Thursday: Hard Work

Mothering has taught me: Being a mom is hard work.


adjective, hard·er, hard·est,adverb, hard·er, hard·est, noun
difficult to do or accomplish; fatiguing; troublesome: a hardtask.
difficult or troublesome with respect to an action, situation,person, etc.: hard to please; a hard time.
difficult to deal with, manage, controlovercome, or understand: a hard problem.
One Friday, a couple of weeks ago, I decided on a whim to go to Hobby Lobby. You need to understand that Hobby Lobby is about 30 minutes away without traffic. Also understand that making decisions on a whim don't normally work out well for me anymore, especially when it takes 20 minutes to get out the door with Finn. But it was Friday, and I wanted to do something for myself.
We get to our destination, spend way too much time debating over knobs and pulls, and buy random items I don't necessarily need. All the while forgetting that I had a little person with me who'd more than likely get sick of his momma's Friday fun spree.
Then I saw TJ Maxx, and thought it wouldn't hurt to go there too, even if Finn was hard to please.
I never get carts anymore, so there I was, balancing 7 dessert plates, a strainer, and a picture frame all while trying to maneuver a stubborn stroller with a grumpy little guy looking up at me in frustration.
I hate lines now more than ever. Eventually we got to the checkout. The employee was a long, blonde-haired young adult guy who looked extremely out of place in Kingsport, Tennessee. He belonged on the beach, he looked like a I have no money but am perfectly happy living in a shack, sleeping in the sand, and trying to surf all day kind of guy. Extremely sincere. Extremely slow. Extremely happy.

I was about to get irritated with him until he asked (in the most genuine sort of way) how my day was going. I probably blurted something out that was a little too honest, but he continued treating me with such genuine interest and encouragement that my mood started lifting. 

Finally, after he very carefully(slowly) wrapped up each.individual.dessert.plate. He said to me in a farewell manner...."Hey, I think  you're gonna be a really great mom!" (in a Ted Logan from Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure voice) Here's the trailer if you have no idea what I mean.
It was exactly what I needed. In those few words, this stranger had acknowledged that what I was doing wasn't easy. That I was in process. And that what I was learning and how I was working would positively influence my son.
Here's Finn earlier during out photo shoot right after he pulled his sock off.

Through experiences like this I've learned that child-rearing is anything but easy. It's two hands when you need five, washing bottles over and over, wrestling anxious little feet into socks, reading that book one more time, crouching and standing and crouching again, wiping noses and chins.....going to bed at night exhausted from a long day of accomplishment.
"'Oh how good,' said the person once, 'it is to work for God in the daytime, and at night to lie down under his smiles!'"*
And here he is fleeing the scene.
Still with the sock.
Mothering has taught me that this job is hard, and I can't do it on my own, but by God's matchless power and with the reminder that it's not what I do, but how & why I do it, I can daily, even in the small things, reflect God's glory.
"Our aim is to joyfully magnify Christ-to make him look great by all we do. Boasting only in the cross, our aim is to enjoy making much of him by the way we work."**
Mothering has taught me that the hard work it entails cannot be accomplished by my own strength. Mothering has taught me that the Gospel is not just helpful, but essential.
"Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep." Ecclesiastes 5:12


*Piper, John. Don't Waste Your Life. Quoting Jonathan Edwards' writing.
**Piper, John. Don't Waste Your Life.

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