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Rethinking Grace Within the Family
Thank you so much to everyone who commented on my "Sometimes Motherhood is Lonely" post. I really appreciated the encouragement! And Tracey, it's great to know that someone thinks I'm really together! You haven't seen how I look when I drool all over my pillow.

Anyway, I want to get back to this a bit, because obviously I've been thinking about it over the week. What do you do when you feel like you give, but other family members don't seem to share a concern for you? Why is it that you can care for your kids, but they don't mind hurting your feelings? Or you can invest in your husband's job, but he doesn't always value yours?

Ironically, even though I've been struggling with this, I have written a lot on it. I think I always write about the things I struggle with!

And the number one issue to me, I think, is respect. Family members should feel a reciprocal relationship with you. If you're doing all the work, and they come to expect it so much that they take it for granted, there's something wrong.

It's like what Joyce said in the comments: In addition to serving our families, part of being a mom is facilitating responsibility in our children.

I think that's spot on.

I've always had my kids do chores. That wasn't the issue for me, though it may be for you! (This is a large part of To Love, Honor and Vacuum, by the way!)

But responsibility goes beyond chores. It also encompasses being a responsible person when it comes to relationships, and that means caring about your mom. And your wife.

When we women do absolutely everything, and don't require anything out of our families, we're not doing them a favour. We're not serving appropriately. We're teaching them to disregard our feelings, and that's really a very unChristian attitude. We're pointing them away from Christ, not towards Him.

So while we may serve our families, we have to do it in the right way. We have to require that they do things for themselves that they should be doing already: don't pick up after them! Don't do all the dishes and make all the meals and not ask for help! Don't work while they get to play Xbox. If Momma's workin, y'all should be workin, too!

But what about feelings? That was really the crux of what it came down to for me this week. I felt like others didn't value what I care about it, and that I couldn't share it.

So I had a talk with each of my kids individually, and with my husband. Unfortunately, he latter conversation took place at midnight, which is never a good time for a deep talk, and I got even more exhausted! But I felt much better afterwards.

I told them that I love my family, but I love writing, too. I feel called to writing. And it hurts me when they see writing as an intrusion to their own comfort, because it takes me away sometimes. I want them to support me and be excited for me, in the same way I am for them.

And things have really changed the last few days. My husband asked me about my column. He just read an article in Faith Today about church libraries that arrived in the mail that I wrote a few months ago. And we're starting to talk about my next book projects.

I feel like I can actually share with him again!

I want to say that my husband really is amazing. I'm making him sound not that great in this post, and that's the furthest thing from the truth. In fact, this is really the only problem we've been having at all lately. So it's a big relief to have this off of my shoulders.

But the reason was that I talked to them. I didn't attack. I just shared what I was feeling. We can't always expect other people to read our minds. We have to tell them what we want and what we need. So speak up! It's not unChristian to need something from our families. It's quite the opposite, because it teaches them to care about others.

And maybe, just maybe, you'll find that your life gets that little bit easier, too!

To Love, Honor and Vacuum

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At 9:56 AM , Blogger Dena @ Green Acres said…

This is basically the only issue in my marriage as well. My husband is a great hard working man, but grew up in an old fashioned home where there was womens work and mens work. Since he had no sisters, his mothere did everything by herself in the home. He doesn't mind helping me, but he doesn't feel the kids should have chores. He believes their "job" is to be kids and there is plenty of time for chores when they get older. I have talked and explained my feelings, and I'll continue to do so. I feel this is one of those "tests" God is seeing me through. :)


At 5:30 PM , Blogger Tracey said…

You drool too! That makes me feel so much better!! Ha!Ha!


At 6:54 PM , Blogger Julie said…

My thoughts run in several directions on this topic (!) but I wanted to share a great object lesson that I saw on a blog called "Choosing Joy". I know this won't come through as a link, but you could paste it in your browser. I can't wait to do it with my kids!

If that doesn't all show up... and it may not... go to and look back through her entries. I think it was in September of this year (?). She used a blanket, piled with symbols of their family activities and responsibilities, and tried to pull it around with her kids sitting on it, as opposed to everyone helping to carry the load.

She explains it much better than I do!

The link is:

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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