Raising Daughters, Raising Myself

Posted By on May 19, 2010

Like most of my generation, I came to marriage knowing nothing of how to keep a home and a husband.  I could hang laundry and dust a coffee table.  Beyond that, I was worthless as a homemaker and mother.  My heart longed to be more and do better, but everywhere I looked was a sea of women doing precisely the same thing I was doing…floundering.  So, I continued down the path of college degrees, despite my marriage and subsequent motherhood.  What else could I do?Through the Lord’s saving grace and power, I began to realize my role as wife and mother was not something I could shirk simply because I didn’t know how to do it.  I began reading, listening, and begging the Lord for guidance as I put one foot in front of the other on a path leading home.  My husband, a gentle and patient man, encouraged me along the way and never once made me feel inadequate.  He had not known a stay-at-home mother, and I was blessed by his ignorance of what one should look like.

Over the years, God blessed our family with three daughters, two of whom I hold this side of Heaven.  These daughters both delight and scare me.  What can a woman who knows very little of homemaking and motherhood offer daughters who will someday be placed in the same role under her own husband’s roof?  I have come to realize I cannot let fear and imperfection paralyze me.  It is imperative I guide, direct, and polish these little cornerstones no matter how unpolished I might be.

I am convinced I am not alone in my plight.  Therefore, I wanted to offer a few suggestions as to how a mother can raise daughters when she feels she must also raise herself.

  • Never pretend to be perfect – My daughters are smart and observant.  It would be wrong of me (and rather ridiculous, I might add) to pretend to be anything other than what I am…a fallible wife and mother, learning right alongside them.
  • Study the Scriptures together – I don’t have to be a Bible scholar to guide my daughters through Scripture.  It is an absolute joy to read a passage of Scripture with your daughter beside you, discovering God’s Word together.
  • Make life a dialogue, not a lecture – Think about how you learn best.  Is it by being lectured or is it through a relationship?  Conversing with your daughter builds a relationship in a way no lecture can.  Besides, if you are acknowledging you are not perfect, what do you have to lecture about?  Learn from each other as you learn the domestic arts together.
  • Give her responsibilities – You cannot possibly know all there is to know about everything.  Why not have your daughter research items of interest and report back to you?  Hand over certain tasks to your daughters.  Give guidance and pointers, but be prepared for her to make mistakes, and show her the same mercy you expect when you make mistakes.  She will grow as a young woman if she is given responsibility and allowed to own that responsibility, while offering her own flair in the executing of the task.
  • You don’t have to be perfect to teach what you know – My mother did not teach me to sew, because she felt her sewing skills were too remedial to be a worthy teacher.  Looking back, even what little she knew would have been helpful to know.  I did not need her to be perfect, just as my daughters do not need me to be perfect.  Impart to your daughters what you do know on a subject, encourage them to find out more, continually be learning…together.
  • Ask the Lord to show you the next step and share how He is working in your life – My prayer life has become richer since bearing children.  I find I am dependent on the Lord for everything because I can so readily see my own weaknesses as a wife and mother.  Yet, He is faithful.  I pray.  He answers.  What an honor to be able to share His answers with my daughters!

Be encouraged, floundering mother!  God did not accidentally give you daughters.  He did not neglect to notice how unprepared you feel.  Grab hold of His blessings and turn your face to Him.  Journey one footstep at a time, flanked by your little girls, spurred on by other committed mothers, lead by the Father who lifts you up on eagle’s wings.

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About The Author

Amy is the homeschooling mother of 5 living children with one on the way, and a precious little girl named Emily who left her arms at 7 months to be held for eternity in the Lord's. You can find Amy blogging about the joy and grief of raising these wonderful little arrows at Raising Arrows.

Comments

10 Responses to “Raising Daughters, Raising Myself”

  1. ladyscott says:

    This article is so timely for me. While I’m not floundering in the domestic area, as it has always been a passion and growing strength of mine, I do often have a fear of and for raising my daughter. Why? For one, she’s my daughter. I feel like I have the greater influence on and responsibility for raising her. For another, my eldest, my son, is easier to raise than she is. Her self-will is incredibly strong and stubborn, so I’m kind of taken aback at how what worked for son doesn’t work for daughter. She has no problem not listening to me or even completely ignoring me to the point where I thought she might have a hearing problem. A simple whisper test of a favorite word or treat confirmed that her hearing is just fine. On top of it all, she’s a screamer and tantrum-thrower.

    But, through your article and through a lovely Titus 2 woman in my life who had an even more difficult daughter, I learned that I cannot fear and let fear prevent me from being the proper mother of this daughter He gave me. God knew what kind of child He was giving me. I have to get over my surprise and not getting the quiet, compliant little shadow in frills and aprons that I wanted.

    I also cannot dwell on the negatives. I cannot dwell on my own weaknesses, nor the misbehavior of my daughter. I need to look to Lord above all, to the wisdom He gave me and to the good attributes of my little girl (who’s not yet 2 by the way). If we dwell on the negative too much, we begin to see the situation or even our daughters as the enemy. We are not fighting against motherhood, mothering, discipline, discipleship or our children, we are fighting FOR them. But, yes, it is sometimes (dare I say often) a battle, but the battle belongs to the Lord.

  2. mamalava says:

    other than the fact that my husband did have a stay-at-home mom (and grandmas), I’m in the same boat. I’m terrified of teaching them (since I still have no clue myself), but I don’t want them to be in the same shape I’m in after almost 6 years of marriage and 4 kids.

    I’m so thankful God has given me a most patient and unflappable husband!

    Does anyone have any resources they recommend for the wife that knows nothing about homemaking/keeping?

  3. Deanna Rabe says:

    We have 6 children, 4 of whom are daughters. They are a delight. I was not raised to be a homemaker nor was I really taught how to be a wife or mother. The Lord has taught me!

    I believe you are right that we need to be humble and work alongside our children, learning together. Teaching scripture, encouraging them. It is a full time work – of the best kind.

  4. Marcee says:

    “I began to realize my role as wife and mother was not something I could shirk simply because I didn’t know how to do it”.
    I have been in this place for 8 years. I have read so many books and am still lost. I need to learn to cook, how to properly clean a house, how to guide and teach my children etc. and it is all so overwhelming!
    “I don’t have to be a Bible scholar to guide my daughters through Scripture.”
    I SO feel that I need to be a scholar to teach my children. My DD especially ask so many brilliant questions I don’t have the answers to:/
    I know the enemy wants me to feel that I am inadequate. Maybe a part of me is OK with that. Then I don’t have to change. And then part of me doesn’t understand why I would have this selfish mind set.
    Thanks so much for writing this article. It’s something that I needed to hear and something that scares me at the same time.

  5. SouthernMama says:

    Thank you so much for posting this article! Your words really spoke to my heart! I focused all of my life on education (I have a Masters degree) and being a career woman. That’s the only way that I thought I could have a better life (i.e. material stuff that just doesn’t matter) and get out of the small town I grew up in. When I gave birth to my first child nearly 2 years ago, the Lord started working on my heart or rather I started to let Him and to let go of the worldly things that I put my self value in. I unexpectedly became pregnant with my second child last year and could no longer ignore the call to come home and to serve the Lord. I’ve been a housewife nearly a year now and sometimes I still ask myself “I’m a Housewife, now what?” LOL! I started off our marriage over 7 years ago with hardly any domestic skills. It didn’t matter to me b/c I was the breadwinner at the time and I was “too good” for that demeaning work. Wow have I changed! And the Lord is continuing to change my heart and teach me about how beautiful a life of homemaking, mothering, and housewifery can be! I thank God for it everyday and I don’t regret giving up my career one bit!

  6. Renee Stam says:

    Great post!
    Thanks you so much to be open and sharing those tips with us 🙂

  7. queenmommy says:

    I so appreciate that you differentiated between the ability to clean and cook – and the ability to WIFE and MOTHER! I learned how to take care of things, but wow do I have a lot to learn about caring for my family and being the woman, wife & mom God desires me to be. My oldest is so much like me that we’re often butting heads; my youngest is so different that I’m left feeling like I don’t know how to mother her. And my husband – well, God has been shaping me up A LOT in that area. It’s God working in me and through me that will allow me to raise Polished Cornerstones, and I appreciate this GOOD WORD to encourage me.

  8. Thank you so much for sharing your heart, Amy. I too married and gave birth to babies not knowing the fine art of wifing and mothering. Even though I have loving, dedicated parents, the bulk of my days were spent at school, after which there was the babysitter’s or various after school activities. I missed a lot being away from home. However, we (my husband and I) are dedicated to doing things differently with our blessings.

    Thank you again for the tips. It’s good to remember that god doesn’t always called the equipped, but He does equips all He calls.

  9. graceelizabeth says:

    Amy!!!!! I was so encouraged by this article and super excited when I saw that you wrote it! Thank you for such thoughtful encouragement!

  10. Amy R says:

    mamalava,
    I am really enjoying the Homestead Blessings DVDs from Franklin Springs. The advice is simple, down to earth and easy to follow.

    Also, you might consider a homemaking type curriculum that you can follow along with your daughters.