Like most of my generation, I came to marriage knowing nothing of how to keep a home and a husband. I could hang laundry and dust a coffee table. Beyond that, I was worthless as a homemaker and mother. My heart longed to be more and do better, but everywhere I looked was a sea of women doing precisely the same thing I was doing…floundering. So, I continued down the path of college degrees, despite my marriage and subsequent motherhood. What else could I do?Through the Lord’s saving grace and power, I began to realize my role as wife and mother was not something I could shirk simply because I didn’t know how to do it. I began reading, listening, and begging the Lord for guidance as I put one foot in front of the other on a path leading home. My husband, a gentle and patient man, encouraged me along the way and never once made me feel inadequate. He had not known a stay-at-home mother, and I was blessed by his ignorance of what one should look like.
Over the years, God blessed our family with three daughters, two of whom I hold this side of Heaven. These daughters both delight and scare me. What can a woman who knows very little of homemaking and motherhood offer daughters who will someday be placed in the same role under her own husband’s roof? I have come to realize I cannot let fear and imperfection paralyze me. It is imperative I guide, direct, and polish these little cornerstones no matter how unpolished I might be.
I am convinced I am not alone in my plight. Therefore, I wanted to offer a few suggestions as to how a mother can raise daughters when she feels she must also raise herself.
- Never pretend to be perfect – My daughters are smart and observant. It would be wrong of me (and rather ridiculous, I might add) to pretend to be anything other than what I am…a fallible wife and mother, learning right alongside them.
- Study the Scriptures together – I don’t have to be a Bible scholar to guide my daughters through Scripture. It is an absolute joy to read a passage of Scripture with your daughter beside you, discovering God’s Word together.
- Make life a dialogue, not a lecture – Think about how you learn best. Is it by being lectured or is it through a relationship? Conversing with your daughter builds a relationship in a way no lecture can. Besides, if you are acknowledging you are not perfect, what do you have to lecture about? Learn from each other as you learn the domestic arts together.
- Give her responsibilities – You cannot possibly know all there is to know about everything. Why not have your daughter research items of interest and report back to you? Hand over certain tasks to your daughters. Give guidance and pointers, but be prepared for her to make mistakes, and show her the same mercy you expect when you make mistakes. She will grow as a young woman if she is given responsibility and allowed to own that responsibility, while offering her own flair in the executing of the task.
- You don’t have to be perfect to teach what you know – My mother did not teach me to sew, because she felt her sewing skills were too remedial to be a worthy teacher. Looking back, even what little she knew would have been helpful to know. I did not need her to be perfect, just as my daughters do not need me to be perfect. Impart to your daughters what you do know on a subject, encourage them to find out more, continually be learning…together.
- Ask the Lord to show you the next step and share how He is working in your life – My prayer life has become richer since bearing children. I find I am dependent on the Lord for everything because I can so readily see my own weaknesses as a wife and mother. Yet, He is faithful. I pray. He answers. What an honor to be able to share His answers with my daughters!
Be encouraged, floundering mother! God did not accidentally give you daughters. He did not neglect to notice how unprepared you feel. Grab hold of His blessings and turn your face to Him. Journey one footstep at a time, flanked by your little girls, spurred on by other committed mothers, lead by the Father who lifts you up on eagle’s wings.