For The Mom Who Feels Insignificant
Tonight I’m sitting with my computer while my kids are eating noodles and butter for the 4th time this week and I wish I could actually just call you on the phone to chat. Or better yet, get you your own cup of tea and invite you to join me on the couch.
There are lots of things on my mind, and I just would love to chat about them with a girlfriend.
Like this motherhood business. Oh, I have so many thoughts lately about this motherhood business. This week, especially, I’ve felt the tension in my heart.
Sometimes I wonder if you wrestle with this like I do. Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only one who struggles to find contentment in just being a mom.
(Ooh. That feels wrong to even say out loud.)
(But I’m guessing I’m not the only one.)
Some days I wonder if I should be doing more with my life. Other days I know that mothering these little ones is the absolute most important thing I could be doing right now. I simultaneously feel like my job as a mom is important and also insignificant. And that’s where the tension rests.
Here’s the deal. I was perpetually single until I met Jon (at 24). I had dreams of marriage and family, but those weren’t happening anytime soon (really, I talked to maybe 5 guys in my whole life before Jon), so I went to school. I was good at school. I earned praise for school. I got a degree to start teaching school. I felt accomplished there, like I was making a difference and people noticed and valued me.
And then I met Jon, and we got married, and we had a baby, and I got to be a stay-at-home mom = dream accomplished. Check!
I love being a mom. I have always wanted to be a mom. But surprisingly (to me at least), there has always been a part of me that doesn’t quite fit into motherhood. I used to think it was the part of me that spent 25 years training for something other than being a mother.
But lately, I think that the part of me that has the hardest time with motherhood is the part of me that spent 25 years defining myself by public validation.
All that time I spent working hard for grades, for awards, for a job offer, for a pat on the back… none of that means anything in motherhood.
Motherhood isn’t about how hard I can work or how much I can accomplish or how high I can climb.
Motherhood isn’t about me at all.
Motherhood is about laying down my life for my children, like Christ did for us. The roots of motherhood are grounded deep in humility and selflessness and considering others more important than myself.
Motherhood asks me to trade in my drive for productivity for a desire to be present. It asks me to set aside my to-do list so I can fully listen. It all but strips me of my rights, and makes me into a servant without ever asking me if that’s what I wanted to be.
I can spend a lifetime resenting that. Or I can look at what my Savior did for me, and consider it joy to follow in His footsteps.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.Philippians 2:3-10
And there it is.
Isn’t THIS the end goal of the Christian? Not spending my life pursuing my own greatness, but stepping aside so others can see how great God is? Not building a name for myself on the things that I’ve done, but exalting His name and what He’s done?
If not for motherhood, I would still be pursuing a my own desires, full speed ahead. I would still be working tirelessly for accolades and validation. I would be riddled with selfish ambition and conceit. I know myself. I just would be.
Motherhood doesn’t even give me the option for that.
The dolls and the legos and the tantrums and the backtalk and the long days and the thankless nights and the diapers and the fighting and the fevers… Motherhood requires me to set myself aside over and over and over again.
It is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
But the more I lean into the truth of what motherhood requires, the more freely I give myself to the work of raising my children, the looser I cling to those things that I once defined myself by. Even motherhood itself.
Because I’m learning that God cares less about what I’m doing, and more about who I’m becoming, in Him.
Motherhood doesn’t define me.
It’s sanctifying me.
And on the hard days, when I end up exhausted on the couch, while my kids noodles and butter for the 4th time this week, I remember why this is the most important and significant thing I’ll ever do.
Because, out of all the people in the world, God made me their mom. He blessed me with their beautiful, joyful, wild little lives, and He gave me the job of raising them to know Him, and to understand what He’s done for them.
I’m writing this reminder to myself tonight as much as I’m writing to you. You’re doing a good work, momma. The conversations we have and the prayers we pray and the tears we wipe away may never be seen by the masses. But they are not insignificant.
They are eternal.
He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.
Kayse is a wife, mom, and founder of the Anchored Women community. She writes to help women fight busy, find rest, and build a life that’s anchored in Christ. Kayse is also the creator of the S.O.S. Planner, the Anchored Life Kit, and other practical resources that equip women to manage their homes and families in confidence. You can find her writing and her resources at anchored-women.com!
I found this post on Pinterest. I know I’m late, but I have to tell you, as a mother of 5, this post has me bawling my eyes out. My kids range in age from 22 (and married) down to 3. Motherhood is simultaneously the best and hardest thing I have ever done. Thank you for this beautiful post. It spoke straight to my heart. God is so good to have directed me to your site!
I don’t think you’re late at all. ? I’m so glad it encouraged you!!
Last night I came home in tears to my husband and I didn’t know why I was so sad. We talked it out and figured out that I was seeking affirmation from everything around me – and last night I didn’t get any – from anywhere or anyone and I was totally deflated.
God broke me last night so I could realize this issue and address it.
I really didn’t know where to start, what to think about or how to go forward without trying to get affirmation from outside of God …and here’s your post. It was perfect in it’s wording and timing 🙂
Thank you so much,
This is so encouraging, thank you!!! Absolutely agree that the world sets us up for self validation and then…motherhood is not about us 🙂 SO much to learn. This week I just read Isaiah 40 verse 11 and thought about it in connection with Christian motherhood, so I am so encouraged to see it here too.
I sit here at 4am with my sick, congested 5 month old across my lap reading your wonderful blog. Over the past couple of years I’ve struggled with God’s plans for my career. I have a Masters in Psychology but He has closed that door for me repeatedly. Now I work full time at a job I don’t really love. I’m about to return full time after maternity leave and all I want to do is quit so I can be home to raise my munchkin. I’m feeling more and more that to do that is God’s calling for me… simply to be mom. And it’s soooo hard to jump in with faith that He will provide for our family if I do. Right now I’m on a path I never planned and I feel like I’m gong to fail daily. I’m trying to start a blog in hopes that will allow me to quit my job. But I feel hopeless about it all, even though I can feel it in my core that this is God’s plan for me. This blog is everything I needed to hear. Thank you soooo much! And sorry about the novel.
Hope you are well and getting to be with your sweet baby. Your post touched me and I wanted to reach out.
Reading “In Praise of Stay at Home Moms” helped seal the deal for me.
Sending momma love your way,
I definitely needed to hear this today! I have played this over in my mind for weeks or maybe months now. Sometimes in just tears when my husband comes home from work or from being out of town. I often feel the “need” to work and feel worthless. But I also know everything I am giving to my children daily could not be replaced by somebody else.
Thank you so much for writing this!
Thank you so much for writing this. It was exactly what I needed to hear!
Thanks for the post. I shared it with a friend who was struggling with this when we talked today. Thanks so much!
Oh man. This is beyond perfect. You captured exactly what I have felt for almost 2 years. (My son will be 2 in October.) Like you, I was “good” at school and received plenty of praise throughout my life for academic accomplishments. I made it through nursing school, graduating with honors, and was feeling pretty highly about myself. And then I got married a month after graduating and was pregnant before we celebrated our first anniversary. A high risk pregnancy that ended in me leaving my job to be on bedrest and becoming a stay-at-home mom shortly thereafter. I wanted to be home with my son, but I had no idea how hard, and sometimes isolating, it can be. I get the comments from random people about when I plan to go back to work, and the condescending “pat on the head” looks, like what I do is cute, but not meaningful or important. A pretty significant contrast from the reactions I got when people found out I was a nurse. But the vocation of mother has humbled me. It doesn’t feed my ego, for sure, but it fills my heart. It has made me redefine what success means to me in this phase of my life. Right now, my roles as wife and mother are my primary focus, and I believe that God will use this time to mold me into the woman He’s calling me to be.
wow!! thank you for hitting it right THERE!! even though my kids are older..all teens..this STILL applies!! maybe even more so…one day they will look back and hopefully give me a hug and say thanks Mom for all you did for me…even just a little acknowledgment(?) i don’t know I guess as long as they make it too adulthood in one piece and can live/work on their own then the hubby and I have done our job?
I really needed to hear this. When you become a stay at home mom after being immersed in school and college and you get feedback, and then you feel insignificant as a mom. It’s a thankless job sometimes but a great blessing and opportunity. Very well written. I could tell it was from your heart. God bless you.
You aren’t insignificant!! I’m glad this encouraged you. Hang in there momma, you’re doing a good work!
I definitely needed to hear this today, and not just so I know I’m not alone in feeling this way. But also so that I can have the energy and stamina to start the day well, to not dread all the needs I will be asked to fulfill or all the shaping of little hearts, over and over and over again, the same as every other day this week, with nothing substantial to show for it at the end of the day. The house is still a mess, the calls still not made…
Sometimes my husband infers that my job is simple, hard maybe but not difficult, and that I should be accomplishing more, have more to show for my days. I fall into the trap of feeling like if I don’t have something concrete to show that my day with my girls was wasted, and this was great to remind myself of the higher calling. I was great at school too, and really liked it, and this new job of mom to two little girls with special needs (medically complex) is much harder to ace.
I try all day every day to research and find the thing that will help them, whether it be the healthiest diet or the natural remedies or the parenting trick or the right therapies, so that I can have something to say, look what I learned /found /implemented /did HELPED. I made a difference. A noticeable improvement in their lives, or in our daily struggle.
But now today I feel like I can just be their mama, and THAT is the difference I will make. God didn’t make me their mom because I’m a good advocate or researcher or teacher… He made me their mom because they need me. Who I am, who God made me.
Sorry for the longest comment ever, but thank you for helping me to work this out in my heart.
This is such good writing, friend. And SO full of truth. I get this.
I think every mom must feel this way from time to time. Whether she works or not, at some point she will question herself, she will wonder if she is contributing enough.
It was such a pleasure reading this today. It touched home. I hope you can go over what you wrote and read it as another mother would and know in your heart you are very well equipped for your purpose here on earth.
Thank you for what you do!
Such a beautiful post! I really needed this today – it’s like you took the thoughts right out of my head. Thank you for sharing your heart with all of us 🙂
Another excellent article!
When I entered the blogging world, I didn’t expect the tension it would cause in my heart. Before that, I was content with not being “seen.” Now I find myself connecting everything I do as a mom to something I could blog about. Part of it is just natural, but part of it is that search for significance. The amazing thing is how much more gratifying it is to truly connect with my kids and keep my heart focused toward home.
And what you said here, “Not spending my life pursuing my own greatness, but stepping aside so others can see how great God is?”
What a relief! Because there really is no greatness in me. Promoting my own greatness is a useless endeavor. (Like trying to stack marbles, as my dad would say.) But showing my kids the greatness of God–now that’s a worthy pursuit!
Exactly what I needed to read this morning! Thanks for sharing 🙂
I feel that the enemy has tried so hard to distract women from our purpose as mom’s and wives by making us think it’s insignificant and having us chase other dreams instead. Of course, God sometimes put other purposes and dreams on our hearts too, but it’s so easy to forget our most important role.Elizabeth George has been doing a lot of ministry on this and I’ve been loving it! Thanks for sharing Kayse!
Thank you so much for those encouraging real words, Friend. I needed them so much this morning. You were right I wish we could have sat down together with a cup of tea and shared. In fact, that was my prayer journal request this morning to have a friend to sit down and share life with. Then what do u know I opened my email and there you were waiting to share with me. May God continue to bless you and your family as you use and cultivate the gift of writing and being real about life He has given you. Thank you again!!!