Well, almost. Twenty years if you count the pregnancy with my firstborn…and because she was my baby even while in the womb, I do. Does twenty years of mothering count me in as “the older woman” now? I don’t know. Somehow I think, “not yet”, because I still have eight children at home, and I have no grandchildren. And I have been rather silent the past year in blogging, both because I have more urgent work to do and also because I wonder what else I could possibly say. But I want to say this to my mama-sisters who are in the baby and toddler trenches: don’t just embrace mothering, own it.
I am sick of political correctness mothering because it is based on the fear of man. What will people think? What will they say about me? Will they think I am a good mother? Will I get approval for how my children turn out? Let me educate you a little here: no matter what you do, especially if you carry the scent of Christ in any way and admit to trying to please and honor Him with your decisions, people will despise you, use you, disapprove of you and speak slander. And it won’t matter a spit if, for example, you homeschool or take them to the private school or anything in between: you will just be “wrong” depending on who you’re trying to impress. I’ve been around long enough to try to prove the disapprovers wrong, but they simply don’t care and unless Christ does a work in them, are irreparably bent towards knocking you and your mothering decisions down a notch or three. Even if your children end up at an Ivy League school and go on to win the Nobel Peace Prize (which I realize, neither means much anymore).
I just want to look in your eyes and tell you wholeheartedly, You Can Do This. Yes, you can. How come you can figure out how to drive a car and not figure out how to wrap a baby around you in cloth to carry safely? How come you can do research to pick the right neighborhood to live in but you can’t do research to pick the right foods to feed your family? What makes you think that because you don’t know trigonometry you can’t teach your child how to read? I think we all as mothers at times get stuck in the “I don’t know what to do…” but we don’t have to either blindly follow the “experts” or look around and do whatever everyone else is doing, especially if we don’t know or like the results. We can learn from mothers we respect who have gone before us, and use our own heads, too.
My baby was nine months old before I resigned my brilliant and lifelong-desired career to be home with her. I didn’t know anything. I had never even babysat (or even wanted to)! And I didn’t know what that herbalist meant when she said I could grind my own wheat. I had no idea what a “wheat berry” was and had never seen one. I didn’t know how to cook anything from scratch, not even a salad. But I knew I loved my child and I knew mothering was a profound gift, almost transcendent. I also knew I didn’t want to give her drugs, and I didn’t want her to suck on, wear, or play with plastic. I had no knowledge at all of HOW to do anything–all I had was a WANT. And it was that WANT that propelled me, that gave me the moxie I needed when confronted.
I WANTED my baby to be healthy. So I read many, many books on natural health and healing, starting with How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor. Wow, was that an eye-opener and so empowering. Yes, I could take care of my baby! I WANTED to know how to cook from scratch, so I started with La Leche League’s Whole Foods for the Whole Family and began by teaching myself how to cook brown rice. I WANTED to know how to run my home, keeping it clean and healthy, so I followed Fly Lady. The point is this: your WANT ought to drive you to figure it out! And I believe you can.
What is it that you long to have? A homeschooling lifestyle? Research Charlotte Mason. Do you want a drug-free family? Check out a chiropractic lifestyle, homeopathy, herbs. Do you want a strong marriage? Seek out those happy couples with decades under their belts or read good books such as Walk With Me. Do you have questions about training and discipling your children? Shepherding a Child’s Heart is a favorite and for good reason!
The point is this: You Can Do This. You can be home and raise your babies and also find plenty of creative and intellectual stimulation along the way for yourself. You are not a failure if you keep your eyes on eternal benefits, despite what the world says. And you can learn new skills and in today’s internet world, you can even run a business from home or get a book published. You have the whole world at your fingertips and the biggest challenge as I see it now is the incredible distraction all of that can be from simply living your life and enjoying your home and your children.
I am not in any wise finished. Maybe I am halfway. But if I could go back and tell my young self anything at baby number one, it would be this: God is good, God is faithful, and God will lead. You think you know these things now, but as you go further down the mothering path, you will know it in much sweeter ways. So OWN the process of being the best mother you can be and don’t believe anyone or anything that causes you to doubt the high, holy work you are doing in this world, at this time. I know changing a diaper doesn’t feel like you’re doing much, but you really are changing the world, one diaper at a time. Hold fast, and stand firm, Mama. And by His grace, twenty years later, you will cheer on the mother coming up after you as well.