When you have been asked what you do by someone, have you ever responded: “Oh, I’m just a mom”?
According to Merriam-Webster online, synonyms for the word just in this context are barely, hardly, and scarcely.
Am I barely a mom? Hardly a mom? Scarcely a mom? I hope not! These descriptions make me cringe. These words do not describe the mom I want to be or strive to be.
Merriam-Webster gives some antonyms to the word just: significantly, substantially, well.
Am I significantly a mom? Substantially a mom? Do I do well as a mom? I certainly like these qualities better!
Yet, as I strive to have these positive qualities as a mom, do I still put myself down by saying or thinking that “I’m just a mom”?
Just an excuse
Using just in describing someone sets a low expectation.
I don’t think I want to know how many times I’ve heard, “Oh, he’s just a kid. He doesn’t know any better.” Just is used to excuse a child and get him off the hook for a negative behavior.
What about “that’s just the way it is”?
In English, we often use the word just to excuse a behavior or to accept a situation without trying harder to make a change.
Applied to motherhood, just does not show a value for what mothers do day in and day out.
In saying I am “just a mom,” I set a low expectation for myself and undervalue what I do as a mother for our children.
Am I “just a mom”?
I strive not to be “just a mom.”
Instead of just doing the dishes and laundry, I can pray for my family as I take care of these tasks. I can thank God for providing food and clothes for our family.
Instead of just doing things around the house by myself, I can ask our kids to work with me so it goes faster and we have more time together, both during our work and afterward.
Instead of just responding to a request from our daughter to play, I can ask her if she wants to play.
Instead of just reading a book to our kids, I can use different voices for the characters and engage in a conversation about the story after we have read it.
Instead of just trying to get through my day, I can offer my day to God and ask Him to help me live it well. I can rely on Him to help me and remember that He is always by my side as I go about my day.
Just the right perspective
My mindset is what I need to keep in check. When I just do something, I am not placing value on it.
I am to live my vocation as a mom to the best of my ability. This means dealing with the good, the bad, and the ugly diapers, too. It means dealing with ALL of it. Maybe this is why sometimes I think I am “just a mom;” some of the things I do not seem significant (like changing those diapers). But, when I stop and take the time to thing about them, deep down, I know they are significant.
Just changing the third diaper in one hour may seem insignificant, but it is not insignificant to my child. It is not insignificant to God. When I acknowledge that part of my vocation is to care for the needs of my family, I realize that it is not insignificant to me, either. When I think, “I am just changing a diaper,” I undervalue the care I am giving to my child and my attitude is not a positive one.
I am not “just a mom.”
God created me to be more than “just a mom.” He created me to be a great mother to my children. He knew what He was doing when He gave my husband and me our children. We are the best parents for them, and they are the best kids for us. We are called by God to live out our vocations together and to help each other to get to Heaven.
I honor God in my calling, my vocation to motherhood, when I accept that I am not just a mom, but a mom that God trusts to be the best mom I can be for the children He has placed in my care. He trusts me; I need to live my life accordingly and value my vocation as a mother.
I do not want to be “just a mom.” I want to strive for more than “just.” I like the terms significant, substantial, and well. These are good descriptions of how I want to be as a mom to our children. One day at a time (or even one hour at a time) I can do it. I know God is by my side.
My hope and prayer is that I may be significant to my family, a substantial and positive influence on them, and to do well in my vocation as a mother.
Next time someone asks me what I do, I think I’ll say, “I’m a significant mom” and see where the conversation goes from there!
What about you? What kind of a mom do you want to be?