Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Why We May Be Damaging the Future of Motherhood

young and old
Photo courtesy of Lanier67

Lately, I've been thinking about how I speak about my children to others, especially first-time moms and young women. When I come across as the stressed-out mother who's always irritated with her kids, I realize that I am not exactly the poster child for good moms.   

Why would a young woman aspire to motherhood if all she sees and hears from moms is how horrible a burden children are?

Our words and attitude can do a lot of damage to the sacred calling of motherhood if we're not careful.

"She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue."

Proverbs 31:26

According to a 2009 survey conducted by the Barna Group, only 12% of teenagers hope to be married by age 25 and only 9% expect to have children by then. 

That statistic astounds me. While I didn't marry until I was 27, I knew from childhood that I wanted to be a wife and mother and yearned for the day that God would answer the desires of my heart.

But with all of the opportunities--from college to graduate school to professional careers to travel abroad--coupled with the prevalence of divorce in so many lives and the negative depictions of motherhood all around, I wonder that any young women want to marry and have children. 

I fear that an even greater number of young women will decide to forgo marriage and motherhood until much later in life or maybe even all together. 

As a mother of three girls, I am concerned.

But that's where we as moms can have a great influence. No, we can't convince all young women of the beauty of marriage and motherhood, but we can present a more positive image of both.  

To do so, we must choose joy over bitterness in our walks as mothers.

First and foremost, we need to begin with our own daughters.  

My girls don't always see the best side of their mother. When I'm frustrated, I sometimes yell, and when the house looks like a demilitarized zone, I complain about all the work that needs to be done. 

My words and attitude are not always an inducement to my daughters to want to be a wife and mother one day, and yet in my heart, I don't know of a nobler calling.  

How we model motherhood for them will determine whether they are among the 9 or 12%, or if they will choose to embrace a higher calling.

How can we do this?

By first committing to changing our attitudes toward our roles as mothers.
  • Instead of complaining about all the housework, let's show our children our gratitude for the homes we live in.
  • Instead of venting our irritations with our kids to others, let's take the opportunity to brag on our children (just a little).
  • Instead of wishing aloud for more time alone, let's view our children, not as a roadblock to our happiness, but as an opportunity for evangelism.
  • Instead of putting Facebook and email above our children, let's give them the full attention they crave and deserve. 
  • Instead of dwelling on all the spiritual matters we should be teaching our children, let's actually sit down and read the Bible together, planting the seed in their tiny hearts.
  "She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness."
 Proverbs 31:27

The Holy Spirit has laid this burden upon my heart to closely guard my lips and my attitude so that what I speak only edifies the sacred calling of motherhood.  

I want my daughters to aspire to marriage and motherhood one day. That means I need to work on myself and view my children not as a hindrance to my happiness, but as lost souls in need of a Savior.

Motherhood is tough, and we all need encouragement in our daily struggles. But let's try to speak uplifting words about our children with attitudes that reflect our love for and devotion to them, not our bitterness and irritation with them.

"Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her..."

Proverbs 31:28

What do you struggle with more as a mom: having a bad attitude or speaking unkindly about your children? What can you do to be a more positive example of motherhood to young single women including your own daughters?

Praying God's richest blessings on you as we continue to grow in His glory,

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  1. Oh I hear you - I often think (as soon as the complaint is out of my mouth) that I shouldn't have said that to her because she is thinking about starting a family. My biggest issue is that I am always looking for "me" time and then waste it on complaints! They admitting it is the first step...


    1. I completely agree, Marissa. I am always putting my big foot in my mouth and wishing I could think more before I speak. It's something I think we all have to work on.

  2. I never thought about it, but you ae right. My oldest at 5 years old (when i had been a single mom all of her life) told me that she would never marry and would only adopt. While adoption is a noble calling, that's not the thoughts about my future family that i remember having at her age...

  3. Wow! At least your daughter wants to be a mother. I know she's only five but I wonder why she is set on adoption. Interesting.

  4. What a great reminder! I have a few sisters (in-law) that are just starting their families, pregnant or with newborns, and I really want to encourage them. Motherhood is a wonderful thing!

    1. I agree, Taara. At times I really have to watch my words especially when I'm struggling with a child with a bad attitude or reeling from an all-nighter with the baby. Attitude is key!

  5. I've been feeling convicted about this too, Keri! What a fantastic suggestion to give our children attention - instead of Facebook or e-mail!

  6. Phenomenal post! Morgan @

  7. Excellent post!!! Beautifully written!!! I believe that God is doing a mighty thing right now in this area in a lot of lives of moms with small children. Thank you for your wonderful articulation - it blessed me!!!

    Oh, and I just stopped by from Monday Mom's Musings and so glad I did!!! I'm following you now!!!

    Jill @

  8. I am so glad you stopped by, Jill, and appreciate your kind comments.

    I pray for God to work in me each day to be the mom who shows to others how blessed motherhood truly is.

  9. Oh yes, we all struggle with bad attitudes, because motherhood GRATES against our selfish natures!!! You are right- the attitude described above (that children are only burdens) is a terrible attitude to pass on to our children, and nothing like what God says about home and family!

    I very much appreciated this post, thank you for the reminder!
    I would add only one thing:
    For me, when it IS hard and my children see my struggles and my warts and my bad attitude, I have seen God redeem that situation too- as He forgives and restores... and as my children learn to look to HIM for help with the battle against the flesh by my example (even on the bad days!)

    I wrote about this here:

  10. Keri, you really struck a cord within me through this post. I definitely catch myself checking email and doing silly blog work instead of playing with my baby throughout the day. I really appreciate your sharing this today. I'm planning to bookmark it and re-read again later tonight. Choosing joy is oh-so-important, and was actually one of my resolutions this year. So blessed by this post.Thank you for linking up with Monday Mom Musings this week. I'm sure that many other ladies are loving this wisdom too!

  11. It's a tough balance. I never want to be seen as the braggy mom who always has it together, but I also don't want to be the frazzled mom who always complains. I need to be transparent enough for my mom friends to see that I get it; I get how hard it all is, but it's something God enables me to do, by His grace. One thing is for sure though, as you have pointed out, it's important for our kids to see that we always view them as a blessing, no matter how difficult it may be to manage a home at times.

  12. I agree with Gabby, it is a delicate balance. Years ago, my pastor's wife told me to never talk bad about my kids, because people will already be forming judgements about our family. The don't need any ammunition! :)

  13. This is SUCH a great post. Having a bad attitude is something I struggle with. I've been irritated lately waking up often at night with a teething baby, but I know that needs to stop NOW! My son is such a blessing; he doesn't deserve a whiny, cranky mom.

    While I was pregnant with my son, I received so many negative comments about pregnancy and parenthood. Though, there were others in our families and church family who have been supportive and there for my husband and I every step of the way!

    I want choose my words wisely and encourage parents-to-be and people in general!

  14. I agree with Amy
    When someone is expecting, they're told "labor will be horrible." "You'll never sleep again!"

    The adorable baby arrives, the parent is told, "Just wait for the terrible twos!"

    The child is an adorable toddler, and the parent is told, "Wait till they're in grade school and sass back!"

    The child is a sweet grade school kid, and the parent is told, "Just wait till they're a rebellious teen!"

    The child is a devout, studious teen, and the parent is told, "Wait till they're in college - then they'll be WILD!"

    And so on . . . .

    When are Christians going to stop telling people how horrible parenthood is - when it's one of God's most wonderful gifts?

  15. This is so important! I've noticed that in general, when people ask me how I am, I tend to mention something negative--often something positive, too, but it seems like the negative gets more attention than it should. It's not always about my child, but sometimes it is. I'm trying to pay more attention and quit that!

    As a mother of only one child, ever since he was born I have heard parents of more than one complain about how rough they have it. It's especially upsetting when I am taking good care of my child (for example, reading to him or serving him healthy food) and other parents tell me how they gave up on doing that for their kids because they have more so it's too difficult or expensive--honestly, it sounds to me like, "I had more kids than I could take good care of," and that makes me sad for their kids!