Saturday, January 23, 2016

31 Days: Why Are We Discontent?

The rebellion we women feel seems to go hand in hand with a lot of discontent and unfulfillment amongst us. I am part of a mommy group on face book. One day a mom shared her struggles with feeling unfulfilled at home. She shared how she would like to finish her schooling and do something extra besides being a mom and wondered what others would advise? Another time a woman expecting her first child asked advice on whether to keep a cleaning job or two after her baby was born?

In both instances I took note of the outpouring of understanding from a lot of women. There was a lot of encouragement to do classes from home for the first mom and to try to keep a cleaning job or two for the second one. A common thread was the idea that you need a break from motherhood; it will actually make you a better mother to do some other things on the side. There was also quite a bit of encouragement that there is no higher calling than motherhood and that you will never regret the time spent with your children but nearly every mother who commented gave assurance that they could identify with those feelings of discontent and unfulfillment.

I pondered this for a long while. I wondered if Ma Ingalls would have identified with those feelings? I wondered about my own grandmother? Somehow I couldn't imagine them entertaining those sentiments. But I knew if I was honest that I could identify! What was the deal anyway? What about this whole idea that we will actually be better mothers if we have some outside interests to give us a break from our mothering duties? That seems a little strange in some ways. Like a friend of mine wrote once, “That would be the greatest irony: to neglect my children so that I can write about motherhood!”

Is this ‘need’ of outside interests tied into our rebellion against the woman God created? Don't we tend to look at Ma Ingalls with a condescending look that says, "Well, that was then..."? The world around us has definitely lowered the position of a stay at home mom, have we as Christians lowered it too? I think it’s safe to say we’ve swung pretty far towards discouraging marriage in our little girl’s minds, rather than encouraging it. I heard someone suggest recently that even in our Christian circles, if a young girl were asked in a school assignment to write about what she wanted to be when she grew up and she wrote that she wanted to be a mother, it would probably be looked at as amusing rather than praiseworthy. Is it some of this idea that is affecting Christian women and causing the feelings of discontent and unfulfillment? What would happen if the words of Felicity’s mother would become engraved on every young lady’s heart - "Caring for a family is a responsibility and a pleasure. It will be your most important task, and one that you must learn to do well. I want you to be a notable housewife when you are grown."?

9 comments:

Tina said...

Yes, yes, and yes!! Hhmmm.....
This is a heavy subject here, :), but I would just like to encourage mothers here that you DO NOT need to feel ashamed AT ALL for being a stay-at-home mom. Who is saying you need to go out and do something to be 'somebody'? :) But, I understand how this all works I think. It's just like any new style, fad, a gourmet way of cooking, you name it! It'll soon start creeping in amongst us and affect us IF WE LET IT. And, for me, it's hard to not let it. (it pry depends what it is!) Motherhood is SO important!! And I think of someone from church that hasn't been able to have children. As far as I know she doesn't have a job away from home. Why, then, do those with children feel like they need to have/keep a job? It must be something that affects different people differently. In reading others writing It seems like yes, I should not have read that its good to DO something else, and/or moms need a break because it works on me! I am selfish enough... I agree to a certain extent that moms may (need) a break, or its nice to get away an do something dif sometime but it could get out of hand possibly.:) So, yes, we all need to encourage each other in the way of the Lord!

Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly that motherhood is noble and God's ideal. However, (as they say) for every mile of road there are two miles of ditch. But you have kept the "high road".

I as a single woman have sat through many a wedding ir mother's day sermon, and have been OK with what I heard. However, I walked out during the benediction and then cried for a long time after a sermon that went on and on about what a noble calling motherhood is (and that is right and good) but he lambasted women with a career. So what am I supposed to do with that?

I respect the brother. He is a caring minister of character, and has a fine family, but it seems this was a blind spot. And it hurt.

Some time later I talked to a minister's wife who had heard it, and she admitted she thought it was a very good sermon, especially for so-and-so, then her husband told her he wondered how it made me feel.

The "ditch" is: demeaning women who have careers. Motherhood can be held up as a noble ideal, without demeaning women with careers. And you have done well with that, Bethany.

LRM

Anonymous said...

I knew full-well that the preacher was probably referring to married women having careers but he never clarified and he really emphasized how bad it is. My brain knew what he meant but my womanly heart never got the message. LRM

Bethany Eicher said...

I am humbled by your kind words. I have been a bit worried about how I will come across to the single women in my audience, so your comment means a lot to me! God Bless you.

Rosina said...

A question I've long had in my mind...Were any of those ladies of yesterday depressed, and nobody knew it? For instance, Mrs. Brewster in the Ingalls story was portrayed as a mean, selfish woman (which she probably was) but she was also all alone with no friends in a place where it snowed for months.

A puzzle in this whole issue is: how does a homogenous job fit unique women? I agree that being a SAHM is a high calling (not the only high calling as LRM pointed out)and I wonder how we can encourage women to use their unique giftings within the housewife context, so they can be who God created them to be.

Bethany Eicher said...

I don't mean to imply that all the ladies of yesterday were "happy", as opposed to the women of today but there was a definite difference in the culture as a whole that encouraged women to embrace a role that was closer to God's plan.

I rolled your other question around and around... While wife/mother is one same calling for all women, it seems to me each woman's unique-ness can shine through within that calling. Maybe maybe more of this will come through in the next posts.

Loving the interaction, keep sharing! :)

Bethany Eicher said...

I agree. It is so very easy to be more concerned with what others think than what our Father thinks....

Karen Regling said...

People are only discontent when there is something else they would rather be doing.

Bethany Eicher said...

There it is in a nutshell. I couldn't have explained it better!!