I am currently reading a book called "Desperate" by Sally Clarkson and Sarah Mae and I have so far found it to be a massive blessing on my life at the moment and it is part of the catalyst that has been sparking so many connections in my mind recently, I highly recommend it.
One thought that is really sticking out to me at the moment which is touched on in the book, is how mothers with young children are so alone. There is no community of older women there to give help and advice to younger women on their mothering, homemaking or how to be a good wife, we are totally isolated in our homes and lives without any strong mother-teacher communities or wise women councillor groups, Christian and non-Christian mothers alike.
I could read books till I go cross eyed on a million different parenting techniques but very few of these really offer the wisdom of women who have successfully ridden out the journey of motherhood and come out the other end with good marriages, successful, happy children and their mind still in tact, (half of them aren't even written by mothers). I could pin a thousand pins on Pinterest on how to be a great homemaker but I am yet to see an older woman in her beautiful home telling me how she did it. As for marriage advice and how to be a good wife you can pretty much forget about it, it's sink or swim with just the poisonous and insidious message that we must feel perpetually in-love or else our marriage is a failure! Even the phrase "a good wife" feels like a dirty word, so where on earth are the older wise women to help us sustain our marriages and bring our husbands joy?
I feel like my generation needs a circle of wise, older women to rise up and guide us mothers in our various roles. Most of us have no one at all to guide us. We really need more Titus 2 older women to help us through these challenging years:
"By looking at them [wise older women], the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives." Titus 2 (The Message)
Where are all the Titus 2 wise women? Us mums of young children are all floundering about patching together an idea of how to parent from different blogs and vlogs, and books (oh my) It's a scary and dangerous place to be, slipping into depression is a very real experience of many mothers of young children, not to mention marriage problems, both of which can be exacerbated by difficulties in keeping the house in a reasonable state (I know for sure that I feel in a much better mood on the rare occasion my house is in order).
I don't know what has happened to society that has caused this missing link between older mothers and younger mothers. Maybe it is because people move around more, or maybe because we are all forced to work more hours, days, years, maybe they have received some sort of message from society that they are not needed, their wisdom has been replaced by the internet? I don't know what it is, but I am shouting out to you older wise women, you are needed!
So I am putting it out there now in word and prayer that we need some Titus 2 women. As I pray this prayer I feel slightly hesitant and a bit cautious because there is something very particular and specific that full time mothers of young children need from their wise older women, and some very specific things that we really do not need. I think it's important to be clear here otherwise we could end up in a worse position that we are currently in. Better no word at all than a harmful one am I right?
"There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts. But the tongue of the wise brings healing." Proverbs 12:18 (NIV)
We need a group of older women who are willing to LISTEN to how we feel, really listen, without judgement and without criticism, with understanding and compassion. We need you to really hear our feelings and not dismiss them as silly, trivial or selfish.
We need a group of women who are able to EMPATHISE on how hard it is, to mirror back to us that we are not failures as mothers, wives and homemakers, but in fact it is a hard job, and a season that will pass, and we can believe you and know your words are not just token gestures because you have been there yourselves and you remember.
What we need is a group of older women who we can really trust and who are willing to look after our children for short periods of time so that we can get on with some housework, have time with our husbands and have some time of solitude. Or who can offer other forms of practical help when we need it.
We need you to gracefully and tactfully give us your wisdom and advice on mothering, homemaking and being a good wife, not in the form of over simplified lists of dos and don'ts which will inevitably make us feel like failures for not finding it easy ourselves. Motherhood can't be bullet pointed, action planned or explained in 7 easy steps, each mother is unique, each family situation, home, marriage, there is no one size fits all, we need real, deep and meaningful wisdom that transcends the meal plans and the naughty-step type advice, real heart felt, ancient, Biblical, Christ centered wisdom. We need women who are going to tell us how important our role is as opposed to the message society sends which is that our role is immaterial. We need to be constantly reminded in fact that our job is the most important of all jobs, so that we can feel worthy, and secure in our identity as full time mothers rather than feeling like we lost our identity the day we became one.
And perhaps most importantly of all we need a group of older wise women who are able to form a circle or prayer around us. Who will pray with us and for us, for our children and for our husbands regularly and with heart, not sporadically out of pity, but regularly because you know us and respect us.
One last word, please, please wise women (and anyone else reading!) don't tell us to enjoy them while they're young and that the time goes so fast. If one more person tells me this I might just lose the plot altogether! Let me reassure you that we are trying our very best to enjoy them and we are well aware that time is slipping through our fingers at break-necking speed, we have a powerfully visual image of the passing of time in the very presence of our children who grow and change so palpably that we can almost see it on a daily basis. To be told we should be enjoying our children more when we are on our knees, in the trenches, just trying to get through the day is like a slap in the face. I am sure you have good intentions when you say this but it is harmful and unhelpful. So please, don't.
I don't want to end on a negative note so I will leave you with this beautiful quote from one of Sally Clarkson's other books, and wait in hopeful expectation for a circle of wise women to rise up around me. Or perhaps what I am learning from this experience is that I must become a wise woman myself and play out this missing role in society for the benefit of future mothers.