As mothers, we often find ourselves caught in the never-ending cycle of tasks and responsibilities. The never-ending to-do lists can easily consume our thoughts and leave us feeling overwhelmed. But what if we shift our perspective? What if we choose to focus on what truly matters – the relationships we nurture within our families? Today we explore the timeless saying, “A mother’s work is never done,” and how that plays out in our families in a healthy way. 

A Mother’s Work is Never Done – But there’s More to it than that!

The old saying “a mother’s work is never done” is true – there is always something to do.  

We can say “a mother’s work is never done” with resignation, with frustration, despair, tiredness – and fair enough – some of our tasks are repetitive, seemingly thankless, and not particularly inspiring.  

 

Being a mother is all about Relationships

This is where we need to have slightly diferent thinking…

Being a mother starts with having a child – not having a house.  We need to stop defining being a mother by all the tasks we have to do – instead being a mother is about creating and nurturing relationships in the family.

  • Husband and Wife relationship – This relationship alone has several significant purposes. In nurturing this primary relationship I am looking after my own emotional and social needs, which in turn creates a safe, stable and strong family life for my children, and it shows them how to build a strong and healthy marriage for themselves one day.  This issue alone is a generation builder!
  • Parent to Child relationships – without relationships we are just adults and children living in the same house, without relationships we are just living by house rules and waiting to grow up. To be any influence in my children’s lives, to be able to help them, encourage them, give them wisdom and confidence we need to have a relationship – a healthy relationship.
  • Sibling relationships – we say that siblings don’t choose to be friends, that they are just put in a family, but reality is that a healthy sibling relationship is a choice – and we as mothers can teach, guide and encourage our children to choose to love their siblings.
  • Friendships – mothers teach, guide and encourage friendships beyond the family walls. We not only teach the skills to be a good friend we help our children make time for their friends.
  • Community connections – The home is the base for all social connections – as we teach our children the value of other people, and the importance of being a friend and meeting people’s needs, and as we make time and opportunity for this to happen, our children’s world expands and they grow in the heart and ability to connect with people.

And last but certainly not least

  • Relationship with God – As I live an honest and open relationship with God myself, I introduce Him to our children and encourage them in starting a relationship with God themselves.

Busyness kills Relationships

{The thing is …} Busyness kills relationships – or at least maims it!  This is where the idea that ‘a mother’s work is never done’ becomes harmful – we focus on all that we have to do.  And then we let our attitude stink about it, because it is exhausting, and endless, and ….well, exhausting!

There is always going to be work to do – it is the nature of our world.  Dust happens, dirt, grime, spills, mess.  Our family will always need to be fed and clothed.  The baby needs to be bathed, the toddler needs a band-aid, the school kid needs help with their school project, the teen needs to be driven to their sports practice, the young adult is buying a car – and this only touches the sphere of motherhood, I am also a wife, homemaker, homeschooler, friend and volunteer!

These things we need to do are good things – it is good to be busy, to work hard, but these tasks are not our priority.  Relationship is our priority.

When we keep our eyes on the to-do list, we focus on all that needs to be done, we start to be absorbed by tasks, and the things that are needed to maintain relationships within our family fade into the background.

Choose your focus – Tasks or Relationships

As with all things we have a choice – we may not feel like we have a choice, considering all the things pushing in on us, all the things left undone at the end of the day – but we do have a choice.  

{here’s a phrase that helped me when I was in that full-on season of family life}  We may not be able to choose the circumstance we find ourselves in but we can choose our attitude.  We can also choose our priorities.  Will I choose to focus on tasks or on relationships?  Will I choose to see the eternal perspective of the things I do during my day or will I choose to be frustrated and overwhelmed by the many practical things?

This does not mean that we sit around with our kids sharing milk and cookies all day – no, there are jobs or tasks that need to happen, but our heart should be tuned in to relationships.

First we need to know that building and fostering relationships is our number one task.  You may need to change your thinking here – the mother’s role is to foster relationships – have you thought about that before?  Think about the impact you can have in your child’s life if you have a relationship with them.

 We need to start to see the things that you do with relationship tinted glasses on.  Relationships should tint all that we do. When we have relationship coloured glasses on, we will value our time differently because we are not only with the people we love, but we can use this time to build a relationship with them, which in turn in days to come we will be in a place where we can influence our children.  

When we are relationship focused our energy is focused on who my child is, and what they need to do life well.  

Being relationship-minded will even affect our attitude towards your stuff because we will start to be thankful for what we have because those things create a context for us to be together as a family.

A mother’s work is never done!

So yes, a mother’s work is never done, not because it is mundane and repetitive, not because kids are sloppy and not picking up their responsibilities – a mother’s work is never done because we are always a mother, a mother who values relationships and makes it a priority to nurture the relationships we have.

 

Heart-focused Action Step

I guess the heart-focused action step is a fairly obvious one today – Ask yourself – am I allowing the busyness of life to overshadow the times and opportunities I have to build relationship with my kids (and with my spouse)?

And then, maybe a more proactive step is to think about one way you connect with your kids that you’ve been ignoring lately, or letting the tasks distract you from.  Make a commitment to yourself to make that happen in the next few days.

Thinking back to when I had kids under 10 one of the things that I did to help me have time to connect with my kids, was I carefully guarded our out-of-the-house commitments.  We are so driven today to do all the things.  Sometimes these things can be good things – but we have to balance the needs of the individuals, and the need of the family as we decide what we do and what we let go of maybe just for a season so that we can keep healthy relationships in our family.

Actually managing my time was key for me not to become task focused.  I planned that we had enough time to do the tasks that needed to be done, with a little margin so that if people or hearts needed attention it wouldn’t derail my day.  It also meant that I made time, on purpose, for relationship building activities.  Read alouds, meal times, movies, board games, doing projects together. 

When my kids were young, time in the car was often a quiet time – no talking to mummy time – and instead we’d listen to music and I’d have some breathing space.  But as they got older I’d have one of them sit up the front with me, or we’d have more time where it was just me and one other in the car – and that became a real time to connect.  

Remember, relationships are the foundation of a family. And relationships don’t just happen – we have to invest our time, energy, and be committed to unconditional love towards each and every member of our family – that is why a mother’s work is never done!

 

 

I need your Help

Before I go today I’ve gotta say I’m pretty excited that the Heart-focused Parenting podcast is only a few episodes off 50.  Which is pretty neat.  I would like to do a Q&A session for #50 but for that to happen I need some questions.  Imagine we were at a conference and you had an opportunity to ask me anything – it could be about myself or my family, or about parenting, family life and culture, or homeschooling – anything really – you know what I like to talk about!  If you have a question or two, please send me an email – you can send me an email from here, but if you already get my weekly Heart Boosters just hit reply and tell me you have a Question for Episode #50.

 

This or that – the choice is yours!

🤔Do you prioritise maintaining a perfectly clean home or spending quality time with your precious little ones? 💭 ⁠

I like my house to look a certain way – but it seems to me that the pressure is bigger these days than it was when I was a young mum. There is so much social pressure to have everything sorted! 🏡⁠

The truth is our family stories and memories are because of those fingerprints and scattered toys. 🎨🧸 And it is true – the years fly by too fast!⁠

We have a house for a purpose ❤️ and that is to give us shelter and safety, and to invite others to share whatever we have.⁠

Let’s not get distracted and make life about the house – life is about the people in the house.❤️⁠

Share your favorite memory of an unplanned, beautiful moment with your children in the comments below! ⬇️

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