Oct 3, 2017

Motherhood Isn’t What the “Back-to-School” Ads Would Have You Think

By Laura Vandercook

Around the time that school starts each year, I see various ads built around the theme of how excited moms are about their children going back to school. These ads portray children as robbing moms of their sanity, being argumentative with their siblings, complaining of being bored, not allowing mom to have time to herself, and so on. In contrast, they show mom reading a book, watching television, having a clean house, drinking alcohol, sleeping, talking with other moms, and enjoying life without her children when the kids are finally in school.These ads portray motherhood and children in such a negative light. They make me shake my head and wonder about how society views children and motherhood. At times, everyone becomes annoyed with those around them, especially when a lot of time is spent together, but children are amazing and bring lots of joy and an interesting perspective to life. With all of this negativity towards children and motherhood, I started making a mental list of benefits of motherhood. Here are four ways my children have made my life better.

Car rides are more fun.

Car rides might seem like a difficult thing to do with your children, but we’ve had a lot of fun in the car. Once, I was singing along to the radio to one of my favorite childhood songs, “She’s a Wild One” by Faith Hill, when one of my kids began asking me questions about the characters in the song. She pointed out the different aspects of vocation represented in the song--or example, the father who falsely told his daughter she could be anything. This led to a very interesting conversation about the vocation of parent, the vocation of manhood, and the vocation of womanhood, as well as the vocation of child. I think about that conversation often and count it a blessing to have had it.

Over the past three days, I spent 11 hours in the car with my children driving them to my parents’ home and back for my dad’s 65th birthday. During this particular car ride, I laughed with my son as we imagined the car behind was a catfish about to eat our car because of the shape of its grill. We enjoyed the truck driver who honked his air horn on I-30 for us. We laughed as my daughter stared out of the window at passersby until they noticed her, and she waved to them. Car rides are much more entertaining now than they were before I had kids.

Literature and art are a bigger part of life.

I’ve also gained knowledge and developed a greater appreciation of arts since I have had children. I have enjoyed beautiful illustrations in picture books that I might never have picked up had it not been for my kids. I’ve learned about many works of art through my children’s schooling that I never learned before. I’ve listened to classical music as one of my children enjoys it. As a child, I never read the Little House series. I watched the television series, but, sadly, never had the desire to read the books, until I had kids. However, it isn’t just children’s books that I’ve read. The Little House series inspired me to read Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography. I’ve read classic literature that I had never read before including books by John Steinbeck, William Shakespeare, Geoffery Chaucer, among others. I’ve also been inspired to read theological books, books on vocation, and many historical books. Much of this reading was inspired by either books or topics that my children have been interested in or because I would like to be better educated for the sake of my children.

The Small Catechism comes alive at home

Additionally, I am much better catechized in my faith now that I have children. I was not instructed to memorize the catechism in my confirmation instruction, but because my husband has been working on this with my children, I too have memorized large portions of it that often come to mind when I’m thinking, reading, or having conversations. Thinking through the doctrine of our church with my children has helped me to grow in understanding so much!

I have learned about serving others

Besides my children being an enjoyment to me, a source of inspiration and learning, and conversational companions, they also teach me to love and serve my neighbors. I am learning to look outside of my selfish desires. I am learning that eating all of the chocolate in the house robs me of the joy of sharing it with people that I love. I am learning that cleaning up the messes around the house isn’t a hated and endless chore as much as it is a way to care for the physical needs of my family. I am learning that these selfish desires of mine are ways that I despise my vocation. This is the Old Adam in me that needs to die. And yet, God forgives me of these sins. He looks upon me with His favor because of His Son’s merit. These good works that I do for my children are in response to this forgiveness of sins. They are a wonderful blessing of my vocation as mother. As the hymn, “Salvation Unto Us Has Come” says, “For faith alone can justify; / Works serve our neighbor and supply / The proof that faith is living.”

As society encourages me to despise my vocation, I remember the many blessings of motherhood. God provides for me in my vocation of motherhood the chance to die to my sinful nature and to live in Christ in love and service to my neighbors--these blessed children He has given me.


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Laura Vandercook and her husband David have three kids, Allyssa, David, Jr., and Kaytlin. Laura enjoys talking about classical education and theology with her friends over freshly baked cookies.


4 comments:

  1. YES! Thank you for this uplifting, encouraging post about the joys of Christian motherhood.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very good article, Laura! I often remember how I cried when Tricia walked off to her first day of kindergarten. Homeschooling was not an option back then.

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a great and refreshingly ordinary list of things to be grateful for as a mom. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete

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