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Is Motherhood a Duty or a Delight?

There are a lot of duties we don’t especially find joy in. But that’s just life, right? From the moment we wake up, to the time our head hits the pillow, we complete task after task because…well, that is what we do. And there is a lot to do!

The problem is, sometimes that mindset flows right into our parenting. In fact, if we are not careful, all the joy can get sucked right out of motherhood!

I doubt many of us maintain this gloomy attitude for long, but there are those joyless days, or even just hours, that creep up on us. Where they come from, who knows? It could be those womanly hormones messing with our emotions. Maybe we’re overwhelmed by the monstrous to-do lists. Perhaps they’re  discouraging thoughts we’ve left unchecked. It might even be we’ve bought into some worldly messages about what life is “supposed” to be like, and we feel our life isn’t matching the “ideal.” Whatever the reason, there’s a cure.

Finding the Joy

One remedy to a negative (or just “blah”) attitude about motherhood is to remember the truth–the truth that your children are a gift from God to you.

Psalm 127:3 says, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!” 

On those days we’re merely going through the motions, we need to remind ourselves that children are a blessing. They are not just another task to take care of, and they are certainly not a barrier to the “ideal life.” They are the people God gave you to take care of and raise up. He entrusted you with souls. Yes, they take a lot of work, but what a neat job soul-raising is!

This perspective alone can go a long way in helping us see parenting as a privilege rather than a duty.

Get a Little Sentimental

Not only are our kids God-given gifts, they are unique gifts from God to us, and they are dramatically changing right before our eyes. Stop and take in the moment. Appreciate who they are, and who they are becoming. They will soon be much bigger and older and more independent than they are now — and you won’t be able to get back this season with them.  Enjoy as much of it as you can.

I always find myself most sentimental when I look back at pictures. Whether it’s pictures from last year or 5 years ago, it reminds me how fleeting time is. And what regret I’ll one day feel if I spent time seeing my kids as an interruption to my to-do list.

Slow down and enjoy your kids a little more today. Yes, you have stuff you got to do, but enjoy them as you do it. Besides, if your kids are a gift from God, you better believe he wants you to enjoy them!

Fight for Perspective

Another way to fight the gloomies is to picture one of your little gifts being taken away from you. It’s a morbid way to gain perspective, but what a reminder of their preciousness. Life is better because you have your children, and they are worth cherishing even on the hardest of days.

The truth is, every task of motherhood may not be delightful, but the essence of motherhood is. Just the fact that you have your children should bring you joy.

All that to say, motherhood is not a duty we need to fulfill because “it’s what we got to do.” It is a privilege and a blessing. There are a variety of ways we can find joy in this job; so shake off the “blah” attitude and start by just paying attention to the unique children God has entrusted into your care. Thank God you have them. And hopefully with just a little dose of perspective you’ll watch the motherhood gloomies start to melt away.

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