Have you seen their latest advertisement campaign? It’s centered around the Olympic theme, as are many commercials out right now, and one other notable figure: a mom. There’s one particular commercial showing a woman scurrying around her child’s life – she does the laundry between getting her child from school and packing lunches in the morning, she is up in the wee hours of the morning to take her girl to gymnastics practice, and up late at night to tuck her into bed. At the end of the commercial, P & G makes their sentiment clear: “The hardest job is the best job.”
“Well said, P & G. Well said,” I thought as the commercial ended with the little girl grown up winning the gold and immediately hugging her dutiful mother who was, of course, right there on the sidelines. But it got me to thinking: every bit of that tagline was true, “the hardest job is the best job.” And yet, so often, our world – our culture – seems to want to convince us otherwise. They want us to see how being a mom is not that hard, it’s not really a job, and there are so many other more important things women could be doing with their time and capabilities.
But Being a Mom is HARD!
Take a random survey at your local grocery store, and every mom will tell you: she does not get to do the things she wants to do because of the demands that motherhood brings. And most are okay with that, it has to be done. A greater good is the focus – happy, healthy, well-adjusted children, a tranquil, steady home environment in a seemingly chaotic world. Moms know that to be a mom – a good mom – they must be self-sacrificial. They must look to the needs of their family and meet them, regardless of their own wants or wishes. This is hard, and sometimes moms don’t feel like sacrificing, but, more often than not, they do.
Scripture tells parents to “train up a child in the way that he should go, and he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6). This is hard work, for some children – quite possibly me, after all, I was creative AND stubborn (a problematic combination) – it is harder. This verse is talking about the intentional discipleship of children, a dedicated focus on a child’s upbringing. Children aren’t just going to grow up and innately know (or even want) to do the right thing, to be a person of character, to be godly. That all must be instilled in them at a young age; it must be taught, and it must be intentional. Equally as taxing, mothers don’t have the luxury of being lazy. When they are lazy, things don’t get done around the house, family doesn’t get fed, children don’t get taught – and eventually, society suffers for it. That’s a lot of pressure on moms.
So, yes. Being a Mom is hard.
But Being a Mom is a JOB!
The ability to be a good mom can be difficult. And the skill set needed is extensive. There is a monthly budget to make and meet, resources in which to invest, tasks to organize and complete, “employees” to rally, inspire and delegate. In short, being a Mom is much like being the CEO of your own mini-corporation, except without a day off…ever, the paid vacations, a dedicated secretary, and a corner office with a view.
Growing up, my mom had always been a stay-at-home mom, until I was in Junior High. My older brothers were just starting to head off to college, so my mother took a part-time job in an office to help pay for their college tuition. (My parents strongly wanted us to graduate debt-free, and figured if they could, they would help us do that: again, self-sacrificial parenting is hard work). I remember this one morning, I was curious what my mom’s day would look like so I asked her inquisitively, “You working today, Mom, or are you just staying home?” My mother smiled and said, “I work every day, dear. Some days it’s for love, other days it’s for money. Today, I’m working for money.” I think that’s the time in my life when it dawned on me: when I’m off at school, my mom is working…hard. Her job is being my mom. Sure, she may not clock in and out somewhere, and she may be able to go to work in sweats with her hair in a knot. But the fact remains:
Being a Mom is a job!
But Being a Mom is THE BEST!
The power of influence a mom has in her immediate families lives is unparalleled. It is her arms where solace is found on a otherwise rotten day. It is her lips where words of wisdom sound within the bedroom walls or around the kitchen table. It is her ears that become the listener in the car rides after school. She is the go-to problem solver. And the advice she doles out is paramount.
And there in lies the gravity of her responsibility. She is not just responsible for bringing life into the world; she’s responsible for cultivating that life, nurturing it, growing her children into the men and women God created them to be. A mom’s role is so vital that even science can now give evidence of this truth, “The home environment has greater influence on teens than even hormone levels,” Dr. McIlaney, a medical research doctor, tells us. (McIlaney, Hooked, pg 19). As women, we are to be “keepers of the home” Scripture tells us in Titus 2:5. This is where our responsibility lies, our greatest responsibility. For our home influences the next generation of children who influence the next generation’s culture which influences the next generation of mothers. It’s no wonder God created women powerfully strong, authoritative, capable, intelligent, savvy, and resourceful. We need to be in order to do the best job that He’s given us to do: mothering.
Thank you, P & G, for reminding us, “The hardest job is the best job!” And thank you, Mom, for doing it so well.