Mother’s Day. So many mixed emotions. To be honest, for most men – especially fathers – this holiday evokes stress and frustration because most of us are not really good (but should be) at remembering things and doing things on time without our wives. AMAZON PRIME TO THE RESCUE!
I want to take just a moment to speak to the fathers, the men in the proverbial room. Not from a place of perfection or having achieved fatherhood-nirvana, am I writing, but taking an opportunity to share some thoughts and hopefully words of encouragement.
Fathers may never truly know the intensity of pressure moms are under these days. I don’t necessarily think being a mother is harder in our current generation, but being a mother is the most public it has ever been. Consider the number of social media that exists: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, blogs, and websites. This doesn’t even include Pinterest or Etsy. “Mom-shaming” is at a whole new level. The truth is a majority of social media is flooded with “picture perfect” moms or experiences of motherhood. Your wife is bombarded daily, if not hourly, by these influences causing unhealthy pressure, likely whether she admits it or not.
What moms need from their husbands is an extra measure of patience that the world (even sometimes friends and family) won’t give them. Consider 1 Corinthians 13:4 – the famous passage on love. The very first word to describe healthy, God-honoring love is patient. Society and our culture has no time to be patience with the mistakes or shortcomings of our wives. The twin-engines of social pressure and self-doubt are enough to make any mom crash. A kind word and being quick to forgive is a relief that every wife will cherish from her husband.
Parenthood is a marathon. There is an African proverb, “If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together.” This is an important truth for every husband to remember. Mothers can be strong, smart, and highly capable. But like all of us, need encouragement. Sometimes the person giving the encouragement can feel silly or think that it isn’t really needed. Often husbands are guilty of mistaking a mother’s high capacity to get things done to mean she is doing fine – must not need any encouragement. Proverbs 17:22 teaches us, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Whether it’s during the everyday routine or whenever “pets heads are falling off” – being a man with a joyful heart will be to your wife like good medicine.
Again, when we turn to 1 Corinthians 13:4 we learn that love is kind. Kindness can come in many different forms, but perhaps one of the least practiced by a husband towards a mom is words of affirmation. It’s true, we all get caught up in the marathon of parenthood and forget to compliment and encourage one another on. The other side of this coin is that as you foster an environment of love and encouragement your children will hear you affirm their mother, be blessed, and likely do the same seeing your example.
Do More, Yes, More!
I understand. I get it. The temptation is to draw a line in the sand and declare, “I have my job(s) to do; I shouldn’t have to do hers too!” Contrary to popular belief, even as a pastor I work hard and have long weeks. Coming home to engage in household responsibilities or parent-duties is really difficult. But the bottom line? We are called to do it. And if we want to be God-honoring husbands we need to be prepared to go the extra mile with our wives. Don’t miss the nuance of Jesus’s teaching in Matthew 5:41, “And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.” (emphasis added) Parenthood is a team sport. Rarely does anyone actually want to change that nasty diaper that has “rooster-tailed” up to the baby’s hairline. Rarely does anyone want to do those dishes or help with homework. But those jobs are not the jobs of mom alone. In Genesis 2 God gave Adam the charge to work, yes, but He did not give Eve the vacuum.
It is healthy to fulfill roles around the house you are particularly “good at” or don’t mind doing. But far too many husbands have been found guilty of sitting on the couch, engrossed in their cell phones, while mom does all the heavy lifting – on the basis he already “put in his time at the 9 to 5.”. We can change that. Let’s become Romans 12:10 husbands – proper affection for our wives, fellow believers in Christ. If fatherhood were an occupation, would you ever be Employee of the Month? Would your service and commitment be worthy of promotion? Love is not arrogant, rude, irritable, or resentful. Could any of these words be used to describe you when you know your wife needs you to go with her the extra mile?
Being the husband of an awesome mother is a treasure, an incredible gift. May we be men who are found worthy of the gift and a valuable partner in this grand adventure called parenthood.