Last week we visited with an older lady whom we don’t see very often (not even every year). Not long after we greeted each other, she looked at me and said, “You’re too busy.” I smiled, and jokingly said, “how do you know?” And she pointed to my children and said, “Oh, I know.”
Later in the visit she mentioned “what a handful that many children were,” and again, I just smiled. Then I heard her bring it up to my husband…”all that work.” And later, she questioned how I found time to homeschool, etc.
Finally, I realized that she just couldn’t comprehend the large family concept so I decided to answer.
I leaned in toward her a bit and with the warmest smile I could muster I said, “Ya know, they are a lot of work. But I can’t think of anything else I’d rather invest my time and energy in than raising children for the glory of God.”
Not earth-shattering, not rude, but a simple declaration of truth.
Somehow the woman who holds a full time job and tries to manage a home and leads the Girl Scout troop and heads up the church nursery never gets the barrage of “but it’s so much work!” The more she does, as long as it’s out there, the more she is encouraged and admired.
Or the student working on his PHD while waiting tables at night—it’s a noble thing he does, so we pat him on the back and say “good job.” (And we should.) Good things require hard work.
And don’t get me wrong, we should not be looking for men’s applause. But the comments and questions moms with more than two children receive are a sad gauge of how distorted our worldview is.
“It’s so much work.” Isn’t life work? Isn’t anything worthy of doing “work?” Am I really supposed to try to make it look like a breeze? Please tell me I’m allowed to be tired, or stressed out, or weary, just like the full-time working woman, or the over-studied student.
I’m a mother and it is hard work. And in this season of life I want to be broken and spilled out into the lives of my children. He has given us “a handful” for only a short time. If they aren’t worth the work, what is?