Thursday, June 6, 2013
Be that voice
One of my biggest convictions regarding the raising of my daughters has been that I do not want them stepping into domestic life as woefully unprepared as I was. Despite having spent my early childhood at my Mamaw's knee, learning how to cook and clean and bake and can and sew and do all those homey things, my teen years were spent in far more (ahem) practical pursuits. Like studying for SATs. And school clubs. And getting a part-time job.
None of which I regret or would seek to deny anyone, by the way. Just not ... well, applicable to the life I find myself living.
Despite my grandmother's best efforts, I still made spaghetti (with jarred sauce) for dinner for my new husband 4 nights out of 7 for the first year of our marriage. I still threw away my husband's shirts when they got holes in the armpits. I still looked at my hours-old daughter and wondered how in the heck I was supposed to wrangle her into a new diaper.
I was too embarrassed to ask for much advice in those first early years; I was terrified that my Mamaw would either roll her eyes at me or tell me what a disappointment I was to her. When I finally caved and begged for advice, her reaction was anything but what I had expected. On the contrary, she was delighted to be called on to share sprinklings of her wisdom. Having had no daughters of her own, and not feeling needed by her daughters-in-law, Mamaw had assumed that her chance to mentor a young wife had all but passed her by. My questions about defrosting chicken, nursing babies, soothing bug bites, and cloth diapering gave her a new lease on her own worth.
The circle was complete. She was passing on wisdom, just like God had designed her to do.
Many (most?) of us homemaking/homeschooling wives and mothers nowadays find ourselves treading new waters. Trained by society for careers in the professional world, we struggle with the daily laundry duties, the constant to-do list of running a home, the ongoing nature of that blasted meal planning. Unable to keep up, we rush to latch on to the newest ebook touting 100 Ways to Keep Your House in Order. We haunt websites that offer day-by-day cleaning plans. We create pinterest boards dedicated to organization, tips, and household stuff.
And all the while, we lament that there is no one there--no wise woman in the wings-- willing to step in and fill that Titus 2: 3-5 role in our lives.
And you know ... for most of us, there isn't.
For most of us, books and websites and blogs and a few friends walking in our same season-- that's as good as it gets.
So we acknowledge it, and maybe even mourn it a little. We feel somewhat cheated. But we carry on, and we make darn sure that our daughters--our young women-- they will not suffer the same way. They will know how to make a cake without a mix, how to fold those pesky fitted sheets, what to do when a skirt's hem is two inches two long. They will be ready. And if they're not-- well, we're only a phone call away.
Which is a very good, very worthy thing.
What about the small, quiet army of new moms today?
What about your sweet neighbor who just outlined her perfectly reasonable plan to go back to work when her baby is four weeks old?
What about your new sister-in-law, who can't cook a lick, bless her heart?
What about the mom at the playground lamenting that her new baby won't sleep more than an hour at a time?
What about the lady at the library who admits she's at her wit's end trying to keep the place clean?
What about that couple at church? That lovely lady is clearly having a hard time balancing the new role of wife.
What about the woman in the grocery store staring at all fifty varieties of jarred mashed bananas and looking overwhelmed?
What about the newbie homeschooler you just met, who says she's pretty burned out already?
What if you could very gracefully, very gently, without an ounce of condemnation or implied authority, what if YOU could be the voice that somehow speaks into the heart of that woman?
What if you were the one who could teach another woman how to do more than just survive the crazy chaos that is the blessing of being a wife and mom? What if part of your role here, now, in this season, is to be a mentor to the women God places in your path?
If you're saying you have nothing to offer, you're wrong. If you've survived a year of marriage, a month of parenting, a week of homeschooling, well-- you've got a little time served under your belt. You know something. You have some hands-on learning. You can encourage, even if you can't directly help.
Salvaging burnt rice? Can do. Avoiding diaper rash? Yep. Taming two year-old tantrums? I've got some tips. Lining up your own libido with your husband's? Let's talk.
Ladies, take a second to be that voice. Even if you can't fully take a younger woman under your wing, go out of your way to share what you have learned on your journey. There is no shortage of Titus 2 women available to teach, I believe ... just a whole generation of women who have yet to realize that they can fill the job description.