There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV
Would you think less of me if I shouted from my rooftop, “Free at last, Free at last, thank God almighty, I’m free at last!” as the school bus carried my children off to their first day of school? (I meant no disrespect to the Civil Rights Movement!) It’s just that since I can’t actually do them physically, I was doing back flips and cartwheels in my heart in celebration of the end of summer and my newly obtained freedom. But now I find myself asking, “Should a mother feel THIS giddy?” “Do GOOD mothers feel this ecstatic when their children go off to school in the Fall?
Why not? I’m grateful for a wonderful time spent with my children during this past summer. Walks in the park, BBQ’s, swimming in the backyard, reading classics out loud, a trip to the zoo and viewing more episodes of the Andy Griffith Show on Netflix than we should ever admit—that Andy was sure a smart father! But now a new season is upon me!
I remember reading an old column written from one of my favorite mothers, Erma Bombeck, in which she revealed her postnatal depression was longer than most. “I went into it seven months before the baby came, and it lasted until the kid was 17. Then it began to taper off.” In her humorous way, she was editorializing about the encumbrances of motherhood. I loved her transparency and like she did in her columns, I rejoice in both the woes and the treasures of motherhood. Like this gem when one summer day my youngest daughter and I were reading Jane Eyre out loud and out of nowhere my daughter interrupted my reading to say, “Mom, I love you more than Dad ever could!” However, we must realize that although parenting is one of the most important occupations of our lifetime, it is OK to have other interests and dreams and we don’t need to feel guilty or question ourselves because we delight in them.
I think of the woman in Proverbs 31 (Proverbs 31:10-31) and I wonder where were her kids when she was
- selecting wool and flax and working with eager hands
- bringing her food from afar
- considering a field and buying it
- planting a vineyard
- profitably trading
- spinning her wool
- opening her arms to the poor and extending her hands to the needy
- making coverings for her bed
- making linen garments and selling them
- learning to speak with wisdom and how to give faithful instruction
My guess is that women have struggled with priorities and time management for millennia. But here in this passage we see a mother and wife who was careful to meet the needs of her husband and children AND she is honored for her many other achievements and talents. I’m not sure how she did it, but for me, my most productive time to do other things and pursue other interests are while my children are at school. The Fall is like Spring to me. It is like the various time zones for different locations. For mothers with children off to school, the Fall is our Spring. It is a time to cultivate new growth, to develop new talents, interests, ministries, hobbies and friendships. It is a time for all the godly desires of our heart to blossom. I like how Ecclesiastes 3 :1 reads in The Message, “There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth.” The right time for many of us is the Spring of Fall. LH
(The featured image is entitled Hilly Homework by Briannasart and can be purchased HERE.