The Difficulty of Mothering Alone and a Call for Older Women

In my last newsletter I asked for feedback about the topics you would like to see covered here. I got a ton of wonderful replies–thank you!!

A common “voice” I seemed to hear revealed the difficulty and challenges of motherhood. Motherhood is already hard. But motherhood that embraces home education, being with children all day (and possibly having more children than the average) and being deliberate about raising mature men and women of God–that is an “in the trenches” kind of life and really, it’s new to so many of us.

I’ve heard from women who are tired, feel alone and are discouraged, and while I ache to read it, I am ever more challenged to try to make this a place of encouragement, refreshment, and fuel for the journey.

I believe one of the most tragic and unfortunate reasons young mothers are struggling is the absence of support by older women in the family and church. Though Scripture so carefully describes the church as a body, with each member looking out for the needs of others, I believe many young mothers feel like “amputated limbs” left to figure it all out and muscle up the strength to battle by themselves.

This was never God’s intention. Of course the unraveling has been gradual and complicated. As the importance of the work of mothers has been de-emphasized in the culture, the feminist influences have reached the church as well. As career has taken precedence over raising the next generation, even mothers choosing to stay at home with little ones are going back to work afterward, leaving a dearth of Titus 2 mentors to under-gird the next generation of families.

Because the blessing of children has been undermined by a materialist culture, a woman with more than a few children isn’t only left alone, but scoffed for her “irresponsibility”. As most are convinced that the government should be the ones educating our children, she is further scoffed for attempting to do it herself.

No wonder there is such loneliness! Truly God’s heart must break as the church has neglected to care for this hard-working member of the Body.

So I would encourage younger and older women in this way:

If you are an older woman with grown children, your ministry is ripe! There are young mothers who would so love a friend to come alongside them, talk with them, encourage them and help them. Please don’t think your work is over. And don’t buy the lie that “you’ve done your part and now you get to cruise”. There is always work to be done until He returns. We are to be about our Father’s business.

If you are younger, seek out an older woman and befriend her. Look for wisdom. Sometimes, in our autonomous culture, women may simply not want to interfere. Tell her you need her and don’t be afraid. Admit your struggles.  We must learn to be more transparent with each other, acknowledging that trials are NOT a sign of being out of God’s will.

And finally, remember that Jesus struggled, the disciples struggled, men and women of faith have always struggled, endured persecution and “worn themselves out” for the Kingdom’s sake. It helps me when I give myself a new perspective, a pep talk, a reminder that “good things are hard things”.

I will be attempting to address and invite you to chime in on some of the subjects women have written me about. I’m thankful there is this medium for encouragement, though it is no replacement for real relationships. Stay the course for we will bring our talents before the Lord. Let us be faithful stewards, even in our weaknesses, of what He has given us. Let us relish the joys of this season for it is quickly passing.

“Let us lay aside every weight and measure which so easily besets us and run with patience the race that is set before us.”

This. is. good. work.

(Need practical help and encouragement as a mom? When Motherhood Feels Too Hard–the book that will change the way you parent.)

50 Responses to “The Difficulty of Mothering Alone and a Call for Older Women”

  1. Rebekah says:

    This is so true. I don’t have any family near by nor any close friends since we moved a year ago. I so long for an older women to just come and be a emotional and physical encouragement to me. I never had a mother who was very maternal so I have always longed for the Titus 2 woman.

  2. Heather says:

    This has been on my heart for so long and I am spreading it around in my community. We have so many single mom’s and also women who do not have the support of their husband. I think a great topic would be women who have husban’s who do not lead althought they christians. Women need to know how to support them and be the wife God desires without being nagging and just loving them…it is a struggle I see often. So many men are working constantly and the women are left to a life of lonliness and taking on the role of both mother and father. It is a heavy load! Something to think about!

    As always, thank you for your timely post and I am on board with passing down and reaching out! It is essential that we pass down the things God has shared with us and learn from the generation that has already been through it!

    • Heather says:

      Ps…sorry about all the typo’s. I was typing with a little one on my lap! :)

      • Mrs. G says:

        I would love to be a “Grandma” and help out a Mom. My children are raised, I have the time, tell me how to find someone.

        • Ponder Woman says:

          Wish you lived near me! :)

        • Michele says:

          I wish you lived nearby, too!

          The attitude of the women in my neck of the woods is “I did my time and I survived; you will, too.” (I was a part of a Bible Study for a few years where young, tired (often homeschooling) mom’s would come and take turns caring for each other’s children while the older women talked about where they would go to lunch after they were done with the study. When approached if they (the older women) could consider helping out to give the young women a break, the answer was unanimously “no”. The response was, in essence, “if they want to be with their kids all day,that is their prerogative. That is the bed that they chose, don’t make me feel bad if they have to lie in it.”

          I find this attitude of older women so hard to swallow and I long for the encouragement and help of a woman who has been there and has tried to honor the Lord in raising her children.

          I am far from the woman that I want to be; and I am far from understanding all that God has called women to do- both as a wife and a mother. But I am eager to learn. My heart’s desire is to believe the Lord and His Word and follow after it.

          I fail at it- constantly. I find myself in tears- often.

          If I make it across the finish line of raising my children for the Lord, I know what my next 30 years are going to be spent doing.

    • Magriet says:

      “I think a great topic would be women who have husban’s who do not lead althought they christians. Women need to know how to support them and be the wife God desires… ”

      Yeah, and what about the deserted wifes, whose husbands chose not to be the husband God desires? Quite a phenomena these days.

  3. Mrs. G says:

    I have raised my children and am now raising a teen girl. However, I would LOVE to find a Momma that could use my help. I would be so happy to give a few hours a week to help someone with laundry, listen to a child read, rock a baby. I would be thrilled to be “Grandma” to little ones, to do playdough, push a stroller, rock a baby.

    • Word Warrior says:

      Thank you, thank you for your willingness! It will likely be a challenge since asking for help hasn’t been encouraged in many churches. I would say just look around. Find a young mother, have them over for dinner, get to know them, talk and listen, offer wisdom and offer practical help. You will probably have to be proactive to get her to understand you really do want to help. So thankful for you!

    • Ponder Woman says:

      Now I REALLY wish you lived near me! LOL

      • Dana S. says:

        I’m an “oldish” mom–I’m 48–but my girls are younger. They are 7 and 9. I could mentor new moms in how to stretch a dollar, how to cook from scratch, etc., but I need mentoring in homeschooling and being a wife and mom! I caught in between and can’t find a mentor, nor someone to mentor. :-/

  4. Charity says:

    I’m speaking as an “amputated limb” here…my husband and myself feeling this way and we’ve nearly lost hope of ever finding a church that is as the Bible describes or any Titus 2 women or any encouragement. We have no “family” that is an encouragement, or just civil, for goodness sakes. We moved across the state 2years ago now, and have yet to find a church where we are ALLOWED to worship as a family, and it’s not just that the churches we’ve visited prefer children in their little segregated groups…children ARE NOT ALLOWED to be in the congregation! We will never understand this. And Titius 2 women? I know they exist somewhere, because I read their blogs ;) but I have yet to meet one in person. I have reached the point where I am an absolute nervous wreck to visit another church, my husband even having to pull over on the way so I can throw up from being a ball of nerves. It’s one thing for the women in a church to not want more children (being quite vocal about this immediately upon us walking in their doors with our four little ones) but it’s quite another to literally be ridiculed, scoffed at, and “irresponsible” comments out the wazoo…….we get all of this shopping for groceries and poking around town, etc, but from church?? It’s disheartening to say the least!! I’m currently expecting our fifth child and we’ve told no one. I’m scared to! I don’t want to live another way. We want God to give us the number of children He has for us, we’re homeschooling and I’m staying home with our children…these a decisions we made for our family before we even married…we weren’t raised this way and were silent about these choices, knowing no one that lived this way, but knowing this was what God wanted for us. So, we’re not giving up on all of that, but are by near the point of giving up on visiting or trying to find a church. Worshipping alone is a bit lonely though, and my husband desperately longs to be led by a pastor, we have no living framework/ example to look at as to how things should go. I’m rambling, I know, but I ache inside more than ever before and watching my husband ache and become defeated over this is about more than I can take! We are praying about my husband quitting his job (not knowing where an income would come from) and moving across the country, or at least to another state,to be able to find a church, a family of somewhat like minded believers (it isn’t like they would have to be “just like us”) because we feel it is so important. We kinda feel like pioneers, struggling and alone.

    • Ponder Woman says:

      I can only imagine how difficult that must be, Charity. Praying for you! I wish you were my neighbour! :)

      I have a different situation, it’s very unique from what I can guage – our church is made up mostly of young families. So we have almost all of the members having little ones and there are not very many older couples who have empty nests at this point. Highly unusual in this day and age, it seems, but it does present its own unique problems, namely that we young mommies are trying to figure it out as we go along and still not really having a great deal of access to this older woman wisdom.

    • Missy says:

      Charity, my heart aches for you. I understand some of what you are saying because I too have been so discouraged by the state of the church and it’s division of the family. I only have 3 children, but wish I had more. We homeschool as well and it has never been easy in a church that does not support it and where others don’t do it. My children are all in their teens now, and friendships are difficult to find because they desire purity of heart and lifestyle, not the status-quot of living with one foot in the world and one in the church door. It’s tough, but I believe that God is teaching us to stand alone for what is right. Sometimes the way becomes clouded and I don’t know which direction to go.

      The benefit you have is unity in thought with your husband. Cling to that and be thankful you are both on the same page. I wish there was an easy answer to all of this because I have needed the support of a Titus 2 woman in my life as well, but have felt very lonely in raising my family for many years. I am purposing as my children grow older to take some time to try and encourage younger moms I come in contact with through various means. I hope to move forward and be to someone else what I was missing in my life. May God bless you and answer your prayers.

    • Nikki says:

      Where are you??? I am in North Texas. If you are anywhere near there I would love to meet you and invite you to our church. I am not a Titus 2 woman as I am 30 and my children are still young but I can still be a friend.

      Praying for you!

    • 6 arrows says:

      Charity, I know this isn’t the same as having a church home and the presence of other people with whom to worship, but have you and your husband listened to preaching online or through other means? Our family has a church home, but in addition to that, my husband enjoys listening to the preaching of James MacDonald. He hears parts of his sermons broadcast on the radio when he’s driving home from work at night, and can usually find whatever he missed by going online to listen to the most recent broadcast. I’ll sometimes listen with my husband, and neither of us have ever heard any preaching from MacDonald that we believe isn’t scripturally sound. Very engaging, Biblically accurate and thought-provoking teaching, in our opinion.

      Just something you and your husband may be interested to check out while (and even after) you’re looking for (or have found) a church home.

      http://www.jamesmacdonald.com

    • Charity says:

      Ponder woman, Your prayers are greatly appreciated. I have to say that is one thing I am learning to do much more often. No matter how lonely I may be, I can always talk to my Heavenly Father.

      Missy, you are absolutely right about being blessed to have unity with my husband. I can only imagine the struggles I would be facing otherwise. Even when things seem bleak, there is so much to be thankful for.

      Nikki, :( we live in the Low Country of SC…not exactly near you. I have been praying for years that God would send us some friends, but, oh, ‘what a friend we have in Jesus’!

      6arrows, Yes, we watch sermons online and listen to others as well when we have family worship time. We have really enjoyed the sermons available by Voddie Baucham. Thank you for the link!

      • Amber says:

        Charity, I have been blessed with some like-minded families. They aren’t as extreme as me, but, still support systems. It is still a very lonely feeling, though. I feel that just believing in the sovereignty of God separates us from most other Christians, but to go to the extremes of homeschooling, family integration, and a God-planned family is almost unheard of (so much so that I have to find it online!). My biggest inspiration is actually just a facebook friend of mine. I go to her for advice and support often. She lives near Chapin, SC. I believe… I don’t know how close that is to you, but if it is…. maybe I could try and get you two in contact with each other. I’ve found that almost all of my support and inspiration come from blogs and friends online, and, most important of all, my husband. I also pray that one day I will find like-minded women around my age and older to fellowship with.

    • Rose M says:

      Hi Charity. You are not alone because my story is almost identical to yours. I have five, raising and homeschooling them, alone as alone can be. Visited over a dozen churches over 3 years, frustrated with the family segregation, noone like me around, many times overwhelmed and wondering if anyone else can even identify. But we plough on in the trenches but help and company sure would be nice.

    • Michele says:

      Charity,

      I can relate to a LOT of what you are saying. My husband and I are about to have our 8th child, and we feel deeply blessed by it. But we have had similar responses of people in the church to our decision regarding children. (“When God said, ‘Be fruitful and multiply,’-gee, He didn’t mean it literally,” has got to be one of my “favorite” comments said to me upon visiting a church.) It is very disheartening! While my husband and I have not voiced our opinions regarding the number of children we will have unless asked, many people have let us know, often upon meeting us, what they think and why they were “smart to stop after their boy and girl.”

      Certainly, having children as the Lord gives them may not be the decision that every born again believer has to come to, but there is nothing sinful or wrong if that is the private decision of a husband and wife. If children really are a blessing from the Lord, then there should be encouragement, not scorn.

      I, too, know that there must be women out there that believe that raising children for the Lord is good and meaningful work (this blog is testament to that!), but have yet to meet those women in the flesh. Most churches around us are more concerned about “reaching the world” (in a way that I question somewhat)than they are about faithfully training those already in the church.

  5. Jerilyn says:

    Thank you, Kelly, for addressing this topic. I am so thankful for your blog!For years I have been wondering “Where are all of the older women who are supposed to be teaching us how to do this?” Well, you finally answered my question. They have all gone to work! My husband and I have already decided that I will continue to stay home to be available to my daughters-in-law while they are raising our grandchildren. The ministry of older women to younger is one of the most important, yet most often neglected.

  6. Kristen says:

    I totally agree. But I also think a lot of older women don’t quite know what younger women need. I had a dear older woman call and offer to help, but what she was offering (someone to come in and watch my kids so I could get out) wasn’t helpful to me. I guess, I need to talk to her and tell her what would be helpful (I have no idea, really) but most of the time the older ladies in my church pat me on the back and tell me what a great job I’m doing, or look at me like I’m supermom and say,”I just don’t know how you do it!” I even had a lady pay for a cleaning service for me once a week(long story) and even though, in a way that is helpful, I have to leave for an hour with all my kids so they can clean. So, that is not that helpful. Sure, I can go to the library and to the park, which we do sometimes, but it is not easy for me to leave the house, plus everything has to be picked up so they can clean…. blah, blah, blah. The one thing that has totally helped me, though, is my mil coming in Monday mornings to fold my laundry and play with the little ones while I do school.

  7. jfred says:

    I’ve struggled for yrs w/o older women to look towards, though God has led people in and out of my life to help lead me…sometimes through Christian books and blogs, sometimes thru peers or younger women, and a few times I HAVE had an older woman, though usually just for a season. Oftentimes I struggled hard, wishing and waiting….and those times I reallybhad to dig in and pour myself out to God. Sometimes, He only wants me to go to Him.

    Saying all this, if there are no older women, sometimes the younger generation has to stand up and help each other along. A group of us yrs ago did that, we studied together, asked questions of each other, prayed thru he difficulties, and ended up leading others. A good friend of mine in jer mid-30′s, was the “older woman” in her church’s ministry….to he women 10-30+ yrs older than she was. Remember, sometimes a woman, though young, can be older spiritually, of she’s been seeking the Lord for yrs and yrs.

    But I agree, the women in my mother’s age group bought the lie, and stopped helping us to be mothers and to love our husbands. It is tragic. I know several women who have zero clue about how to raise their children, because of their own fractured childhoods. They are doing the best they can figure out, but NEED help.

    And that leads to a question….how to help others who are struggling so? They seem to think those who offer help are “perfect” or just have “good kids” or “don’t understand” the situation they are in…. Some friends and I have heard these comments, and not due to trying to pry or push, but living beside these mothers as they struggle.

    Sigh. More prayer, it takes more and more prayer. God help us!

  8. Samantha says:

    What a dilemma! I am really looking forward to hearing more on this. I am somewhere between the younger woman and older woman roles. My husband is a pastor, so I probably take on more of the older woman role than I deserve. I have really struggled throughout the years desiring that input from an older woman but not feeling like there was one there who would be a good fit. On one hand, I felt like the older women who were around wouldn’t/couldn’t understand where I was because my choices have been so different from their own–natural birth, breastfeeding, staying home, homeschooling, a more attachment-type of parenting. I remember sitting in a women’s ministry meeting at church as a 32 year old with small children and trying to explain that women my age couldn’t come to things during the day because we were busy with children. Those of them who had been SAHMs had maids/nannies who cleaned their houses and watched their children while they went to all of the daytime events that they wanted. Yes they “stayed home” with children, but they still didn’t have the kind of involvement that we were trying to have. On the other hand, I struggled with guilt because I felt like I didn’t respect the kind of wisdom they probably had to offer me because I didn’t feel like they could understand me. I’m sure there were things I could have learned from them. I just didn’t know how to relate to them. And they didn’t know how to relate to me.

    Now that I’m doing more mentoring than seeking a mentor (although I could certainly use one–especially someone who knows how to be a pastor’s wife–still new at that one!) I feel like I can relate to where a lot of the mothers I know are–their choices aren’t that different than my choices–but I also worry about how I come across. Am I giving too much advice? Do they really want to know how I handled something similar? Do they feel pressured to make the same choices I made? Because I don’t want anyone to feel that pressure. They are their choices! I just know I struggled along with a few friends figuring out how to navigate this life that is so different than the generation before us and I picked up some wisdom along the way. If that can help someone, then I really want to help!

    This probably sounds way too prideful and haughty… Ugh! See my struggle??? :-) Like I said, this is a very good and needed topic! I’m so thankful you are writing about the difficult things. So glad to have your wisdom and thoughtfulness!

    • Word Warrior says:

      Samantha–I know exactly what you feel–I am the in-between too, needing so much encouragement and yet 20 years older than some moms. I was already thinking that I’ll write a follow up post to this one: “Practical Ways to Help Younger Mothers”

  9. I’ve had this struggle as well. It seems the older women that I’d love to learn from, are still busy training up their small ones – and I’d hate to take them away from that. Usually, I’m left to sift through blog posts or wing it.

    I find part of the struggle really in even making a simple phone call. I’ve got three daughters (6 yo, 4 yo and 18 month old) and the moment I get on the phone it is like utter chaos breaks out in my house. I can however, manage to sit down at my laptop for a few moments while they play or nap, but even then it seems like I really should be taking care of other things…does that make sense?

    My Mother-In-Law would love to live closer to help me out, but the Lord hasn’t opened that door as of yet. I find that most women the season of life I find myself in, are overly exhausted, overwhelmed and simply clueless as to how to manage everything while not losing our sanity! I love being a homemaker and I love being a wife and mother – I just wished I had been prepared and trained properly on it all.

    Thanks for posting this and I look forward to reading what becomes of these posts!

    SDG!

    Crystal <

  10. I have to admit: if the Internet didn’t make so many Godly women (such as Kelly, and many others) easily accessible, I would’ve given up long ago; stopped at 2 kids, put them in school, gone back to wearing jeans and holding down a 9-5. ;-)
    There may be a disastrous lack of supportive mentors available in real life, but I am so very thankful we can find them online. :-)

  11. Kim Buesing says:

    I would be willing to mentor a young woman. I will be 57 yrs. in a few weeks, & homeschool two at home. My son is 13 & my daughter 12. We have homeschooled “from the crib.” They are such a pleasure to be around when trained up in the Lord’s ways. My husband & I have been married almost 15 yrs & I came to the Lord when I was 37. I am available for phone calls or emails. What a wonderful way to encourage new mothers!

  12. Joyce from Marianna, Fl says:

    Kelly, while we are on this subject, please let the young women know that it is ok to simply ask for help of whatever kind they need. If they don’t know perhaps a older woman can help them figure it out. In my younger years when someone would not tell me what they needed me to co, I just went to their house got the dirty diapers (before disposables) and their clothes, take them home with me, wash and iron them and bring them back. I never has any complaints for being so bold.
    I can still change diapers, wipe noses, rock babies, vacuum, mop, sooth a fevered brow and on and on. I have been praying for a needy family but as yet…I just have all these buckets of love in my heart and no one to pour them on or into.

  13. Jasmine says:

    So true, Kelly. Thank you.

  14. I wonder how many older women are shooed away by younger women who think they’ve got it all together or do not want the kind of help being offered. I imagine older women stopped trying somewhere down the line because rejection hurts.

  15. Jill says:

    I am in the same boat as all these other ladies…my husband and I are on the same page about 90% of the time. I am 37 and we home educate our children: boy 15, boy 13, boy 5 and girl 4 months old. By the way, the last two are here by God’s grace in changing my heart and attitude toward children as well as my husband’s through what I’ve shared with him in your blog (been a faithful follower from close to the beginning, so thank you, Kelly…we have been searching for a church for almost 3 years, some of that reason is the 10% where he and I disagree on some things, but these churches are difficult to find, let alone the older women in them.

    Being a first generation Christian is difficult, we really are pioneers, plowing a new trail for all those who come behind us. So while still continuing to search, I have found one older, Titus2 lady through a blog and bought her product. Her name is Victoria Botkin and her product can be found at http://westernconservatory.com/products/she-shall-be-called-woman-victoria-botkin-bundle . It is 9 cd’s that gives such great and practical advice to either an experienced mom or a newbie. Her voice is so motherly, which I did not have growing up. The first time I listened, I cried. I felt like I was being truly loved by a Christian mother…I’m so thankful for women like you, Kelly, as well as for Titus2 women like Victoria Botkin, who see and fill the need for those of us who are “amputated-limbs”.

  16. Keri says:

    This is such a subject so close to my heart!! I have been so very Blessed to have had that with ladies in a church we were members of for 17 yrs. with our three oldest.They are now in their 20′s..We still have two teens we are homeschooling and raising and a 20 yr.old daughter who is wonderful! There is such a need for this in the church. We are at a different church now and the need is huge! I think alot of us(me at almost 52..lol) have to get out of that mindset of “been there and done with that”. It is so selfish and worldly! I am surrounded by moms of littles in their 30′s who are just longing for encouragement and help. They are also a HUGE blessing to my four older children in their 20′s who still live at home with us.I am so thankful for that and I try to be a huge encouragement to them. It is hard sometimes because don’t we all just want to act like we have it all together.Many of these moms have stopped having kids after 2 or 3. We older woman(can’t believe I’m calling myself that..lol) have to help and encourage moms!! I would say to you younger moms..Pray hard for an older woman to mentor you.Look at her family..look at her..she does not have to be perfect but does she have a family that is walking in the ways of the Lord!! Sometimes I still feel like I need this also…and their are those that I can go to in my own church and I am Thankful for that!! Hang in there mommies…and I wish that I could just meet and hug each and everyone of you!!

  17. Kelly, thank you for writing on this subject. I’m an older mom (56) with 2 adult children still at home, trying to be that Titus 2 woman for younger women, though very imperfect. I Homeschooled from the beginning, have been a SAHM and I now have a ministry to young moms in my area as well as trying to encourage moms through my blog. Our family is blessed to go to a family-integrated church (check out this website to find a church in your area that encourages families to worship together: Nat’l Center for Family-Integrated Churches; ncfic.org) Our church has many young and some older (and many large) families, though ours is small. Though I have felt that my ministry has been helpful, and I get a lot of positive feedback from the moms, often I want to help, even offer to help, but they don’t accept it. There are a handful of the moms who I have a discipling kind of relationship with and who have been open. Over and over I see young moms going to other young moms, in person and online, who are no better off, and even listening to unwise counsel, when I know of (and they do, too) older Godly Titus 2 women they could be going to (I know that God brings people together and not everyone is going to click with me and I can’t help everyone, being far from perfect myself, and not knowing their heart, circumstances or what they are going through always, but there are enough older moms in our church and area that they should be able to find someone who could help). This frustrates me greatly. Having said that, I believe and know from experience, that sometimes God allows us to go through this loneliness and deep yearning as a young mom in order to draw us to Himself. Also the longing for a like-minded church and mentors may be a growing and molding process, as it was for my husband and me. It can also be greatly used in children’s lives to show them how to go to God, pray, trust and wait, and what to do when going through trials. We need to thank Him even as we cry out to Him. God used the time when we were alone in our convictions and felt like we were in a battlefield defending our choices as a family: our decision to Homeschool, to be together as a family rather than segregated, our choice to dress modestly and wear dresses, our choices not to do and participate in certain activities and groups which were just expected in the churches we attended–defending these decisions to family and other Christians who we felt should have understood helped us clarify in our hearts and minds what we believed and why. It pushed us into deeper study of God’s Word, and brought us to our knees time and time again. God used this time to mold my husband into the leader of our family he is today, and to give him strong convictions he was willing to share with others about the way we should live as a family and what our family’s church situation should look like. I am grateful for those hard years, (though I wouldn’t want to return to them). During some of those years before God moved us to where we are now, I fasted and prayed weekly for the families in our church and our situation. I prayed for my husband and children. I had one friend who I could pray with on the phone who was in a similar situation. God was changing us, causing us to rely on Him and His Word, and causing us to trust Him, love Him and others, and be grateful, rather than complaining, looking for ways we could serve others, and making us and our children closer as a family, stronger and more loving, more able to stand alone, growing Godly character in our children, and allowing us to be an example to those around us. Many around the world have it much, much harder than we do, and we truly have much to be thankful for, even in the midst of these trials. I want to offer myself as an older woman (I do also have a blog with articles hopefully encouraging) and I, too, am open to comments there, emails, etc., and will certainly pray for anyone who shares a request with me. Do not give up, young moms, do not flag in zeal! God is able to help you, and He hears you–and His arm is not shortened. He will help you–cry out to Him. I am praying for you!

  18. Tara says:

    Wow! This post was so on target. I’m one of those that struggle too. We moved to a new state, we were pregnant with twins, and I had a 3 year old and a 1 year old. On top of that, my husband had to travel for work 3 to 5 days per week so once the twins were born I was home alone with four very small children. When I say alone, I meant alone! No one whatsoever to help and an inability to go anywhere for any need. We now homeschool and the twins are 3 so I am finally able to do short errands, but wow! The last three years were the hardest years of my life!!!!! Physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I am finally feeling like my feet are on solid ground, but there is still virtually no help. But, I am fine with that now. However, your article gave me encouragement and I pray that others will be also because when you are in the midst of it all it makes you question so many things that really ought not to be questioned! Yes, God intended for us to welcome children. Yes, God intended for us to be home and raise our children to love the Lord with all of their heart soul and mind. And No, we don’t have to feel pressured into putting other things before being a wife, mother, and teacher. And now, as you have said, no, it is not too much to ask of the church that others come along side us. I just never thought of it as you have expressed it. First, i never realized that the older women were ‘suppose’ to help. And second,I never realized how the breakdown has occurred because of societal breakdown! I hope that knowing what I know now, that I can be of help to someone in the future. Thanks so much for your post!

  19. Beverly says:

    I am glad you have brought this up! I, too, feel totally alone, even in my own home. I would like to see resources and tips for wives who do not have the support of their spouse (not just “submit”–I do that already). I mean practical help of HOW to accomplish homeschooling, homemaking, parenting and being a wife while dh only brings home the check and virtually nothing else can be expected.

    I too have the family who considers that I have gotten myself into this, so don’t expect any help, or even visits.

    So happy for your blog and others like it!

  20. Nikki says:

    What a wonderfully timely written post. My heart needed this. I am still a youngish mom at 30 with 3 little ones (7, 4, and almost 2) and I am still crawling in my walk with the Lord.

    My mother is a strong woman but firmly believes that men and women are equals. So being the type of woman the Lord calls us to be was not taught to me at home. It was something I stumble on to when going through marriage prep class with my husband 10 years ago.

    I became a full time SAHM 2 years ago when our youngest was born and I am really struggling against societies views of what I “do”. Even family members ask me “aren’t you board being at home all day?”

    So thank you for the encouragement! It was much needed :)

  21. 6 arrows says:

    I’ve been thinking a lot in recent years about this older-women-mentoring-younger-women role. Although I’m on the brink of turning 50 and have two adult children, I still have fairly young kids, too, my youngest being four years old…although she reminded me this week that soon she will be five, then six, then eight! :-) Slow down, girl!

    Seriously, though, I’ve been praying to know what my role is as an older, more experienced mother (22 years under my belt) and how I can mentor younger women while still taking care to give my younger children the same care and attention my older children got. There are so many considerations regarding balancing one’s time at home with ministry that involves leaving the home; balancing face-to-face relationships with online relationships and mentoring; I’m seeking to know what that balance is in this season of life, feeling a stronger sense of urgency at my age to reach out to younger women who are struggling, yet not wanting to lose track of my ministry to my own family.

    I don’t mean my reflections to scare off any younger women here from asking older women for advice or practical assistance; I’m just being real about where I personally am right now. I would encourage younger women to go ahead and ask Christian women older than you whatever is on your heart. I (and I know there are others, too, including here on Kelly’s blog) don’t mind being asked! Even if it looks like we’d be too busy to help, ask anyway! I always pray when opportunities to serve come to my attention, to know the Lord’s will about accepting or declining in each instance. Also, sometimes it can be natural for parents to bring their children alongside them as they serve others. (And sometimes the older children of moms of many can give practical assistance to other families, even if the moms themselves can’t.) So the answer might be “yes” when you ask for someone’s help, even if it appears that the answer would almost certainly be “no”.

    I feel for those of you who don’t have anyone near you who is able or willing to help. I know others have mentioned this, but sometimes isolation or trials faced alone can be a powerful tool to draw moms closer to the Lord. It is only through Him that we receive just what we need at the time we need it. Our refreshment in the challenging seasons (and at all times) comes from our Lord. Keep praying! The Lord will provide deliverance, even if it’s not in the way or at the time you expect.

    I am praying for all of you here, the potential and current mentors and mentored, and those in the middle, desiring to both give and receive mentoring in your season of life. (I feel like I’m there in the middle, too, aching for an older mentor as my dearest older Titus 2 friend went home to the Lord last year.)

    Lord’s blessings to you all.

    • Jennifer in PA says:

      6 Arrow-
      I am about your age and have 4, ages 14 to 7. I think you have a very natural way to be able to reach out to other moms. You can do activities with them with the kids together and it can be good fellowship for all. I have found that I have 3 friends who I am informally mentoring. One has children the ages of mine and on down and we love that family and do a number of things together. Another family has 3 children the ages of my 2 younger ones. Again I have much opportunity to talk through things when we are together. The 3rd woman has 2 little ones and there I call on my children to play with and help entertain her little ones. It is good for them to learn how to relate to the little ones since I don’t think there will be anymore at my house. It is interesting b/c I did not ask for any of these relationship but they have grown up naturally as God has put these women in my life. Ask Him to bring you women in whose heart and life He is working and wants you to be part of the process.

      • 6 arrows says:

        Hi Jennifer.

        Thanks for your comment…I’m glad I saw it, as I just happened to revisit this post today :-)

        I didn’t mention it in my above comment to which you responded, but our family situation is a bit different, in a way that changes our availability to do some of the things you mention, like activities with other moms and our kids all together.

        As a homeschooling family, I rather prefer the family-to-family approach to meeting together, instead of children-to-children or the moms-and-children get-togethers without the dads. However, most families we know are not available at the time of day we are (mornings, because my husband works 2nd shift), so that leaves weekends to do things with other families. But weekends are the times my husband, as a do-it-yourselfer, likes to delve deeply into home improvement or car repair projects because of the long stretches of time available that aren’t disrupted by having to go to his outside job in the middle of his project.

        Fairly often, also, we use weekends to visit our parents. My husband and I are blessed to have all four of our parents still living (they’re in their 70′s and 80′s), and they live within an hour of us. Ministering to them is important to us. Admittedly, that does not leave a lot of time for ministering outside the family, but in this season of life for our family, with aging parents and young children who may not have a lot of years to get to know their grandparents, we feel that extended-family relationships need to take precedence over non-family relationships.

        Having said all that, though, I will say that neither my husband nor I are opposed to the idea of me as an older woman mentoring younger women to an extent. Like you say, Jennifer, sometimes God does bring these women into our lives, and He can certainly arrange circumstances to make mentoring a very natural outgrowth of the situation into which He places us.

        For example, my name has occasionally been given out locally or at our church as a go-to person regarding questions on getting started in homeschooling. Often when I sit down to talk with these moms, our conversations will turn to issues of child-rearing and other matters all parents face, whether they relate specifically to homeschooling or not. So that’s a nice and natural opportunity to mentor that does come up for me occasionally.

        I also have to say that the internet, when used wisely ;-) can be an incredible tool for mentoring, and I try to use it as such, to reach out to younger moms. It does not involve having to pack everyone up and head out the door, with all the time that takes. My husband prefers we stick to a home-based routine as much as possible, anyway, and doing a measure of online mentoring is acceptable to him as long as I keep healthy parameters around my internet time that allows me to keep family first.

        One other thing I want to say, Jennifer, regards this comment you made: “It is good for them [your children] to learn how to relate to the little ones since I don’t think there will be anymore at my house.” I think about that, too, as my youngest is 5 and tells me often she wished we had a baby, and I don’t think that is going to happen anymore at our house, either. There may be a day, when my daughter is still fairly young, that she could have little nieces or nephews running around that would give her firsthand experience with young ones, but my adult children are not in relationships at the moment, so little nieces and nephews may not be in the picture for some time yet (and may not even live in the area if there are some).

        So I have to ask, does my daughter need younger children in her life right now? God knows, and will provide in the way and at the time He ordains. In the meanwhile, I need to pray and ask for wisdom on whether I need to “act” on this to bring younger children into her life that the Lord has already placed around us, or it it’s His will that such relationships will come in the future.

        Thanks again for your comment, Jennifer. I liked that you mentioned prayer in the last sentence of your post. That’s certainly very important to discern what part of the process God wants us to be involved in as He works out His will.

  22. [...] last post, The Difficulty of Mothering Alone and a Call for Older Women, brought much interest and the question of “how can older women best come alongside younger [...]

  23. Laura says:

    This is a post I have pondered for a long time(the subject matter, not THIS post!) I will say this, as a SAHM of four boys, and open to more children, I will say that there have been times when I would have loved to have an older woman drop in and say, “Here, I brought a casserole for you!” and then proceeded to barge in and help fold laundry, let me take a nap, clean my bathrooms etc…In our age of isolation even while we live so close together, connected by our social media, I think many younger moms feel that we shouldn’t expect others to have to do anything as a result of our own choices. If I choose to have 4+ kids, I should receive the weight of that directly on my shoulders and burden no one else, because of course, kids are a “choice”…(tongue in cheek)…So many people bristle at the idea that you can be pregnant and give birth to children for the glory of God–puts them on the defensive right away…(hence wanting her to barge in! So I know she really wants to help!).
    Also, too, in my own life, sometimes my “need” for an older woman is really just because I am too lazy to keep things up myself…When you do stay home, the temptation can be to just mosey on through, rather than look upon your work as vital and necessary, and approach it as important as the CEO of a Fortune 500 Co. So often, I think we let things get to the disaster point and then cry in self pity over how overworked we are…Really, (if I would be honest), because even while we SAY we believe in this life, we really don’t WANT this life…does that make sense?? While our Biblical principles tell us this is what we SHOULD want, our sin nature creeps in and makes us discontent, and we see other women with new cars/suvs, and manicures, and health club memberships and clean houses, and a degree of financial independence and we see our mess, our chubby belly (after 4 kids), our dependence, our old, used, broken everything(cause we can’t afford anything else) and we feel jipped (spelling?). Not because wanting children is wrong, or staying home is wrong, it’s because deep down, we are selfish, greedy, and materialistic…even as we drive one 10-year old car, dress in thrift store clothes, and pay off our debt on one modest house…When I think of the years I spent in college, I never had a problem doing any of the things I WANTED to do…I got it all done, with smile and almost a 4.0…NOW? Not so much…Maybe a host of us mothers really need to repent…of our laziness, our lack of taking God’s vision and putting it into real practise…just thoughts.

    • Word Warrior says:

      Laura,

      I think you brought up some really great and often true points about our laziness and selfishness. We don’t always meet our job as we would with a more culture-esteemed one. By the same token, the CEO has HELP, the missionary has a team, and almost any successful operation is never done single-handedly. So I think there’s both. A world who says to us, “If you can’t do it alone, don’t do it”, when they don’t view other careers that way, and a very real lack of motivation on our part sometimes. I think of the Pr. 31 woman…”she strengthens her arms…she laughs at the times to come…she is clothed with strength and dignity…” She is one tough woman ;-) I want to be more tough.

  24. Charity says:

    I agree with you Laura and Kelly, although I have to say that having someone help me with my household duties/meals hasn’t ever really occurred to me, (although that would be nice after the birth of a new baby, but I’ve never experienced it) its the encouraging words I long for. Whenever I become overwhelmed by household chores I think of women say, a hundred years ago who nearly always had large families and no appliances or conveniences that we do. Then, I suck it up and put my washing machine, dishwasher, crockpot, etc, to work! I’ve heard/read it said that we should think of our appliances and such as the servants/maidens that the Proverbs 31 women had. Funny how wallowing in self pity can seem more enticing than being vigilant about our calling.

  25. Word Warrior says:

    Speaking of self-pity, I read a fantastic article yesterday…I encourage all mothers to read it! “Moanhood or Motherhood”

  26. Amber says:

    I am so often scared to ask for help for these reasons and possibly others- 1. My own pride and wanting to give off the idea that I can handle it. 2. My worry about inconveniencing people 3. I’m not worried about people seeing that I don’t have it all together, but just the horrible extent that I don’t have it all together. 4. Most of the older women in my life complain about how old and tired they are and just need to relax (These are women in their 50′s and 60′s and while I completely believe they are tired and achey I think they forget how much it would bless them to bless others). There is a sweet woman at our church who is probably around 90, is stooped over in a walker and still tries to clean up after potlucks, takes care of her wild teen grandsons, and has invited me over to show me how to sew. She is a wonderful example of a Titus 2 woman.

    • 6 arrows says:

      Amber, I think your #3 above might be what worries some of the older ladies and keeps them from mentoring–the fear that the younger ladies will see the extent to which we ourselves (I’m speaking as a relatively older woman) don’t have it all together yet. ;-) Humility and transparency are good for all of us. :-)

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