The “Inconvenience” of Motherhood

When I was 27 years old my doctor told me that I would probably never have children.  At that time I was single, and I wondered if I would ever be married.  It was a difficult time in my life, but I knew God had a plan for me.  Three years later I met and married my husband.  I confided to him that we might not have biological children, so we looked forward to the possibility of one day adopting.  Therefore, you can imagine the amazement we felt when, seven months into our marriage, we found out we were expecting our daughter.

Makaylan is now six months old, and over the last several months people have sought to give my husband and me some “advice” regarding parenting. The advice normally sounds like this: Enjoy this stage because it all goes downhill from here…This is when they are sweet, and then they grow up to be a three-year old, a pre-teen, and a teenager…I remember when mine were this little and now they are a pain… Most of the time this “advice” is given right in front of their children and my heart breaks. What this precious child hears is that they were once valued, but now they are an inconvenience.

We live in a world where we despise being inconvenienced.

We eat fast food; we drive fast cars; we talk on fast cell phones; and we live in the fast lane. We even DVR our TV shows to watch at a more convenient time. As stated in a recent New Your Post article, more and more women are choosing not to have children or regret having them…all because of the “apparent” inconvenience of children.[1] The article noted that choosing to be childless in order to pursue a more fulfilling life is on the rise. And those who have children wish they could experience more freedom.

Since motherhood is a new role for me, I have learned a few things about being “inconvenienced.” For example, I used to get 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, but now I count it a blessing when I get 4 hours of sleep. I’ve also learned that just because your food is ready to eat does not mean that you will be eating it anytime soon. I laughed with a friend of mine the other day when she said, “I think my little girl hears the “ding” of the microwave and decides it’s time for HER to eat.”

Any way you look at it, motherhood is inconvenient…and that is exactly how God designed it!

Did we really think our precious children would come into our lives and not change things? From the moment you hear those amazing words, “You’re pregnant!” God desires to mold and shape you into the parent who resembles His fatherly love. But this shaping can only happen as we give over our rights to ourselves and allow God the freedom to shape us. The problem I have noticed in myself and others is that, often times, we push against His molding. He wants to produce within us love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control, and the tools He frequently uses to teach us these virtues is our children. (Gal. 5:22-23)

But, when we see and treat our children as individuals who have interrupted our nice, cozy life, we disrupt what God desires to do in us and in them.

It saddens the hearts of God when parents, especially professing Christian parents, handle their children with careless contempt. God shows His amazing love towards us when He inspired David to write: “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” (Ps.139:13-14) God wonderfully and miraculously made each child, and then gave them to us to be a blessing in our lives. They come into our world needing us, as mothers, to serve them, mold them, disciple them, and show them Christ’s love.

The Bible speaks over and over again about the blessing of children (Ps. 128, Ps. 139:13-19, and Jer. 1:5). One of my favorite passages on parenthood is Psalm 127:3-4 which says, “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.” Mothers, your children are a blessing to you. Yes, they are messy, loud, and interrupt your day…but that is exactly what we should expect!

I am SO thankful that God does not see me, His child, as an inconvenience.

Instead, while I was still a sinner He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for me (Rom. 5:8). When I have come to Him in need, I have never felt Him roll His eyes at me or turn away because I called at an inconvenient time. He delights in my need of Him, and He encourages me to come to Him…with anything and at ANY time. He does not demand that I wait until morning, or that I grow up first, or that I get a grip. He offers Himself, and delights as we come to Him. What an amazing Heavenly Father we have who has given us the example of how to love, nurture, and give, even when it is difficult. My prayer is that my little girl will always know and feel that her parents prayed for her and find her valuable…even when she is three years old!

So I ask you Mom, do you see your precious children as inconveniences or amazing blessings from God? I pray God will show you how to love and bless your children…even during the inconvenient moments of your day.

 


[1]http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/we_say_no_to_babies_and_yes_to_nyc_2i0q9vs7bKt4pcQfhbYNVO/2

18 thoughts on “The “Inconvenience” of Motherhood”

  1. Octavio Esqueda says:

    Great post Amanda! Greetings and congratulations on your baby! My new e-mail address is octavio.esqueda@biola.edu
    We are also expecting a baby girl by Christmas!

  2. Ellen Parker says:

    Dearest Amanda, I just read your article. Boy, would I love to sit and visit with you some day. God has blessed David and me with four pregnancies. I miscarried our first child and then after a few months, we were pregnant again. Our first child, Jarrod was born in January of 1979. I was on cloud 9 and 10 and 11, … My favorite time in my life was when I was pregnant each time!!!!! When Jarrod was 4, God sent us Rachael. Life was fabulous beyond description. People were shocked when I told them I was pregnant again. Most thought that this pregnancy was an accident. To the contrary, this baby took us longer to get going than the other two combined. And that would be our Slaid (one of Cindy””””””””s students). Each of my beautiful children are such blessings to us and each gifted in their own way. Tragically, we only had Jarrod for 18 years. He is at home with God now, waiting for us. Rachael and Slaid are still the joys of my life. I had always wanted to marry a Christian man and have babies, lots of them. Well, God sent David to me and I did have babies!!!! I never wanted to leave them to get a job and I never did. I have been blessed beyond measure, starting with the gift that God gave us when he let His son die for my sins!!! Thank you for your article and for being such a wonderful wife to Chris and a sweet, sweet mommie to Mayalan! May God bless y”all with many more babies! Love, Ellen Parker

  3. Dear Amanda, I just read your post on Baptist Press, and your words here echo my own heart. I appreciate, so much, every word you took the time to write down.

    I have been blessed with seven children and have a huge (nonplanned) gap between the second and third, and know a tiny taste of infertility. I have also known loss, and I think these things may have helped me realize the value of children, though I have always longed for a large family since I can remember.

    I have also heard the negative comments, also said in front of children, and they just wrench my heart. Once in doctor”s office waiting room a lady asked me if all my children were mine, and when I said yes, she said “I”d shoot myself if I had seven children”. I could have cried right then. Not for my own hurt, because I think, over the years, my heart has learned not to care what others think of my family size, but it hurt that my children heard it… it hurt that HER child heard it… I turned to my little one closest to me and immediately said “don”t worry, dear, I”d never shoot myself, I love being your mother” and the woman went on to complain about how well behaved mine were (through my training!!) but how much trouble her one was, and if she had more of that one, she would just go crazy… and that she had a hard time remaining sane with the one.

    I”m sorry that woman found it so much of a struggle to have one, but I so wish she had the self-restraint not to broadcast it to her child. My heart breaks so for that child. 🙁

    My oldest daughter is 21, and has also been told that she might never have children due to various health issues. It”s amazing to see her heart, how she loves on her younger siblings because “it may be her only chance”, yet how she hopes that the Lord will bless her with a miracle, such as He has blessed you, and I know she is open to how ever many miracles the Lord might bless her with, be it none, or one, or ten…. because she realizes, already, the value of a child.

    I”m sharing the BP copy of your article on Facebook and Google +…. It was beautifully written, and I hope many eyes are opened through it, even long after you have written it. Thank you for letting the Lord use you in this way. Bless you.

  4. Marie says:

    One, thank you for such a well-written piece!

    Two, I have one daughter, who turned 2 not too long ago; I constantly got remarks on “the terrible 2s” and how rough this time can be for the parents. I also managed to get a lot of advice (A lot of them stating that I”d want more after my daughter grew up a bit.), some that were less than profitable for us. While she is headstrong and active, I”d rather she be that way (It keeps me young and healthier, since I”m constantly running after her!).

    Considering that I may not be able to have more children (Age and how my body handled pregnancy and delivery.), I”m thrilled with the little one that God gave me. Attitude and all. 🙂

  5. Lana says:

    I read with great hurt the above article reprinted in “The Baptist Record”. I found it very judgmental and full of all the wisdom of someone who has parented for an entire six month period. You see, for the last eight months my son has been a pain, and I do not hide from him the hurt he has caused. When I say “pain”, I mean it feels as though he has taken a dagger and shoved it into my heart and twisted and slowly took it back out, watched the wound begin to heal, and did it again. But for you to assume that because my child causes me pain, I somehow did not value him is exactly the source of my pain. I have given up my entire life for him. I homeschooled him, raised him in church, and always have and always will love him unconditionally. He is not an inconvenience in my life, he is the reason for my life. And yet he is a pain. That”s where real biblical parenting and love come in to play. I know he is a blessing from God, because the Bible says so, even though at this point in his life, there is little evidence to confirm it. I still believe it, and that”s called faith. I think we sugarcoat parenthood and make it seem easy, something you can do while still going to school and publishing articles. Because of this many women are unprepared for how hard it truly is, so I don”t think it”s wrong to focus on the negatives of being a parent, I think it is our responsibility, so when young people choose to have children they will know what that entails.
    By the way, my son is eighteen, and until a few months ago was the perfect son. He met a girl, and has rejected all his father and I have spent eighteen years teaching him. It hurts worse than anything I have ever experienced. And, yes, I at times refer to him as a pain, but even in his screwed up state of mind, he knows that I love him and always will, so don”t judge because others have trod where you have not yet been.
    Thank you for letting me vent.
    Lana

    1. newlywedbeth says:

      My heart breaks for you. What devastating news! But it is not the end. Take heart! You were faithful and obedient. You did your part. He is making a choice, not based on your teachings but based on his own feelings and nature. I will sincerely pray for you, Lana, as you watch him create his own testimony. I pray God will move in his heart.

      As for me, I googled “parents sees children as inconvenient” and came across this blog. My heart was broken for a different reason. I am nanny to a one-year old boy whose mom seems to think he is such a drain on her social life, career, and time. She asks me to watch him on holidays so she can have “me” time. She calls him “Mr. Trouble.” My heart aches for that little guy.

      My own little 6-year old son is also homeschooled and has a hugely strong will. I know that one day he will be seeking his own direction. I pray every day that he will follow God’s path for his life, not necessarily our plan for him. But I know that if he doesn’t, it wasn’t anything we did. I hope I don’t go into that mode of “did I pray for him enough? Did I tell him something that turned him off?” All I can do is “keep doing my best, pray that it’s blest, Jesus takes care of the rest.”
      God bless you!

  6. Sean says:

    Amanda –

    I came across your article in the Florida Baptist Witness and am encouraged by your heart for your husband and daughter. I am a husband and father of 5, ages 1-9.

    I find that many Christians in my generation (under 35) are welcoming more children, which is exciting. Being a husband and father has taught me more about myself and my need for Christ, daily, than any other thing in life could have. These relationships beckon me, daily, to die to self. Any prior serving I would do before kids was always on my own whim (and therefore wasn”t REALLY much of a sacrifice at all). God has been very good to me to kindly humble me through the blessing of children.

    One thing I”ve been thinking about lately is the need to rediscover community with people. In Scripture, especially in Acts & 1 Timothy, there is a picture of a church that is bearing one another”s burdens and sharing all things in common. It is “common unity”. The more kids my wife and I have had (with challenging, sick pregnancies), the more the community of believers has been vital.

    Currently our family serves in a medium-sized church (about 300) with 8 women expecting babies this year! What we”re finding, though, is a shortage of older women (primarily ages 40s-60s) who stay home and are available to practice Titus 2 ministry. Instead, many of these women are working for pay and don”t have time to care for and mentor young women.

    I”m interested in your thoughts, as well as for you to use your mentoring opportunities to help women think biblically about their roles – to find pleasure in who God has created them to be.

    Regarding Lana, I hurt for her – a mother who has poured herself into loving and raising her son. However, her description of her life and what led up to her son rebelling is incomplete for us to assess her situation. I would recommend the book “Jumping Ship” by Michael Pearle as a good read for any young parent concerned about the future of their children. We homeschool, but homeschooling is no silver bullet in and of itself.

    Thanks, again, for your article, and for believing in the great, simple (but incredibly tough) job of motherhood!

    Blessings!

  7. Adrianne says:

    Thank you so much for your post! It really spoke to me today! I have 3 precious boys – 8, 4, and 5 months. Just to give you some “good news,” we never went through terrible 2”s or 3”s! Yes, some phases are more trying than others, but I”ve never had a time that I wish I had skipped. Even so, I do sometimes find myself thinking, “I wish I had more time for…” Then fill in the blank – with selfish stuff and unselfish stuff! Cleaning house, Bible study, reading books, and maybe some shopping too! I needed to hear this to remind me what my #1 priority is – those amazing boys! Blessings to you – and may God continue to fill your quiver!

  8. This is beautiful and so true! I see baby onesies all the time screen-printed with messages like, “Mommy needs a date night,” or “All mommy wanted was a backrub,” and I cringe! I know the baby can””””t read, but putting the baby in clothes with that kind of message stamped on the front is speaking over them that they are a hassle instead of a blessing. Thank you for reminding mommas out there that the fruit of our wombs help to grow the fruits of the Spirit in us.

  9. hopeinbrazil says:

    My kids are all grown now, but I couldn’t help but resonate with your thoughts. It took me much longer to get the message. By the time my second son came along I was complaining to the Lord about how little time I had for ministry. He brought me up short by reminding me that my children were not an interruption to my ministry, but quite the opposite. In fact, after ten years of staying home with the kids I was a much chastened (in a good way) missionary and had much more to offer people. Raising kids and learning to let go of “my rights” was a valuable time in the Lord’s training school. But I didn’t just grit my teeth and bare it. The Lord gave me real joy in mothering when I stopped acting “put out.”

  10. Alicia says:

    I really could use some prayer. I found out that I am expecting but I am not especially excited about this news. I am 39 and have been with my husband for 11 years. We never really saw it as a priority to have kids and have been content with the way things are. I am just not looking forward to the lack of sleep, the work, and the finances it will take to raise a child. I feel so terrible and selfish for these thoughts but I just can’t help my feelings. I pray that God will change my heart.

  11. Amanda Walker says:

    Ellen:

    Thank you for sharing your journey of motherhood with me. There is nothing more important or a blessing in my life than being able to be wife to Chris and mommy to Makaylan. I always enjoy connecting with other wives and moms who get the great task God has given women in all stages of life. Blessings on you!

    Amanda

  12. Amanda Walker says:

    Dr. Esqueda:

    Congratulations on your new addition!! That is SO exciting! Thank you for your word of encouragement. Blessings on you guys as you get settled in to your new position.

  13. Angelica Esqueda says:

    Dear Amanda,
    Octavio printed your article for me, and I read it at home.
    You are talking about some very important and current views on motherhood. When my son was born, after 9 years of marriage and 2 of fertility treatments, I felt overwhelmed and cried for most of his first year of life… becoming a mother was the hardest thing my body and soul had to adjust to. I love him to death, and now that we are expecting a daughter, I am very aware of my selfishness and physical limits… who wants to feel exhausted and overwhelmed for months…? But I only know God never gives us more than we can handle and the spiritual lessons a child can teach are far more effective than any Sunday School program!
    My sister and 3 brothers view parenting as an inconvenience… they have voiced loud and clear that no matter what they will never have a child… they are serious about it. One of my cousins even wnet as far as to do a vasectomy at 30 years old so that he will be sure not to become a parent ever. None are believers… they only believe in freedom, convinience, new cars, great vacations, rest, and more and more freedom. Sad but true. Anyway, I am VERY happy God granted you a child and that you are working on your PhD and are a writer and a mom and great wife. We””””ll keep in touch!

  14. Amanda Walker says:

    Heather:

    Thank you for sharing your heart! What a blessing and incredible charge God has poured upon your life in raising your children. May He continue to give you wisdom and strength as you raise your children to be godly men and women. Thank you for being an example of someone who will counter the culture around her to live according to God”s Word. Blessings upon you!

    Amanda

  15. Amanda Walker says:

    Marie:

    Though we have about a year and half to go until we reach the “terrible twos,” I think God has blessed us with a child who is a little strong-willed. 🙂 But I, too, praise Him for making her exaclty like He has made her, for strong children set the pace for the rest of the bunch. May your daughter (and mine) become young, godly women who stand up for truth and righteousness. Blessings on you as you continue to raise this precious gift!

    Amanda

  16. Amanda Walker says:

    Dear Lana:

    I am so glad you felt the freedom to vent your hurt and frustration. It saddens me that you saw my post as being judgmental, for that was not, nor ever will be, my intent. We mothers, in all stages of motherhood, need Christ’s grace and mercy to guide and parent our children according to His standards. So first, I ask for your forgiveness where you sensed any form of judgment. Secondly, I also realize that I, nor anyone else, have all the answers to motherhood. This is why we need sisters in Christ to come alongside us and encourage us. No, I have not been where you are right now. But I know women who are there or who have been thee, and I am sure you also know women who have walked where you are walking. My prayer is that you would seek out their biblical counsel and guidance and find encouragement through allowing them to journey alongside you. I also want to affirm your statement that just because your children cause you pain does not necessarily equal you deeming them an inconvenience. I will note that there are mothers out there who do see their children as a “pain” and inconvenience in their life, and it was that sinful attitude I was addressing. The very fact that you have raised your son in a godly home shows that God placed upon you and your husband the importance of discipleship. As you can attest, solid discipleship does not always mean one will not rebel from time to time. Therefore, know that I have and will continue to pray for you, your husband, and your son. May he remember the truths you have taught him over the course of his life and return back to walking in those truths. I also pray that our Father will show you exactly how to speak to him and rebuke him in such a way that your son is pierced with the redeeming love of Christ.
    Lana, thank you for sharing your heart with me. I know there are many women who are where you are right now. May our Father give you grace, mercy, and guidance as you continue to beg Him for the return of your son.

    With Grace,
    Amanda