Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future..
I remember my earlier days of being a young mum and housewife whilst still living in South Africa. Oh those days were hard particularly as I had no other ‘mum’ friends around me. None of my friends had their own children and therefore it was hard for them to understand my plight. I certainly felt a distance from them and as we were on different paths at that point in time. I spent most most of my days with just my daughter. I enjoyed this but did long for companionship with other mothers. There is certainly a connection that exists between mothers. We sympathise with one another especially as first time mums. This understanding sometimes leads to life long friendships as well as temporary connections as we navigate the joy, confusion and exhaustion of motherhood together. I admit I didn’t always enjoy my days of being a housewife when I still lived in South Africa. I often felt judged by others for not being a full time working mum. Looking back I allowed the opinion of others to define who I was. At that time, I needed to be a full time mother to my daughter. I was lucky enough to have the support of my husband financially. I certainly felt displaced in a society where most women go out to work and the culture of staying at home with young children seems unusual to say the least.
When I moved to England I slowly felt that being a housewife fit in with my journey. I quickly met other stay at home mothers and felt a sense of belonging in some ways. Traditionally in England one parent will stay at home with the children while the other parent provides financially towards the household and this is a common theme amongst many families owing to the high cost of childcare in particular. I was able to make friends quickly and although settling into a new country was tough, I was glad to meet a community of mothers. I finally felt less guilty about being a stay at home mum because well, everybody else around me was a stay at home mum so of course this new country was the perfect place for me.
This had me thinking about how we allow others to define who we are in life. We try to live up to the standards of what the world tells us we should be. When you become a mum your’e expected to have a million other things going at the same time. Juggling careers, business ventures, various other ‘outside’ pursuits which we believe will define us or give us a place in society. The Bible honours mothers and places us in such high regard that we often forget how valuable we are. We are raising families and little humans. One friend always reminds me that what we do is more important than anything else in this world.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come
She opens her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tounge
She looks well to all the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness
Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also and he praises her
“Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all”
Charm is decietful, and beauty is vain
But a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.