We do a lot as mamas, and it can be easy to feel overwhelmed as we take care of children, appointment, cleaning, spiritual growth and much more. Each day can face us with a barrage of things that need doing, places to go as well as children that need loving and caring for. Many daily tasks which are repeated day after day, week after week, can leave us lost in the mundane details of life. It’s so easy to begin to lose sight of why we are doing them and what the lasting significance of our role is- whether we are at home full time, working full time or anywhere in between. How do we begin to dig into what our mission is in motherhood, and to remember that big picture of our role and purpose in motherhood?
What’s our goal?
Is our purpose to get through each day, to keep them alive and busy and happy? There have been so many days that when silence finally fell, I clambered into bed and breathed a sigh of relief that we all made it through. But whilst there are stages where adjusting to a new reality means that getting through the day and learning for the next one can be the best we hope for- we really know that our long term goal has to be linked to the kind of people we want our children to be as they grow up and enter adulthood.
Keeping the big picture in mind means tricky things like imagining our children as adults. What do we want them to be like? What traits and values do we want them to treasure, and how will they act towards other people? These things will likely look different between different families, and even between parents as we might have different aspects of our children’s developments that we have a particular investment in. It’s worth discussing with those who do parenting alongside us, and to work together to find those common key values as well as goals that we might be able to work on individually.Sharing your mission or purpose with your husband or partner can open up conversations and give you opportunities to understand each other better. Often you might have differing opinions but finding ways to appreciate those and work together as a team to build your family values and identity is challenging but rewarding!
What’s our motivation?
What are we doing this for- really? It’s an uncomfortable question. Is it for approval of others? To have well behaved children? To have the life wealways expected? In smaller everyday moments we can remind ourselves of this, as often our reactions to situations inside and outside of the house aren’t really responses to the behaviour or circumstance but reactions to the way we want our life to look. When our child is screaming down the road and we start to feel overwhelmed- sometimes it can be because we are worried about what other people think instead of being confident in knowing our child and understanding their frustrations. When something doesn’t go to plan and we realise that our expectations of a family that looked a certain way are beginning to crumble around us- we can be basing our motives and happiness on something that’s unstable. It can be hard if we’ve had dreams for what our future would look like and reality is not matching up, since we are basing our hopes on an ideal that is constructed in our heads instead of appreciating the family and life that we have right now, whatever it looks like.
As much as anyone else I have to sometimes stop and pause to remember that my role as mama is not about anyone else’s approval or to match up to society’s expectation or anything else- it’s about being faithful to the job I have been entrusted with and loving them in the way that’s right for them, for us. Whilst our daily life impacts and is impacted by others, the only motive I want to have is love, and confidence in the place in life that I’ve been put in right now.
Download a free ‘mama mission’ printable , so that you can take some time to reflect on your purpose and mission.
What are our values and skills?
Our purpose and mission is nuanced according to these values and skills so much. Whilst many of our hopes for our children might be similar, the ways we fill our everyday will still look very different as we have a variety of passions, talents, values and experiences to bring to the table in motherhood. This might literally mean gathering around the table with our families, the conversations we have at mealtimes, the paint we do or don’t get out depending on our tolerance for these things! It might mean lots of spontaneous walks in the country, or time spent perfecting models. It could mean all of these things, or none of these things- but each of our homes will have a unique makeup, an individual recipe that creates a beautiful combination of sounds, sights and smells that makes up the identity our family over time.
Often there are lots of different elements coming into play when we think about why we are a mama and what our role is. But if we get really specific to our unique values, our skills in motherhood and our individual children we can start to form a clear idea of what our mission is beyond cleaning and clearing and entertaining. The reason for all of those things, the why behind the tasks.
As a new mama I didn’t take much space to think about the big picture beyond imagining vaguely what ‘one day’ could be like with older children, and the kinds of things I was looking forward to about different stages. I’ve found it so helpful to physically write down some of my hopes for my children as they grow up and how that affects my purpose and my actions between now and then. As our priorities are made clear then our steps along the path towards those goals are much more evident, and the purpose in our day to day activities (even they still consists of making meals, cleaning clothes and finding random lost objects) is easier to remember. For me, my main purposes are to raise our little ones knowing and loving God, to help them to develop their skills and passions that they’ve been created with, and to help them to be kind and considerate adults. The smaller details of these can be seen in the ways we go about our weeks, how we are trying to model and show them ways to interact with others as we also follow our family’s passions and interests as well as their individual skills. Taking some time out of the everyday to pause and plan, to think of this big picture and even stick it up on the wall is so helpful when our day suddenly spins out of direction and I’m left wondering what I’m doing. A pause, a refocusing and a remembering what really matters in this crazy motherhood thing is so good.
There’s a free printable here called ‘mama mission’ that you can print and use as a space to reflect on some of these things- or you can find the page in the mama book big picture section if you’ve got a journal! I love having it up on the wall just to look at and refocus every once in a while. We have purpose in motherhood, such an important and special role to love our children and to shape their hearts. Let’s not forget that in the ordinary everyday, but infuse our daily lives with purpose and meaning in our motherhood.