1. Do I need to aspire for "supermom" status?
Answer: In case you hadn't noticed already, you're never going to reach it. Trying to do so will result in something like a hamster on its wheel.
2. Can a woman really "have it all"?
Answer: To quote Janet Parshall, "You can have it all, just not all at the same time."
3. Will things get better when....(fill in the blank, i.e. ....I lose weight, .....my kids grow up, ....I/my husband get/gets a better job)?
Answer: Probably not. There will always be something else you'll want to accomplish before things are "perfect".
4. How can I ever measure up to the famed "Proverbs 31 woman" and what she accomplished?
The truth is, according to many Bible scholars that I've read, that she wasn't a real person, just an ideal for us to follow. As another person pointed out, she accomplished much, but not all at the same time.
Are you seeing a pattern here? It's what I call the season principle. This is definitely not my original idea. Many women issues speakers and authors have addressed it. More importantly, God addressed it in Ecclesiastes 3:1, "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven".
For you fiction-lovers, this principle is beautifully expressed in the Seasons books by Beverly LaHaye and Terri Blackstock. For those of us who love things spelled out in no-nonsense terms, I will again quote Janet Parshall from the book she co-authored with her daughter, When the Fairy Dust Settles:
We women live our lives in seasons. There is the season of childhood and adolescence. For many, the dating and courtship season follows. Young married life with children precedes the eventual empty nest. Widowhood is the final season. True, many women stay in a season of singleness or childlessness, but regardless, all of us hear that inner clock ticking that marks the changes occurring in our bodies with the passage of time.
Janet is now an important voice for Christian women through her radio program and has done much work in Washington, D.C. even sitting with the president of the United States. However, when her four, closely-spaced children were small, she devoted her time and her heart to them, not even working outside the home at all.
This is not to say that we must rush off to "make a name for ourselves" as soon as our children leave the nest. Michelle says it so beautifully here that I won't repeat it. Our calling as wives and mothers, in the words of Katherine Short, "is beyond value and needs no justification. Its importance is incalculable." However, there might be a ministry or a career for you at a later time, in another season.
I realize that some of you are pursuing this now. I am not here to quibble over whether a woman should work outside the home or what circumstances make it necessary or forbidden. May I just plead with you to consider, "Is my career or ministry choice the best for my family....for my husband, my children and even for my own spiritual good...right now?"
The feminists have set up an ideal for us that no one can truly reach. If we try to be wives, mothers, keepers of our home, ministry leaders and maintain a career at the same time, it is likely that something is going to fall through the cracks. Instead of trying to reach towards the next "big thing" in life, let us remember two things:
- Each season has its good and bad aspects. The sixteen-year-old that finally gets her driver's license also has to contend with acne and final exams. The college student that finally is out of school "for good" now has to find a job that will support him and perhaps a family. Dating is over and we are finally married; but there are also bills to pay and important decisions to make (i.e. does the toilet paper go over or under?). When children come along, we can bemoan the sleepless nights of the newborn stage or we can joy in their velvety skin and cuddle them close. We can grumble about each stage of their lives (their lives are also unfolding in seasons), or we can find the joy and excitement of each stage.
- This moment is the prize. No matter what has happened in the past, good or bad, we can live this moment fully. We have no guarantee of the future or any of its successes, but we can live in this moment. Today, look for the joys of life and fully embrace them. Don't look back, forward or around at others. Just enjoy the prize!