A few weeks ago I was surprisingly encouraged by an article that told me to stop whining. Although the headline is a little overdone and the author is, I think, overly harsh toward her fellow mothers, I thought her diagnosis of modern motherhood was spot-on. First, she pointed out that we’ve managed to make motherhood “simultaneously insignificant but also impossibly hard.” YES! And then she went on to say, basically, it is hard work that we don’t know how to do well; so it seems impossible; so we give up.
They do not know how to get their toddler to come when called. Therefore, toddlers aren’t controllable. They do not know how to stay caught up with the laundry and the grocery shopping. Therefore, the life of a mom is inherently a crazy cycle of unfair drudgery. They have tried—perhaps tried hard—and given up. They have decided that, like labor and delivery, all of motherhood is something to be waited out.
Mussman’s radical proposal is that instead of giving up and suffering through motherhood, we learn to do it better. Genius, right?
Right away I started thinking about how I could work on my skills as a mother and homemaker. First, I contacted a friend (as Mussman recommends, an empty-nester “who has already raised happy, well-adjusted, kind children”) and got some advice on housekeeping and organization. And then, during a trip to the library with my kids, I spotted a parenting book on the New Nonfiction table, picked it up, and was delighted to find it immediately helpful. (I’m about to write you another short post to tell you about it. Stay tuned!)
It’s been more than five years of motherhood now, and I have waited it out long enough. I am ready to stop whining (well, really, I don’t actually think I was whining, but whatever) and start learning. I am so hopeful, and I hope maybe you all can find some hope here too. Come Holy Spirit, give us open hearts, to learn and grow!