Thursday, May 10, 2012

motherhood {in-between}

The Proverbs 31 woman. 

We've been compared to her industriousness and beauty through many sermons on Mother's Day.  Have you read her chapter?  If not, I encourage you to.  It can be found in the book of Proverbs, ummmm... chapter 31.  She was quite the catch, I'm sure.  Apparently, many worked as she did; yet, she outclassed them all.  All?  I wonder if other women were jealous of her.  I wonder if she took the time to care.

I have to admit.  This Proverbs 31 lady was not my favorite person.  Then, it dawned on me.

I've often thought about the line on a tombstone.  (How's that for a transition?)  Not the beginning date, nor the ending, but the line in-between.  Dare I say, the most important part.  The many days and memory-filled moments. 


The Proverbs 31 woman was not born pre-skilled in sewing and cooking.  Her skills, character, and traits were cultivated over time... not one day.  During the in-between time.  

I've sometimes wondered... Did the never-hormonal-always-pleasant-never-a-hair-out-of-place-industrious-Proverbs-31-woman ever take a moment for herself?  At least, that's how I saw her.  I can only imagine the answer would be yes.  If nothing else, for sanity's sake.  If I could have tea with her, I'd like to ask her how she did it without mom-guilt.

Mom-guilt.  I'm convinced it comes as a side order with kids.  Yes, please.  I'll take a cute little bundle of joy, with a side of guilt.  We all suffer with it at one point or another, right?  We take our eyes off of love for one fleeting moment, lose patience, and are consumed with it.  We take time for ourselves... or not, and are consumed.  We miss one of our child's firsts... and are consumed.  No matter what the cause, it's always there, waiting to pounce on the joy in motherhood.

Did I hug them exquisitely, so that they feel my love for them?  Did I listen, without distraction, in conversation long enough?  Have I taught them a lesson in character, or did they only see my faults today?  Did I sound critical, without being constructive?  Did I take enough pictures to hang on to the important memories?  I should feel like playing with them.  I should finish the laundry.  I shouldn't be spending time on the computer right now...  I should start dinner.  I should take time for myself.  I should...

So many things tug at our mama apron.


Truth is, when I take time for myself, it helps me to be more present in the moments that matter most during the in-between.  

I don't have all the answers - especially where motherhood is concerned. I'm learning to be okay with that.  Honestly, there's a bit of freedom in those words... I don't know

However, what I do know is that children are pretty resilient. They care what I am doing in the current moment.  To them, that's the line in-between. So, I have come to terms with the lovely Proverbs 31 woman.  She can do some pretty great things, but is she doing the tango with my 10 year old in the kitchen, or singing a pretty killer Do-Re-Me harmony with my 12 year old?  Where is that on her list?  At the end of the day, her list might just look a lil' different than mine.  I mean... I think it's safe to say that I will never be an accomplished seamstress.   

If we are serving those around us, as best we can, without comparing to our neighbor, I suspect we are fulfilling the role of the Proverbs 31 woman with the people God has entrusted us with. 

I predict, one day, my children might rise and call me blessedUntil then... I'm pretty content when they rise and ask for breakfast.  It's only for a season, right?


Although, the language in which they express it in this season of life is pretty priceless, too.

Now... What do I do for myself?  Hmmm... Yeah, I'm working on that one.  Balance.  It seems the unattainable goal, most days.  I'm still working on saying no to people who take advantage of my kindnesses, and saying yes to things that enrich my life.

Motherhood seems to permeate every fiber of my being; always thinking of ways to improve life for my lil' nest, attempting to savor each moment, while cleaning up and documenting the mess of fun memories just made.  It's more of a balancing ACT.

For a homeschool mom, whose husband works many hours traveling, seizing time just for myself can prove challenging.  For now, in this juncture of life, it's seizing unplanned moments as they come - grabbing a quick brunch with a friend, while the girls have theater, or making myself read something non-homeschool related.  Sometimes, it's simply taking 10 minutes in the car, while waiting on the girls, to dust off a few apps on my iPhone.  Then there's my 'to gym or not to gym' question.  It's a battle, really.  *sigh*

If only motherhood came with a manual, right?  I venture to say that regardless of which path you and your family are on, whether it be homeschool, karate, dance, theater, music lessons, *breath*, church activities, crochet, baseball, volunteer work, etc, etc... We are all simply doing what we can to make the most of the in-between memories.

Conversing with a group of homeschool moms yesterday, we found ourselves giggling at the very thought of 'me' time in our current season of life.  I believe in bringing our worries to God, but there's also something special about girl power.  The freedom to say, "Hey, I understand exactly what you're going through.  Me, too."

I've find myself giggling when I hear sweet friends express that I always seem to be so... put together.  {excuse me whilst I laugh uncontrollably}  I have flaws, y'all. I imagine the Proverbs 31 woman did, too... so I think we're in good company.  Girl power, y'all. ;)

I guess one of the best gifts a mom could give herself would be to stop over-pixelating their mothering.  Seize moments in-between to be present in the doing.  Make memories of fun - for the kids.  And... guilt-free moments just for the mama.  The one wearing that worn, much tugged at, apron.  

It's what will be remembered in the in-between


For more posts celebrating motherhood, visit my friend Theresa @ Red Oak Lane.


  1. I love this..I love every little part of it. I read it twice I loved it so much. I have always thought about the Proverbs 31 woman in awe, how could she possibly be all of that when I struggled through some days, minutes, seconds?

    I so know the feeling of no time for 'yourself'. As a single Mom, it is hard to eek out time. My favorite point in this is 'the in-between times'. Ah yes, the beautiful, memorable in-between times. I have a feeling this phrase will stay with me for a long time.

    Beautiful post!

  2. "If we are serving those around us, as best we can, without comparing to our neighbor, I suspect we are fulfilling the role of the Proverbs 31 woman with the people God has entrusted us with." YES!! This is so true!! Thank you for summing up that whole chapter that I've struggled with for so long!

    I loved this whole post!

  3. Wonderful post!! Again, you've shared so much of your lovely heart...inspiring! Your girls are so blessed to have you be their Momma!

  4. What a beautiful post! I, too, have struggled with comparing myself to the "perfection" of the Proverbs 31 woman. Thank you for the reminder of the "in-between" time. What a difference that can make. I hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day! Many blessings, Lisa

  5. this was beautiful and perfect! you can fly out to oregon for my mom's weekend getaway in september;)

  6. this is a great post. lovely thoughts on motherhood. it is remarkable to study the p31 woman and imagine what she was like and how we can strive to be that woman to our families, friends and homes. hmmm... great thoughts for this weekend!

  7. So funny to hear my mom say she was very impatient with us kids when we were growing up. None of my siblings or I remember her that way at all. We all remember her as having all the time in the world for us, listening to us, and being very loving. We moms are hardest on ourselves I think.

    The in between is where life happens : )


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