could add to this list!
Now, the issue here is “quality vs. quantity”! We can all do a long list of tasks in a day; however, can we perform each one with a high degree (standard), of Christian quality? By this I mean; with patience, love, gentleness, discipline, listening (truly). In other words – time for each task to ensure a quality outcome. Being a stay-at-home mom certainly allows for “time” in a mother’s day. I truly could not say the same for an “out-to-work” mom, it simply is not possible. A mother’s presence is just that, a full-time (always present), mother and home carer always on and ready for duty.
There used to be an old saying – “motherhood is for life”, this can be viewed in a variety of ways and each is valid.
Firstly, once you become a mother, it is a “life-time” position. Although as our children grow into adulthood our physical input is obviously no longer required. However, the “nurturing” a mother provides does not end when a child reaches adulthood. A mother will be required to continue providing assistance, guidance and advice as their children begin families of their own. In most cases adult children will mimic the role model their parents had set for them as children. In turn, they pass their training onto their children. Therefore, the cycle of motherhood and child rearing continues. At this point, we as mothers become “grand mothers”, a sort-of graduation if you like. A step up the hierarchy of motherhood. Proverbs 22:6 (ESV) “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it”.
Secondly, “motherhood for life”, reflects exactly that in a literal sense. Children depend on their parents, especially the mother to provide a balanced structure on which they can build their own lives. The training, nurturing, love and discipline they receive along the way will be in almost every case the governing factor in “how” they will live their lives as adults.
A mother’s full time presence is critical in the lives of their children if they desire their children to have a fruitful life. In other words; “motherhood for life”, our children’s lives depend on it.
Thirdly, “motherhood for life” reflects the visionary model displayed in the Bible in words, God’s Word - Titus 2:4–5 (ESV) 4 “and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled”. By providing Christian instruction, we as mothers are building a solid foundation on which our children’s lives rest, with God. A Way, a way of life, for life, if it is to be “fruitful” all ways. Like any construction, the “foundation” holds each element that is carefully laid atop until completion. Children are no different, if the foundation is not solid from the outset, there really is little hope for the children to develop and progress with absolute stability.
I have been a mother myself spanning 36 years and home schooling my children for 17 of them. I have worked as a freelance writer of Education and Poetry, a passion I have for each of these categories. My first passion of writing for Education developed with the introduction in Australia of home schooling. In the mid-1980’s, home schooling was “not allowed”. It was not illegal, but few had challenged our Education system to educate their own children. I had a battle on my hands along with many others and by 1990; we had won our case in the Courts. From there I began liaising with our Education Dept and providing support (along with other moms), for “what” (criteria), should be set and included in Home-Schooling Documentation. I provided support to other home-schooling moms setting out on a new journey of educating their own kids.
I raised my own five children on the “Christian” model of mother-craft and home-care. My mother had raised me on it, and it seemed to work well for me, so naturally, I continued the practice. My mother died when I was just 16, a few months later, I met my soul mate, whom I married! Within a month, I was expecting our first child. Being ferociously independent and still suffering the trauma of losing my mom, I was determined to raise my children on my own, my own way. The women in my husband’s family kindly offered to show me “how to do it”. Of course, I was a rebellious grieving teenager given my circumstances. My husband I knew; was a “God-send”, a blessing, a sort-of replacement for my mom. Someone who would love me, take care of me, nurture and protect me, and finish the job my mom was not able to.
Amazingly as I look back over my life as a child with her, never once did she ever take a hand to me. Her form of “discipline” came in my having to deal with my own conscious. She learned this from Jesus Teachings found in the New Testament. She taught through the use of Parables and Pro-Verbs as she called them. She called them “pro-verbs” because – “one requires a thought prior to an action”. A philosophy my mom found worked well. Looking at my two sisters and myself today, I have to agree with her. I followed the same Christian role of motherhood and home-care that she herself had provided to me. Not so much as to “copy” her, but because I realized, even at 16, that her methods of “mothering” worked very well on me! Thus, I figured, if it worked for her, it should work for me, thankfully, I can honestly say, it did.
I myself was a “full time” mother and home carer, in between and “secondary” to that, I home-schooled my children, studied in between and helped with my husband’s business in the office. Here is the most profound and significant difference between a stay-at-home mom and an out-to-work mom; “primary and secondary” positioning of roles. Out-to-work moms hold the position of mother-craft and home-care “secondary” to their outside job. Stay-at-home moms hold their position in the exact opposite; the role of mother-craft and home-care are “primary” positions in their lives. The quality they are able to provide is highlighted in almost every instance through their children. In other words – “their mothering skills shine through their children”. They have the “time” to inject “quality” into their position rather than simply “quantity”, and this is essentially the trade-off. Quality is what makes the significant difference in the final product, the children.
As I look around at today’s “modern-moms”, I see two very profound words omitted from their vocabulary. “Selflessness and time”, the key ingredients and elements required for attaining the best result possible in the child-rearing process. These two elements have been “traded-off” it seems for the heart’s desire, usually the acquisition of materialism. Needless to say, the children, the final product, are the physical, emotional and spiritual “trade-off”. Please remember folks, I am not directing this article to those out-to-work moms who do not have the opportunity of being able to be a stay-at-home mom. For these moms who have no choice, I have a great deal of empathy and my heart goes out to them.
However, for those who “choose” to trade-off their God-given position of motherhood perhaps you may need to seriously evaluate and analyse the role of a mother. It goes far beyond simply darting in and out whenever you have the chance. Making a mad-dash to clean the house, prepare and cook the meal, wash the floors etc., Whisking the kids off to school in the morning ensuring they have everything is not as all it appears to be. There is so much more to being a mother than simply ensuring all on the home front is in order. It is about providing that “critical element” we call “time”. Time enables us to inject and maintain quality into anything we do.
To demonstrate my point above let me present this scenario –
The kids are up late in the morning, everyone is rushing around, you are struggling to get yourself ready for work. Your child approaches you looking pale and feeling miserable. Your boss is facing a challenging day as he has informed you the day before. Suddenly, your mothering instincts are challenged to the highest level through your child’s distress and tears. Imagine yourselves in this position and ask yourself – “do I really have time for this situation this morning”? Sadly, the “truthful” answer is “no”, you do not. Why? Because you have to present yourself at work on time.
Let us continue imagining the outcome – you hastily grab a tissue, dry your child’s eyes and say something like this; “we’ll sort it out tonight honey”. The outcome; a child’s needs “traded-off” for the dollar of which you can live without. The little one goes off to school feeling “unimportant”, and “second” to everyone and everything else. It is little wonder mental disorders are bombarding children so much more these days. Furthermore, you more than likely will turn up for work distracted and a little upset. This will impact on your “quality” performance at your outside job. Hence, in just one morning, you have two failings and each the trade-off between quality vs. quantity. Yes, the out-to-work mom has managed to fill two roles that morning; however, neither outcome is really satisfactory. Thus, in essence, little if anything has been achieved except to negate both roles with regard to quality control and performance. From my observations, this is an extremely common situation in almost every household where a mother’s presence is lacking on a full time basis.
Even today, as I hope to complete this article, already running a little late, I am interrupted again. This time to take my daughter to the local Show that I had promised I would do. I am a very industrious person and would really prefer to stay in my home office writing my article; however, it is “secondary” to motherhood. Thus, this article goes in a little behind schedule. However, thankfully being a writer of Christian content, my many “bosses” are patient and fully understand writing is “secondary” to mothercraft and home-care. Therefore, I will take this opportunity to apologize for its lateness!
Many working mothers have said to me that – “we cannot afford to stay at home”. This I believe is somewhat of an illusion where affordability is concerned. People spend exuberant amounts of money these days on everything from toys to electronics, including food. I believe society has become spoiled to the degree of no longer being able to discern what is “needed” from what is “desired”. For example, a child “needs” a sandwich for lunch and a piece of fruit perhaps. However, a child does not need a chocolate bar, biscuits and lollies as well. Of the latter being, expensive commodities added to kid’s lunch-boxes. In addition, of those I might add are not healthy lunches anyway, so really, we are doing our children no favour in adding them.
A commodity few can truly “afford” and yet bust the household budget to buy. For the $20.00 or so per week mothers shell out for these “treats” could be better spent on milk, bread, meat, fruit and/or vegetables. Healthier foods that feed not only the body but also the mind. High sugar foods literally “super-charge” many children sending them into varying degrees of behavioural disorders. It would appear everything from communication devices to food is in a state of “over indulgence”. This forces many people, especially mothers, into believing they “have” to work outside the home. It seems today’s parents have - “spared the rod and spoiled the child (and themselves)”, and in the process, made a rod for their own backs.
I see children doing their temper-tantrums in the store where mothers will bend easily into buying a child anything they want just to “shut-them-up”. This developing trend of acceptance of this form of “blackmail” has disastrous results in adulthood. As an adult, these children accustomed to getting just about everything they “want” struggle in their adult years with overwhelming debt. A condition modelled to them throughout childhood, as they have never been given the opportunity to learn “self control and discipline”. An essential and critical ingredient into one’s character in order to live well.
The Bible has million-dollar advice about self-control and discipline, it is found in - Proverbs 13:24 ESV) 24 “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, (or daughter), but he who loves him (or her), is diligent to discipline him (or her)”.
Teaching a child discipline and self-control is showing your love for them. It is far more difficult to say “no” than it is to say “yes”. As mothers it would be ideal to always be a “friend” to our children, however, this is a false sense of reality. Like any other relationship in our lives, it should not be dependent upon what we can get out of it. If this factor determines the peace maintained throughout the relationship, then really one does not exist. It is little more than a delusion.
I hear so many people say – “oh God, if only there were instructions that came with the children”! I must admit to having quite a giggle when I present my response. I smile and say – “oh God, but there are –
And the “A-Cross-Sticks” (Acrostics), or ACS pattern reading vertically actually spells it out! Shuffle a few letters “here and there”, and it reads out volumes of Instructions. I will not go into these here as I have written these into another book I am working on called; “The Let-er Dance with God”.
IFL (Instruction For Life), when spoken and heard phonetically says – “eye full” (I-FL),and that eye-full, or Instructions For Life is found in the Bible. An eye full of attentiveness to The Word provides instant instruction for any matter concerning anything in human life. God has covered it all! And as God says – “those who seek me diligently with their heart shall find me”.
Sadly, very few mothers have ever read the Bible, had they, they would have seen instantly the answer to all their problems. However, as I have found through personal and professional experience, not all are willing to adhere to the instructions. Many find it all too “consuming”, to be “selfless” to their own creations – “their children”. Children brought into the world and sadly, left unattended whilst modern-day mothers (and fathers), pursue their “own” interests.
The “New Age” religious philosophy has not helped our modern-day mothers to see, understand and fully comprehend the value of the mothering role. New Age theology promotes; “the self”, and “self gratification”. It has led many into believing it is “OK” to leave not only their children but also their husbands (or partners), as well in pursuing their own goals and interests. New Age ideology has been the breeding and seeding ground I believe for one of the greatest deceptions of all time. Promoting peace outwardly and yet, a tool for war. The war I refer to is that of the children that have waged and raged upon society. Their resentment at being “left behind” to virtually fend for themselves from the time they can walk and talk. New Age religious philosophy promotes the “self” and a “selfish” lifestyle, whilst Christianity promotes “selflessness” and the “sharing of the self”.
Having “time out” for yourself is all well and good, however, once motherhood is initialized with your first child, you yourself, become secondary to all else. A mothers “time out” is at night, after everyone is settled and into bed, this is her “quiet” time after all else. It may be also at a time when her role during the day may allow her an opportunity to sit back a little. God gave women the most important role in human history, raising the generations to come. Sadly, a role, many have absconded in their responsibility in exchange for looking out for their own interests. An exchange that carries a hefty price tag, a child’s life, without a mother’s presence to fill the void.
God has the answers, they are found in the Bible for every human condition and situation known to humankind. Think of the Bible as a “human encyclopaedia”! Do not sit and read page after page, look up the Index as you would any other book of reference.
Measure affordability against “need”, you will be surprised to find you can usually make your wages in your savings each week. This is done by living “simply”, after-all, everyone knows there is – “beauty to be found in simplicity”. Think seriously and learn to discern “need” from “desire” in order to raise your children with a sense of self-discipline and control and see your wages shine through the savings. Consider options with regard to purchasing, let’s face it folks, once an item leaves the store it is considered “old” and no longer “new”. Family Shops such as St Vincent DePaul and Life Line, will more often than not carry the same stock at a fraction of the price. There is no shame in financial gain! Consider your use of utilities over-all. Again, from my observations I see a wealth in power consumption, not to the householder, but to the Provider as we over-indulge in our use of them, (utilities).
A mother’s presence in the home is critical to the fabric and framework of society as a whole. I have a theology and it is this – where there is a “hole” there is something not “Holy” and thus no “whole” can be Made by God or anyone else. Being “holistic” means just that; Being Holy-Is-Stick (HIS), or simply HIS, God’s, the presence of a Mother in a child’s life is a blessing.
A woman’s role in a husbands (or partners), life is to lovingly assist him in being able to work and provide an income and should be considered an honour. For every good man there is surely a good woman behind him. Titus 2:4–5 (ESV) 4 “and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled”. However, this is not to say a woman should be bound into slavery into the home and/or abused. God made clear instruction for husbands as to “how’ they treat their wives in - Colossians 3:19 (ESV) 19 “Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them”.
For the out-to-work mom who “wants” to be a stay-at-home mom but believes she cannot afford it I urge you to reconsider your options carefully. Re-evaluate the “truth” of your children’s (and your own), needs measured against desire. Consider the concept of “need vs. greed”. Do we really “need” this or do we simply “want” it. Remember, for every dollar wasted is an hour from your child’s precious life, you only get one shot at mothercraft whilst raising your child. Consider your options with a sense of “conservativeness” as opposed to “over-indulgence”. See mother-craft and home-care for what it truly is – the greatest of all tasks assigned to humankind, assigned to a woman, a mother, for life. An honour, a blessing, a critical element of your child’s life that should be for-ever present. Society as a whole is dangerously lacking the presence of mothers to help provide a balanced “human” structure in the lives of the Christian family, Community and society as a whole to live well.
In God’s Words, the SWORD is found to cut through the hardships of life to make them easier. God gave us all an Instruction Book, it is called the Bible. Filled with wisdom, guidance and advice on every situation and obstacle we would ever be confronted with. It (the Bible, God’s Word), lacks in no area of life.
Just as with any recipe, if the instructions are followed, you are sure to get a good serving of anything from food to children!
Regain control of your life, the lives of your children, your husband’s (or partners), and your finances. If you are an out-to-work mother and reading this article, consider putting back the most valuable resource any home can have – a mother’s presence, the Key for every life ever lived on earth.
M - any
O - we
T - wo
H – is
E – ternal
R – est
“Many owe to His (God’s), eternal rest”, - for from God all Children come and are a blessed gift to be treasured. Jesus died for our sins, the sins of even newborn babies; we owe it to God to follow "His Instructions" – HI, as God’s wisdom is truly above our own all ways.
©One Of A Kind Cards 1998 – 2011 Author: Misreanah (PEN) A Mother’s Presence (Sub: TJ/OL) 090411.11:21
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