Since Sally Clarkson is selling her books at a 15% discount for Mother’s Day and since I could potentially win 1 or more (what great HUB prizes the one I have – Mission of Motherhood – will make!) I am reposting this post I wrote two years ago… Head on over to Sally’s blog to see how you can also enter the draw or how you can get discounted prices on her really inspirational real books!
The Servant Mother
I’ve recently begun rereading The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson. When I first read it, I was really blown away by all that I was learning. This time round is no different.
I’ve read hundreds of parenting books – many excellent ones (just see the list in the left hand side bar for some examples). But this book really touched my heart. Sally writes transparently, gently and yet with conviction of our role as mothers of our children. She addresses unpopular views of womenhood and motherhood with compassion and yet is uncompromising in a biblical stand.
I first read this book when I had 1 toddler and 1 baby. Now I have two little girls and 1 toddler and 1 baby on the way. So, you can imagine, that my concerns have shifted somewhat! Rereading this book has refocused my attention on areas I’d forgotten were important and areas that I hadn’t previously considered as important as they are.
I’m only about 1/3 of the way through at the moment, but already the book has given me so much to think about. You see, I’ve really been failing miserably in the parenting department lately. Can you say, “impatient”? “self absorbed”? “lazy”? and “impatient” again? That would be me. Lately, it’s been more about fitting the kids in around what I want to get done in a day and less about being a serving mom.
Sally has a chapter on The Servant Mother. I was reminded that being a truly godly mom means, amongst other things, modelling to my kids a servant heart. That means actually being there for them. It means, as Sally described it, when all I desperately want is 10 minutes to myself, I will instead admire my 5 year old’s latest creation (there are many!), help my 3 year old find her blanket (which she loses 5 times a day); change my 18 month old’s poo nappy WHEN he asks (and he does!) and patiently deal with the myriad of childish mishaps that happen throughout the day.
Too often I am too busy to deal with the things that they want or need. If I think over how many times I’ve said “no”to them just because I was too busy, too lazy, too impatient to say “yes”to them, I want to cry.
I never flew a kite as a kid, even though I was given one by my brother’s friend. I desperately wanted to fly that kite and I was told “one day” by my dad. It never happened. The windy days came and went and I grew up and out of kite flying. Now, I love my parents and don’t hold any grudges here (promise, mom and dad!) – but I don’t want my kids to miss out on wonderful opportunities like these, for me to show them a loving servant heart, just because they don’t fit into my idea of a schedule. I was put to the test that very day I read that chapter. Katie wanted me to put up her fairy castle tent she received last birthday. It’s a request she’s made a few times lately – a request I’ve fobbed off. This time she asked me while I was in the middle of an interesting conversation with a friend. I wanted nothing more than to continue sitting, sipping tea and enjoying adult conversation – but I was reminded that here was a classic opportunity for me to put myself aside and give to my child. It didn’t take longer than 5 minutes to do. It wasn’t that much of a schlep. And I had a delightfully grateful and overjoyed child.
Since then, I’m sad to say, the impatience (and with it a raised voice, AGAIN) has snuck in too many times. But, my prayers have increased so much as I realise being a servant mother – a mother after God’s own heart – means relying heavily on the power of the Holy Spirit. For without Him, I cannot do this job. Just this morning, whilst doing school, I was feeling low, miserable and really just unfit to be a really good, enthusiastic, loving, compassionate mommy. I was feeling impatient with Kiera’s chatter and dawdling (and this morning was a really good morning for her!) I just wanted to have a big load of TIME OUT for mommy. I wanted to indulge in me-time. I was feeling very sorry for myself. Thankfully the Lord prompted my spirit to pray. And pray I did. Was the rest of the day miraculously changed? Well, my attitude certainly did change. And with it, the kids’ behaviour mellowed out and we had a great morning. Yes, things unravelled towards the end of the day as I indulged in my impatience – and forgot to pray – but the Lord is good and gave me sweet-hearted little girls who showered me with “I love you, mom!” and “Jesus gave me the best mom for me and that’s you mom!”