Several weeks ago, I had a couple different commitments outside the home. Both were ministry opportunities at my church – one on Thursday and one on Saturday. Late Wednesday afternoon, my preschooler came down with a fever, congestion, and an extremely irrational mood. So on Thursday, I had to call the church office and let them know that I could not fulfill the responsibility I had taken on. Thankfully our church staff is extremely gracious, and they understood and took over my little project without complaint. But it was still disappointing to be scrapping my plans and heading to the pediatrician instead!
There are definitely days in which wiping noses does not feel like a grand use of time. It’s not the stuff that motherhood dreams are made of. Nursery artwork does not feature pictures of whiny, sick preschoolers. You don’t see images on greeting cards of a mother (8 months pregnant) holding a sick 4 year and attending to his constant needs while his jealous 2 year old brother chants, “Hold me, Mommy! Hold me, Mommy! Hold me, Mommy!”
Nose wiping, drink pouring, and medicine dispensing seem like an interruption to all that matters in life.
… until you contemplate the child that does not have these things.
I read this post from the blog Heart Cries and caught a glimpse of the damage done when a child does not have a mother to take care of him. This post tells just a glimpse of the story of a child in the foster care system who in his short lifetime has known the meaning of instability and neglect. (Go read the post and then come back and finish this one. Just make sure you come back!)
After reading that post, I was struck with the immense value of building a family. God designed families as a place where people are grounded and equipped to face all that happens in life. Offering the assurance of love, comfort, stability, and care is no small thing. Children (and husbands too!) need a place that provides a haven and a shelter from the problems of life.
So take heart, mothers of young children. It’s not just nose-wiping. Or just laundry. Or mopping or cooking or picking up the same clutter for the 400th time. It’s building a family, and a place where little (and big) people know that their needs are going to be taken care of by someone who loves them no matter what.
And that’s a pretty important thing to do.