I’m Working My Life Away

Monday morning. I just had what was supposed to be a restful weekend, with little regular work. I take that “day of rest” thing seriously, but, sadly, my children do not. They seem to think that I should feed them and clothe them every day–even on Sundays! So, in spite of the fact that yesterday was the Lord’s day, and I only washed the dishes once (after sun-down), and cleaned and cooked not at all, I’m still tired.

Even worse, I can’t complain about it, not only because it’s a self-imposed rule (I hate complainers), but because the moment my self-restraint slips and I let out a sigh, someone will invariably blame my exhaustion or depression (and I do have a tendency to be melancholy when I’m worn out) on my “too many” children. And yeah, I work hard for this family, and that is why I am tired. There’s certainly no arguing with that. But I can’t help but notice that, when someone is exhausted from doing some other kind of work, she gets a pat on the back.  “Congratulations, you earned a restful weekend!” But when a mom with “too many” kids gets to the limits of her strength, it’s because she’s either too stupid or too oppressed to stop having children.

Get Along Husband posed an interesting question to me a few weeks ago. He didn’t exactly ask the question, but it was implicit in the words he recounted to me. It seems he heard a woman on the radio talking about growing up in a large family, and why she wasn’t having many (or maybe any) children herself. You see, her mother “worked her life away” and the interviewee didn’t want to have to live like that—always having to make meals, clean spills, and wash faces.  My husband’s unspoken question, of course, was “Are you working your life away, Cindy? Are these kids doing that to you?”

Well, yes. I am working my life away, as a matter of fact. What else was I supposed to do with it? Take a 60-year vacation after high school?

Laziness brings on deep sleep, and the shiftless man goes hungry.
–Proverbs 19:15

Just this weekend, a woman told me she’d be pulling her hair out if she had as many kids as we do. When I asked why, she answered that it was “too much work”. “Too much work” is, in fact, the most common reason women tell me they don’t want any more children. Oddly, these are–most of them, anyway—women who get up early every day, go to WORK, where they WORK, really hard, then they come home in the evening and WORK some more—whether in their gardens or for church or charity—then go to bed, get up, and do it all over again the next day. They don’t actually seem any more rested come Monday morning than I am, come to think of it.

These people are working their lives away! It. Has. To. Stop! Don’t they know there are television shows to watch, and cakes to eat, and sleeps to sleep? Of course, somebody is going to have to work to produce those tv shows, bake those cakes, and build those mattresses with which we shall do all that not-work.

Life is work, isn’t it? To have useful work to do is a blessing! Judging from the cries of the unemployed in this land, I’d say most other people know it, too. And I’m happy to have my work.

So what they mean, it seems, is not that children are more work than anyone can reasonably handle, but that children are the kind of work that they simply don’t find worth doing. This ungrateful daughter on the radio as good as said “My mother wasted her life because she was too busy raising me.” Or maybe she just thought it was all of her siblings that weren’t worth the trouble.

No wonder our nation is on the edge of a cultural cliff. Nobody in the last generation (or the current one) seems to believe that raising the next generation is a very important task. Certainly not worth doing as a full-time job. Any fool can watch kids all day. Women who are worth anything at all really ought to be getting better jobs than just motherhood—executive positions, or pushing papers, or ringing up produce. Anything, absolutely anything, makes more sense than just raising a bunch of children. One or two is manageable, of course, or nobody would have any kids at all. One or two, and you can still get other things done between diaper changes and soccer practices.

But go past that second child, and you’re spending more years changing diapers than any woman ought to. Much, much better to get out of that stage of your life as quickly as possible so you can move on to something important, I guess.

I get my rest when my babies smile at me. My peace comes at the end of the day when I have to kick the blocks out of my way to clear a safe path to my bedroom for the one who wakes up in the middle of the night and runs to our bed. I am usually still sleepy when I get up in the morning, but it is not because I am overworked. It is because I have a job worth staying up late and getting up early for.

I have a lot of work to do this week, just like all the other weeks since I had my first baby. I pray that I can raise my children to appreciate the value of the work my husband and I put into their upbringing. I pray that they can, unlike the lady on the radio, someday understand why I believe that my fifth child is worth every bit as much effort and angst as the first one was. And I hope that they’ll grow up to see, not how tired their mother was, but how blessed she felt to have so much useful work to do.

Good morning, world. It is Monday. I am already tired, and that is a good thing.

This post is linked up at Holy Spirit-led Homeschooling’s Big Family Friday and Becoming a Strong Woman of God’s Friday Link-up Party.

Responses:

  1. Girl, you always state things that need to be stated.
    I enjoy “working my life away.” If I just laid around all day, I’d be completely bored. The tired that I am is a GOOD TIRED. It’s a satisfied tired….I did my work well. My kid(s) are happy and fed. That is enough for me.
    I guess I am too tired to water the plants…maybe that’s why they die.
    Anyway, this made me laugh out loud: “These people are working their lives away! It. Has. To. Stop! Don’t they know there are television shows to watch, and cakes to eat, and sleeps to sleep? ”
    Where is the cake, by the way? I could use some.

    • I don’t know where the cake is. I think I’ll bake one later! My plants die, too, btw. My five year old bought me a cactus for my birthday. THAT, I think I can handle. ;-) (Six months later, my cactus died. Mold. Who knew?)

  2. Thanks for the post! I woke up tired this Monday too thanks to the little one who came into our room and tossed and turned all night and then was up and at it at 5:30am. Even though this mothering thing can leave me sleep deprived, I have to remind myself that even when I’m worn out I would be so heartbroken if I woke up one day and did not have my kids to “bug” me any more. For as much “work” that they give me, they give me thousand times more JOY! Like the little one who was up early this morning is now putting a roll of tape under her shirt and calling it her baby:)

  3. Bravo, Cindy!!!! :) I love this post! Our job may not bring in money here on earth, but we are storing up treasures in heaven. Plus, most people don’t get to spend their “work day” giggling and tickling chubby little bellies. (I’m pretty sure that’s the kind of thing that could get you in trouble in many work environments.) :) Yes, some days are hard. Yes it can be exhausting, but I am pretty sure that is true of any type of actual work, and there in no work I would rather be doing! :)

  4. Congratulations! You’ve done awesome and you deserve a rest :) When does that happen again?

    • You deserve a rest, too, after all that flying and stuff! How’s Austria? Where are the cats? Miss you!

  5. I just shared this on my facebook. It almost made me cry. It was so good–and so encouraging. Thank you!!!

  6. Thank you Cindy! Needed this today… in my tired… frustrated world of kids 24/7. But one thing you forgot. Is everyone is burdened with “work”… because of the Fall. That was God’s punishment to Adam and Eve. We can sit and judge one another for the work they do… but God is still in control. He meant you to have all those kids just like he meant me to have my 3… so far. God may have a plan for me to raise more… He may not. But it’s still work. I battle chronic illness… that’s work. But that doesn’t mean I say… “hey God, I have enough… I don’t want more kids too!” No, I say “God use me to do your ‘work’… whatever that may be!” Well said my friend. =}

    • I didn’t forget that. The work IS a blessing. It’s the difficulty that is the curse. There was work in the Garden, too!

  7. Cindy, you articulated so well how I feel about allowing others to know I am tired. I try especially hard not to let most other people know how tired I am because I bring it on myself, you know. ;) With those 4 kiddos I have.

    But raising these fabulous little people truly is the best work there is. This was just the attitude adjustment I needed on this Monday morning. Thank you, Friend!

  8. Awesome post!!!! You rock being a great mom!

    I was just driving around picking up crickets for the gecko, food for the family and violin strings thinking that I needed to be doing other important things this morning. But wait…I am being a mom! I have always felt like many people don’t says encouraging things to busy moms, but if someone had to work late three days in a row they might be tired. :)

    I would have a bigger family if I could! Kids are worth it all!

    Have a wonderful week!

    ~Kim

  9. You inspire me. I am wondering is my being tired worth what I am tried from. It certainly isn’t from raising 5 wonderful children.

  10. Cindy, I love this. I have felt TOOOOOO tired lately. Sometimes homeschooling means work that I really don’t like. I don’t like a lot of aspects of the high school years (keeping grades, finding tutors, etc). However, I want my children to remember a mom who found joy in the work… even during the teen years. What a great reminder.

  11. They are many fabulous returns when our work is taking care of our children. We are invested in the company, because we are the President and CEO. There is job securtity, and no chance of being fired. Even when we make horrible mistakes and put the pressure on ourselves, the situation can be rectified with a simple apology and a kiss, and we can move on with a clean record.
    I always feel that I am the most stressed and frustrated when I believe that I deserve the day off, and try to relax. It just doesn’t really happen when the kids are young. Expectations will get me in real bad mood. I do much better when I just do what I got to do with a smile. They grow so quickly and then I will have so much time to rest that I will be searching for something to keep me busy.

  12. Beautiful post, Cindy! You are right. We have much meaningful work to do — in our homes. We have no idea how God will use them. It is critical that we plant seeds for eternity now!

    I am tired too, and I only have two children. Getting paid in hugs and kisses, smiles, and laughter beats the paychecks I used to receive! Funny thing is, this job is MUCH harder. ;)

  13. I’m thinking we may have to bake a cake this afternoon- that would be me & those 3 pesky boys of mine ;) People act (and say things) like having 3 boys is just crazy – “how in the world do I do it?” We bake cake- together! :) Even when I cannot be up and about (pesky chronic illness) I manage to work – with the boys, writing, planning school, doing school – reading the Word – sharing the Word. Mothering is the most amazing work there is – now. . . . gotta find a good cake recipe. . . . I’m thinking chocolate. . . .

  14. As I get what you are saying. We were three in my house growing up and all my sister(the third one) remembers is how tired and short my parents were. My mom was an at home mom and my dad worked. My memories are VERY different from my sisters. I remember loving, tender and patient parents ALWAYS there for me. My sister it is a VERY different story. She remembers my parents as being more stressed, less patient and always worried about money. My sister says NO to kids and my mom’s chosen lifestyle! Does that mean she is ungrateful? Absolutely NOT! She doesn’t want her kids to feel the way she did. She started to have a relationship with our parents in her twenties. As she now understands how things were and has some perspective, she still doesn’t want kids. I think before we judge the younger generation we need to see things through their eyes. Seeing always tired, stressed out parents with little joy in their lives changes the view of having children. If I had seen my parents the way my sister did I would not have had kids. I have three kids and I make sure that I tell my kids how I am feeling and why and that it is not their fault that I am tired. I also tell them that being a mother is not for everyone and that if they choose to be mom, they need to be a mom that they are happy with. It may not be the way I mothered and that is okay.

  15. Cindy, you bless my heart…because I know that you are pouring into your children. You’re not sitting there all day waiting for someone else to do what God blessed you to do! Go get ‘em Tiger!

  16. This is absolutely wonderful!

    One thing I find is either the mother doesn’t seem to want to clean or work in the house, perhaps content with the “lived in” look and finds no joy in housekeeping.

    Or, and this is much more common, there is the mother who is overworked at home. She is doing far too much and is not refreshed and peaceful.

    It is okay to have a starting time when we work at home. For some that might be at 5 am. For others that might be at 10 am. We should also have breaks throughout the day (despite what still needs to be done). We need to rest and have peaceful, happy times of refreshment. Then we must stop working at a certain time and just be done for the day. so many of us just keep going and going because there is so much we need to do, or want to accomplish, but this is harmful to our own peace and health.

    I never really thought of those who say they don’t want to have so many kids because they saw their mothers run down. It is certainly something to really think about! We have to find that important balance of being home in a way that is inspiring to our families.

    Thank you for an excellent post!

    Blessings
    Mrs. White
    The Legacy of Home

  17. I’m just looking forward to having the energy to do some of the work around here without needing a nap. First trimester is still kicking my hind end, and there is so much that I want to be getting done. Until I’m back to normal, however, we do school and try to keep up with the dishes and laundry and hope nobody judgmental stops by (understanding friends and neighbors are welcome, we’ll just push the books from the sofa to the table and have a little chat). The article reminds me of when I called a friend who has 6 kids and said “Are you busy?” She replied “I’m always busy, but I have time to talk now.” So true.

  18. I wonder what would happen if I showed up at someone’s office to find the employee buried in paperwork and phone calls and smirk knowingly at them as I say “boy, you sure have YOUR hands full, don’t you?”

  19. Great post! I have 7 children ages 10.5 years down to 2 mths. I have had issues over the years that have caused fatigue problems that had absolutely nothing to do with my children. And I almost never say a word. I almost never comment on a stressful day. And a lot of the reason is because most people’s reaction would be to think it was because of the kids. I don’t like comments about our family size or suggesting we should be done, and thankfully we don’t get them often. But we would get them a LOT more if I let everyone know every time I was tired or had a bad day. Other’s standards are different when you have a whole crew instead of two….

    • It’s tough when people blame the kids. Hurts my feelings and theirs, as I’m sure you know. I’m learning to ignore it, but you’d think people would realize that even younger kids have feelings and might catch on that some people think they’re a burden. I fight that, tooth and nail. When somebody tells me I’ve got my hands full, I make sure they know that I wouldn’t have it any other way! Congratulations on your 7 blessings!

  20. Nice article! You have a gift with writing! God bless you and yours!

  21. Back here to re-read this. I am sitting at the library trying to make this year’s school/chore/LIFE schedule work somehow. Right now, it has me going strong from 7:30a.m. to nearly 7 p.m. I don’t know if I can handle that physically.
    8 students still at home to teach. I have combined everything I can and still it is looking difficult. Maybe 12 hrs of hard work is the norm? I don’t know…we are moving into a stage where my littles are turning into bigs and things are getting harder with schoolwork. Some of their stuff is more independent than in years past, but we do a lot of subjects together to save time and so I can learn right along with them.
    I guess that in my head it didn’t seem so tough, but once I started writing it down, reality set in.
    Wow, I am gonna be one busy mama.

    • 12 hours of hard work every day is a LOT of hard work. Could be, my dear, that you’re just gonna be tired for a while. LOL. Are your bigger kids doing enough independent work that they could possibly plan their own year? I don’t know what methods you use, but I’m doing ToG with my older ones when they’re bigger, and one of the great things about it is that you leave a lot of the planning and follow-through to them. It’s their responsibility to find out what comes next! Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with handing them a teacher’s manual and letting them figure out what it all means for themselves. It’s how I learn about half of what I’m teaching anyway. Why not cut out the middle man…er, middle mom? ;-)
      Praying for ya, and I’m right behind you. These kids are putting me through the wringer with only 3 students.

      • Dear Cindy,

        Wow! I found this post through Generation Cedar and am I ever glad I stopped by! You have done such a wonderful job explaining just what others need to hear. It seems that I always have had to endure stories about So-and-So who had a whole bunch of children and now she looks so awful, and her teeth are all falling out, and her back is bowed, and she is a human vegetable, and….

        Here I am, a mother of 15 children, almost 49 years old, and still kicking quite well, thank you very much! My skin is still soft, and I smile a lot, mostly because I still have meaningful work to do, and small children around to laugh with! “Oh, go your selfish way and free, but hindered I would rather be!” (Edgar Guest, “Tied Down”)

        And for Dawn,

        You’re not alone–being a homeschooling mother of many children is not easy, it’s really hard work. I am still raising 8 of our 15, with 7 all-grown-up. If you sit down and chart everything out, of course it looks daunting, but if you live it just moment-by-moment, it all evens out.

        When it seems as though I am not physically able to keep up, I take another prayerful look at things; often I find that I am expecting more of myself than God is requiring. There are usually areas that I can “work smarter, not harder” in, such as decluttering my home and my life so that there are fewer “life-stealers”, you know, the creative meanderings that make simple tasks take forever.

        Getting the kids to help is the best way to go, which takes work on our part at first, but pays in major dividends later!

        Also, we have an enforced quiet-time every afternoon, which helps everyone!

        I hope this helps and encourages!

  22. Thanks for this post! We only have one baby so far (a super adorable 9 month old who’s into everything) and already I get some strange looks when I say I love staying at home with him. I’ve been blessed with a husband who sees what I do staying at as important work. Raising the next generation really is VERY IMPORTANT work :-)

  23. This brought tears to my eyes. Everything you said was spot on. I hope to be a mother in the very near future, and I at times feel like God is calling me to have many children. I am #4 of 6 kids (mom was full-time SAHM), and I can tell you how much I appreciate my mother’s hard work. Raising Godly children is work worth doing indeed.

  24. I randomly came across your blog and this really struck a cord in my heart. I have two boys (5 and 3) and ADORE being a mother. I feel like I was made to be a mother. But I have struggled to make the leap to three children because it is “hard”. This post made me cry a little and realize just how silly it is to not do something simply because it is not easy. Thank you for writing it.

  25. I just want to say amen! I cannot complain about being tired either because “we have too many kids”. We have 4 children all 4 years old and under. We plan on having more. Which everyone around us thinks is stupid. All they say is it’s more work, or it isn’t fair to us. Reading your post made me feel better about our family size. For weeks I’ve felt worth far less than I am because others judge me as a person based on my family size. I’ve actually called for information on permanent birth control because I was so depressed about it all. Well, I thin the Lord put it on my heart to read your blog so I could be reminded of my call and my blessed life. Thanks for sharing what was on your heart.

    • Well, I know as a mom of many I’m not supposed to say this, but HOW do you do it with 4 kids 4 and under?? Kidding. Sorta. Mine are spaced a little farther apart than that, and I’m trying to imagine having them that close together. Love, love, love those little ones! Lady, you have got your hands full! ;-)

  26. Thank you for this post! I’ve got 5 kids, oldest is 7, youngest is 10 months. I live in a “have-not” province, and people are generally horrified at the gaggle that follows me through the grocery store. :) “You must be SO busy!” Yep. Keep moving! And when I comment to my constantly moving sister in law (who works and has two kids and complains about how busy she is) that I generally just stay home, she says, “oh, I could never just stay home and sit around all day!” I just chuckle because she has NO IDEA. :) Peering into the next school year with three kids to teach while two toddlers make every effort to thwart structured learning is rather daunting. But you have encouraged me. My children will look back on the home I made for them, and I want my youngest to have the same memories as my oldest. And I want those memories to include grace and peace…which, unfortunately, is generally far from reality. But I will keep coming back to this perspective: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” Thank you for a refreshing look at work!

  27. Well if you get to the point of pure exhaustion….there’s always Monster Lo-Carb just to get you through that last little hump of the day. LOL. I use them on laundry days when I just can’t seem to get the laundry caught up and hubby is needing PT clothes (DH isArmy) and the kids have magically used up all pants/skirts in less than a day.

  28. Cindy, I just stumbled up on your blog/this post! Wonderfully expressed! I was given a special-needs child 39 yrs. ago. God has given me the grace to care for him all these years as a single parent! I have written a few of your sentences for my “quote book”. Where you said, “I have a job worth staying up late & getting up early for!” And, how you said, when people look at you, they will “see how blessed you felt to have so much useful work to do!” You have blessed my soul today! Thankyou Cindy! I too, feel so rewarded, eventhough some days I am worn!

  29. I’m not sure how exactly I just stumbled across your blog (I think it was a “share” on FB…possibly Amy from Raising Arrows?). But I had to laugh about how your children expect you to clothe and feed them every day. My son totally expects that from me too. It’s annoying isn’t it (I’m joking, of course) :) I’m working on a routine around our house. We have our 2nd on the way in a couple of months, and I need our older boy to start learning to do some things for himself…mostly things he already *can* do, he just prefers that I do them for him.

    • I also meant to say that I love this: “I am usually still sleepy when I get up in the morning, but it is not because I am overworked. It is because I have a job worth staying up late and getting up early for.”

  30. I have often pondered this contradiction that society has sold us:
    If we look after someone else’s children, we have a valuable role as daycare provider.
    If we clean someone else’s house, we have a valuable job as a maid.
    If we cook someone else’s food, we have a valuable job as a cook/chef.
    If we teach someone else’s children, we have a valuable job as teacher.

    BUT, if we watch our own children, clean our own home, cook food for our families and teach our own children, we are wasting our lives, or we’re crazy, or we’re doing something that is too hard etc.
    Somehow that doesn’t add up for me, and as much as I know that having a family is hard work, I am happy to be the one to do these things for my kids, and I am glad to be a mom!

  31. So many good points in your article! I homeschool my four little children and feel every bit of the exhaustion that other mothers here have mentioned. However, the more kids I have had, the more I understand the mindset of the world in thinking you are crazy to have more kids. We have ease and convenience in every area of life these days and kids are completely exhausting. Lately I’ve been working two part-time jobs, cleaning houses, and doing photography. Even though I’m physically working hard, not sitting down, and busy at those jobs, they feel SO MUCH MORE RESTFUL than being a mom. Being a mom sucks every bit of the life out of you. You often can’t get sleep/naps, you don’t have privacy going to the restroom, you are constantly interrupted, you have noise continually, you hear screaming, yelling and fighting endlessly, you never stop teaching, training, cleaning messes and reminding, etc. etc. etc. I TOTALLY get why the world disses on having large families! I used to be of the quiverfull mindset but after 4 children my hubby and I are sooooo done and we wonder why on earth we kept having more. We love each one, are thankful for them, and wouldn’t give them up, but we are very young people that feel like old people because the kids have given us such a pounding. My hubby can lift logs, cut timber, and build log furniture all day and come home and be instantly frustrated with their noise and chaos. He loves them dearly and watches them while I do my small jobs but I don’t think he could ever handle my job as a full-time parent-at-home. I feel like such a fool for buying into all of the “have lots and lots of kids” rhetoric as a very-young newlywed. But now, with 4 kids on my hands I’ve discovered I’m not a “kid-person” and don’t handle noise and stress well and think those that had one or two kids were far wiser than me! I will be encouraging my children to wait a LOOOOOONG time before having children and to have smaller families.

    • Four was the tipping point and usually is for most… After #4 it gets MUCH easier… It never gets harder than having four little ones, but easier having four little ones plus olders so help and entertain the Littles. My first four were the hardest, my last four the easiest ever.

  32. Work is not a curse. Work was not punishment for The Fall.
    Work has and is always a blessing.
    Our goal should not be to do as little work as possible. Work is good for us, it is a blessing, and our day should be full of it.
    The difficulty in our work comes that we are fighting against thorns and thistles.
    In “the perfect” setting of the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were given the job of tending the garden. It was their job. It was part of their perfect world. After the fall, their tending including fighting with dandelions and thistles.
    Nothing feels more rewarding that falling into bed at night, tired from working hard.
    I’m writing this because I noticed a comment above that suggested work is part of the curse. My understanding from my studies is that this (work is part of the curse) is taught by the catholic church, but it is not biblical.
    And it becomes quite obvious in various cultures, which culture views work as a blessing and those that view work as a curse.

  33. And I LOVED this. Thank you so much. Beautifully said.

  34. Beautiful and inspiring! Thank you for the noost today!

  35. Oh my. This blessed me more than words can say. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Love,
    Another overworked homeschooling mother of five

  36. Pingback: The Need to Breed
  37. “He who keeps his life shall lose it, but he who loses his life shall find it.”

    This is the way I want to lose my life too, caring for “the least of these”… “if anyone shall accept this little child, he has accepted Me…” (Luke somewhere)

    Our job, far from being the least worth while, is in fact, the MOST worthwhile. I thank the Lord for this job, that’s working my life away. I can think of no higher calling, no greater joy, no more worthy endeavor, than to be in the charge of youthful souls.

    God bless, thanks for the post!

  38. Have to say I appreciate this post. And I had to laugh about kicking the blocks out of the way… I’m expecting #7 any day, and I’ve been kicking toys out of the way to clear a path at night for the last 13 years! Wouldn’t trade it.

  39. Oh dear – I’m so glad I followed a link to this post! You’ve just put a smile on my face, and a bit of encouragement in my heart too. Thanks!

  40. I have seriously come to the conclusion that if your child feels this way it is the fault of the Mother. I have met too many Mothers who tell their daughters not to end up like them and to make something of themselves. Then they are shocked that they have to help out with grandchildren who have been tossed aside for a career.

    The work of Motherhood is noble, dignified and holy. We need to TELL our children that. We need to work ourselves OUT of jobs. We need to teach, train and step back. If I am still cleaning all the toliets myself when my children are older because they have “more important things to do like learn a career” there is something wrong.

    Motherhood and stay at home wife became slave and menial labor somehow. That is not how it was or should be.

    Our children absorb our attitude. Unfortunately, some women who did the best jobs as Mothers feed their daughters the lie that they should “rise above them”.

    This job is the hardest and the most NECESSARY for a civilizeed society. I hardly see where being VP at an insurance company or the greeter at walmart has the same impact.

    Good grief, what a number women have done.

    I am going to share your post on my show this week. Thanks for this.

    • What time is your show, Carlotta? I’ve been having trouble getting the page to load, but I don’t want to miss it. (Even if you don’t mention me, which would be fine, because attention frightens me. I like it! But it frightens me, so I can go either way. See my posts on social anxiety and selective mutism and God’s awesome healing power! ;-) )

  41. This post worries me. The thing about children and having too many of them is not that the mother is working. It is that in some cases she is stretched beyond her limits. This limit is different for every woman and we need to be self aware so we can know when it is time to stop. I think you are incorrect in stating that if someone was experiencing depression from a job that is too stressful that people would say “good job.” I would not. I would say that person needs to find a way to scale back before they are pushed over the edge.

    I used to think like you. I only had four children but I was completely overwhelmed and being pushed to those limits was the beginning of a slide into agoraphobia and a whole series of stress-related phobias that made me a prisoner in my home until I learned to manage the stress in my life and I learned how to establish limits. It was at that point that I realized I could not have any more children. Not because I don’t value work. And not because I don’t adore being around my children. But women tend to be the most self-deprecating people. We are the epitome of guilt. but we can’t do it all, even though we feel we must.

    Trust me. Rest is not just a nice idea. It is necessary for life. Of course there is a time in life when you have very young children where you will feel that you will never be in control again and never again get any rest. That is a phase that will pass. But be careful not to create a life of illness by believing that you are called to be overwhelmed with stress. If you are feeling depressed because of your work, it is time to make a change.

    I had a friend who was one of 17 children. She also did not want a large family because of what she saw her mother go through. In this case she believed the children contributed to her mother’s early death.

    • Wonderful words, Ellen! Nobody deserves to be depressed or to suffer from anxiety and stress-related disorders. That is not the kind of life God wants for us, frazzled and at our breaking points. Every woman deserves the space and the self-love to know where her limit is. And every woman deserves to be respected (and if not respected, at least left alone) for whatever she chooses to do with her life. Whether it is having ten children, or being a working mother of three, that is nobody’s business but her family’s and God’s.

      • I’m curious, Emily, why you felt the need to say this. I’m pretty sure this is my blog, and if I say something here, and another invites herself to read it, then *I* am not the one who has failed to mind her own business. :-)

    • {Editing for clarity} Ellen, I mixed both your comments up with another one that was in my email, so now I have to apologize for completely misreading you. I’m very sorry about that. It’s hard on the phone. ;-) What I NEED to say, first is thank you for your concern! I am neither depressed, nor resigning myself to anything more than a lifestyle that others fail to value as much as I do. I believe that anything that is worth doing is going to be hard, no matter what it is, but I’m not inviting more than I can handle (in Christ). I have designated quiet times and a very relaxed lifestyle. I’m not talking about depression or exhaustion. However, I do believe that our culture has something of a phobia, to borrow the psychological term, about distasteful feelings and experiences. Clinical depression is a very different thing than having rough patches, and I find a great deal of strength and joy in knowing that my goal (healthy, happy, grown offspring, and maybe a grandkid or two) is worth the effort, and yes, the tears when I find myself frustrated because I wanted to sleep another hour, but everybody else needs mama. It’s ok. I promise. I’m doing good.

  42. I just returned home from a restful weekend with my husband. I’m about to go pick up four of my children, and my oldest will be home after work this evening. I’m ready for us all to be together again! I know there will be mounds of laundry to catch up on, and the house will be a mess when everyone gets back in it, but this weekend away has helped me to appreciate my houseful even more. It was good to get away for some rest and time with my husband, and now this blog post is a timely reminder to me to look forward to the work that’s coming! It’s a good life! Thank You, Father!

    • Timely! I thought this blog post was timely, and it was written almost 5 months ago!! I don’t know what prompted Kelly to direct her readers to you on Generation Cedar today–then again, maybe I do! Today was the day that I needed to read it! Thanks again! :)

      • haha! I guess God knows how to get us all where we need to be, whenever that is. ;-)

  43. It’s really sad that most women have been brainwashed into thinking that raising children is not worthy work. I wonder if they think about WHO will be taking care of them or keeping them company in their old age? When they are sick and need help to go to the doctor? Or when they are lonely because all their friends died or moved away, I wonder if they ever think who are they going to call?

    I guess they are counting on the government, or maybe the nice nursing home in their town. Or maybe their pet will help them out?

    I know I will be counting on my children. I kid them all the time that they are “stuck with me”. :)

    As an after thought, my grandma just turned 84 years old. She has been a widow for about 9 years now. She lived with her son for a while and then he died last year. Now she moved down south to live close to her 2 daughters. Each one has 4 children. So my Grandma is surrounded by people who love her. She is a social butterfly and love to travel and go places. Age has not stopped her, she is in great health. Although she had many friends, the majority of them died and so she has the blessing to have her family take care of her and take her places.

    I keep thinking, “what if she had had only one child?”

    So yeah, children are a blessing!!! One day, this woman on the radio will find out the hard truth about working her life away with the wrong things, instead of the right people!! :)

    Blessings to you!

    tereza

  44. While I completely agree with almost everything you said and applaud you for expressing the views of us moms who are home working hard for our children, I would like to point out another side to the story. My dad came from a family of 13. 13! Now while I am all for having lots of children, it seems that there is a limit to how much you can handle. The pattern I saw in my dad’s family is that as soon as the older ones were capable of responsibility, they had a younger sibling to look after. So that the children were raising the children and the mom didn’t really have time for any of them. Having heard about this from my dad, I have vowed to never have more children than I have time to have a relationship with. So yes, children are a lot of work (I have three) and they are 100% worth it, but I also don’t think we should be too quick to judge others about their feelings on the subject. We don’t know what they’ve been through.

  45. Thank you thank you for this post! I’m pregnant with our 3rd right now. My other two are just 2 1/2 and 11 months. I definitely feel like I’m working my life away, and I needed this perspective and affirmation!

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