The following is a transcript of the audio. Transcript has been edited for clarity.
Laura: Welcome to another episode of Risen Motherhood. I’m Laura Wifler and I’ve got my sister-in-law, Emily Jensen here. Today, we’re talking about a really interesting topic. We’re talking about "what is a mom’s time worth?" For you as a mom, what is the value of your time and where is it spent? What does the gospel say about where it should be spent, for how long and that kind of thing. We’re also talking specifically about, is there a time when it’s appropriate to bring in help to help the mom?
Emily: We realize this is a complex topic. I feel like, with a lot of the topics we try to tackle, we go, “We have 15 minutes to talk about something that’s highly individualistic.” We can’t speak to every personal situation but we can share our own personal experiences, and try to cast a vision for motherhood for you guys. I think that’s something that Laura and I are passionate about. We try to understand more about what the Bible has us to do as moms, to be faithful with our children. We want to pass that along because that is really the main thing.
Laura: We’ve discussed it before in episode one and six about what a mom’s role is, so if you’re looking for more, definitely check those episodes out. Us moms [and dads], our primary role is to raise our children in the Lord, to teach them in faithfulness and righteousness, and to train them up. Our time; the value of the time, the task that God has designed for moms primarily to do: our role is to invest our faith into our children. To pass on what God has taught us, and to teach our children and train them in the Lord.
That’s not something someone else can do. God has designed that to be your unique and special role. If a mother, who has birthed these children won’t do it, who will?
Emily: My kids may pick up some stuff if they go to church, but one hour a week or two hours a week of instruction, from someone that they don’t know very well probably isn’t a replacement for what we see in scripture. In the Old Testament, in Israel, families, parents, the whole community passed along all of the things of the Lord. The Old Testament talks about, “Write things on your wall and talk about these things all day long to your children” tell them about God’s glory.
Then there’s all these practical things that go along with passing down your faith, and sharing the gospel with your children as well. That includes keeping them physically nourished. And the love that you have with them and expressing sweet little hugs, and playtime, and reading books with them, and bringing them onto your lap. Discipline is a huge thing that we do that passes along an understanding of the gospel. I feel like passing along our faith is a big job and like Laura said, it’s something that is uniquely given to parents to do to their children.
In our current society, we can’t rely on the culture or anyone around us to be teaching that to our children intentionally.
Laura: It’s definitely a sacrificial thing. Choosing to invest well in your children for eternity is something … where as we talk about what a mom’s time is worth, there are hard choices to be made so that we can do that well. Passing on and training our children, like Emily said, takes a lot of time. I think about myself. I’ve been a Christian for as long as I can remember; I was raised in a Christian home. But how much knowledge I’ve gained (and I’ve been immersed in Christian culture for 25 plus years)?
I feel like I grow so much all the time, each year that passes but I’m amazed at how much time it does take to grow in the knowledge of the Lord. Does that make sense?
Emily: It totally does. It’s like the faithfulness day in and day out. It’s not those one or two big events a year that you do with your child. It is literally the building; little brick, upon brick, upon brick of the foundation that you’re giving your children. I also want to say something real quick that can bog us down and it’s bogged me down lately.
We are called to be faithful to that and to trust God each day and give Him our time and use it to point our children to Christ, but we are not responsible for how they turn out, or if they accept that faith or not. We cannot put that weight on our shoulders. I just wanted to give that quick caveat in case any of you are starting to sink in despair. [laughter]
Laura: Or feel a lot of pressure.
Emily: “I’m not doing this right and it’s all going to be my fault.” We probably need to do an episode about that. Just know you are responsible to be faithful; as faithful as you can today.
Laura: With that in mind, as we are trying to figure out, “Where does my time go as a mom?” specifically we’re talking about bringing on help. Things like a cleaning service, or a meal service or a laundry service.
Emily: Lawn care too.
Laura: Yes, so different things like that that can be hired out, but are not things that only mom can do. We want to look at it from the biblical vision of motherhood, that’s this big chunk of your time and should be the biggest aim and goal. When we talk about finding help, it’s for these external items. Finding help isn’t always the right answer and we want to make that clear too.
It’s something that Emily and I have both grappled with over these past few years. It’s something we’ve had a lot of discussion with other moms so we thought it would be an important topic to talk about.
Emily: I think another reason why we feel like we have to talk about this is because in our culture particularly, there is this myth that a mom or a woman should be able to handle it all, and do it all herself. We are a very independent culture, very few of us live with other generations, and we don’t live in these fluid communities or commune-style living. We are very independent; it is very much an expectation that you are able to manage all your responsibilities on your own but I think that is not true. None of us are able to do everything well. Every time you put your time somewhere, it forces you to take time away from something else.
I think we are trying to dispel that a little bit and say, “Hey, we can’t do it alone. We cannot do this big job that God has given us alone.” We need other Christians and sometimes, we just need practical helpers.
Laura: One point I feel we should make too is that with the whole investing in your child’s faith, that is also a community thing. That’s something that’s important but we don’t want to sound like, “It is only mom’s job to invest in their faith,” Your children should be surrounded by other believers. That’s a quick side note but we want to make that very clear that God’s church, it is the body of Christ that is raising and investing in the next generation as well.
But back to our focus here. This is a complicated topic but as Emily said, there’s a lot of demands on our time. Especially for me, I have felt that finding help can seem really indulgent. I’m a stay-at-home mom primarily, and you could say that I probably spend about a part-time amount of work on my blog. That’s typically done in the fringe hours, but I feel this sense of, hiring help or finding help can be a snobby thing or a spoilt thing. It sounds great.
Emily: It’s that independent like, “Oh, Laura should be able to do all of this.”
Laura: Totally. I’m just drinking the world’s juice of, it’s a prideful side of me.Emily and I both want to share where we are coming from on this. But personally, I tend to not hire or find help partially, because I have that seed of pride of wanting to be able to do it all, and feeling very self-sufficient and I have the tendency towards that. But also, truth be told, generally on most weeks, I am able to at least keep our house sufficiently smoothly running. That’s not to say it’s perfect or it’s cleaned as much as I like or our grass is always mown or anything like that. We want to be clear here that there are seasons and times for help but it doesn’t mean that’s always the right answer.
Emily: Sometimes it’s like managing your time better.
Laura: It’s managing your time better. Doing meal planning, writing lists, talking to your husband about, “Hey what things can be let go and what not,” but we’re going to get to that. Emily, do you want to share on your side of things?
Emily: Just to piggyback off of that too, I think it also teaches your children and is modeling. Part of passing on your faith sometimes is having them watch you do the mundane things and say, “You need to sit and play with this toy because mommy really needs to go clean this thing.” Or, “We need to go take care of this task as a family and that’s part of life.”
Laura: Take them alongside you.
Emily: That is part of it too but I will just share that again, for us, we are in a season of life. We have four children under the age of four. We have an infant, we have twin toddlers that are needing a tremendous amount of redirection and discipline and training. In this particular season, we have looked at my time. I’ve just started home schooling and we’ve said, “What are some things that can take some pressure off of me?” because it is like, “I’m up at night with a baby and I’m tired” and then during the day, trying to do this job well and do it joyfully. We hire a cleaner that comes twice a month.
That does not absolve me of daily cleaning responsibilities. I still get under my table and pick up crumbs every single day so I don’t leave them for two weeks, but it’s like the deep cleaning of somebody else who goes and scrubs our tub. Also in the summer, we hire out lawn care so that my husband can come home from work and be all hands on deck with our family. Those are two practical examples. Also, I have younger women in my home multiple times to help me do organizational projects. I’m getting into another tangent though. We try to find creative ways to have support on some of these areas that are less important, or that anyone can do.
Laura: That’s something that we wanted to hit on. Something you touched on there Emily, that sometimes people can be in a spot of life where budget doesn’t allow you to hire help. You touched on being creative in that way and hiring younger women or training them. Maybe it’s not even hiring but if you’re feeling strapped on time, there are creative answers particularly when you’re involved in a local church, to tap into resources that can help you be more efficient with your time. Like Emily said, having a mother’s helper.
Emily: A mommy’s helper.
Laura: A mommy’s helper. I know that sometimes people are in different places in life, and with budgets and so this is about being creative about finding help for mom, not just what’s some luxury expense.
Emily: I think my husband has challenged me to say, from an hourly wage perspective, what is my time worth? We think about that number and it’s like when you look at paying someone a little bit to come help you with something, it’s sometimes worth that number. Every family has to look at their budget and like you were saying Laura, that creativity of, “Do you know any empty nesters that would love to come, be around the house with your little kids and come along side you? Do you know any young women who would want to be discipled?” Maybe you’re not going to pay them but they come into your house and they help with chores, because they’re learning what it looks like to be a mom and an older woman. Definitely keep all those things in mind and don’t deprive other people of the blessing of being a helper.
Laura: It’s of mutual benefit for sure. We want to move forward here towards what it looks like to figure out if you could benefit from help. The first thing we’ve touched on in the beginning of this episode, we want to bring that back full circle and remind again, as you’re looking and truly evaluating your day, are you keeping the most important thing, the most important thing? The fact that you are there appointed by God to invest well into your children’s faith? Are you doing that? Are you doing that as well as you can, being faithful with what God has given you?
Then outside of that, how is life going? What other things do you feel like you can do or is working well? Things like you may work, volunteer, discipleship, ministry, interests and hobbies, self-care - go back to episode two. What are those other things that are important to you as a family? Not just mom but as a family for your guys to live out your calling.
Emily: Just like you were saying Laura, I think those things can also be components of passing on our faith to our children, and them seeing us take care of ourselves, them seeing us participating in ministry, seeing us bringing people into our home and being hospitable. There is a place for all those things but each of us has a responsibility to look at our time and say, “How are we, uniquely as a family passing along our faith to our children, and what things are cluttering that mission?”
Laura: That’s a good way of putting it. This is the thing we want to drive home as well is that maybe it’s not finding help. We do not want to come here and say that that is the end all be all answer, but maybe it is. We don’t want you to see it as this magic bullet, that, “If I just had a housekeeper, I could totally get my life together.”
Emily: “If I ordered my meals and got a box meal kit...”
Laura: It’s one of many tools to help you manage your household better.
Emily: I think too, it’s clear communication with your husband. Regularly, my husband and I try to talk about what is our vision for our family, where is our time going, where are there points in our life where we are both feeling stressed out, or continually frustrated, or things are continually falling through the cracks?
As we get older, we’ve started to own those things and say, “Look, this is a weakness for us.”
Instead of fighting that and continue being mad about it, what can we do about it? Could we make room in our budget to help this be an easier thing because it’s a non-essential thing, and it’s okay to have some things in life that are mediocre. You don’t have to be knocking it out of the park in every single area.
Laura: Totally. We hope this has been helpful today. If you have questions on what we mean or you need clarity, we would absolutely be happy to chat more about this. Shoot us a message or a note. Emily, anything else?
Emily: No. There’s always other things but no, [laughs] not today.
Laura: As we were talking, I was like, “Oh, we should talk about that, we should talk about that,” a never-ending amount of topic ideas for Risen Motherhood, I think.
Emily: Find us on RisenMotherhood.com and please share if you’d like and we’d love a review or a rating. That would mean a lot to us. We are so thankful for you guys. Thanks for listening.