Thursday, 29 June 2017

Mums and Their Work - Is Your Family Flourishing?


We are all aware of the age old debate about mums and should they be working? Out the home, in the home? Or not at all?

But how crazy would it be if we expected a women not to work just because she has birthed a child? Work isn't only something you are paid for, work is everything you put effort into and therefore as responsible adults we all have to work. Looking after your child is work, cleaning your house is work and being paid to man a shop or helping your elderly aunt are both work too.
Oxford English Dictionary definition -"Activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a result."
Each one of us is unique and this is just the way God planned it. We don't need to be jealous of the next woman because she can plan an Instagram perfect party and execute it with panache for twenty 5 year old's. Changes are it is part of her gifting - organisation, an eye for beauty and indulging her child are all things that build her up and she enjoys. I'm willing to bet that she isn't doing it to show you how wonderful she is. In fact I'm willing to bet she hasn't even thought about you!

Harsh, but true. We need to remember that we are the centre of our own tiny little world but we need to get outside ourselves and stop making everything about us. Let's think the best of our sisters, of all those other mums, who like us are probably just trying their best and muddling through however they can. When we build another woman up and support her she grows and that's really important. Just look at nature, when you grow green beans and you offer them a bamboo cane, they cleverly wind their tendrils around the cane for growth support and keep on flourishing. 

In the same way God extends His grace to us and that is something none of us deserve but it acts as a support framework to allow us to feel forgiven and able to grow. We all need to follow Gods example and extend grace to everyone we meet. Especially every Mum as the likeliness is that she already believes she isn't good enough.

Women everywhere are believing they are not enough and it is a lie. There is no perfect formula for family life, only the one that works for your family. There will be times when we all feel bad, when we feel like we are failing but we're not, we feel that way because we care. Take the Mum that works out of the home and adores her career she can sometimes be found pulled over crying in the car on the way home when she realises that yet again she's missed bedtime. Or the Mum at home who has locked herself in the bathroom because otherwise she might just scream and scare her toddler. Both of these woman care and they want what is best for their family but sometimes we all reach breaking point.

In those moments when you doubt you are doing the right thing, the one question I'd say to ask yourself is this - is my family flourishing?

This is the most simple framework I have ever come across to evaluate if you are in the right place, doing the right thing. If your family is flourishing then you are winning no matter what anyone else says. Experts might say it is best for a baby to sleep on their back or for a child to learn a second language as a toddler but you do what suits you and rightly so. Parenting is 90% instinct driven I reckon.

If you work full-time out of the home and decide to pick your little one up early from nursery and treat them to a ice cream at the play park and they moan that they were happy with their friends at nursery and will miss the mini-gym session then you know - your child is flourishing.

Equally if you take up a part-time job out of the home as all your friends have been pressuring you to have time away from your little one. ‘It not healthy to be together 24 hours a day, every day’ they said and now all you want to do is cry as you miss them so much, then guess what? Your family isn't flourishing.

So please, I urge you. Take stock of your family today. Is it flourishing and think about what that means for you? What are your families values?

For me, I asked myself a few simple questions - Is everyone content? Are we all achieving what we need to? Does everyone eat and sleep well? Do we each have time to pursue our own interests? Can we make ends meet financially? Do we laugh together? Are there fun times? Is home a place where love and respect are growing? Of course you can make your own list but these are a few ideas from mine.

Just remember, ultimately it doesn't matter what you do, it is who you are that matters. That is what drives everything and changes the world. You don't need to earn millions, nor impress others but your love and kindness will shine through and you can only give those things when you are part of a flourishing family and feeling content.

Be blessed, Mich x
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