The Adventist Home

42/88

Chapter 41—Imperfect Patterns of Motherhood

A Fancied Martyr—Many a home is made very unhappy by the useless repining of its mistress, who turns with distaste from the simple, homely tasks of her unpretending domestic life. She looks upon the cares and duties of her lot as hardships; and that which, through cheerfulness, might be made not only pleasant and interesting, but profitable, becomes the merest drudgery. She looks upon the slavery of her life with repugnance and imagines herself a martyr. AH 248.1

It is true that the wheels of domestic machinery will not always run smoothly; there is much to try the patience and tax the strength. But while mothers are not responsible for circumstances over which they have no control, it is useless to deny that circumstances make a great difference with mothers in their lifework. But their condemnation is when circumstances are allowed to rule and to subvert their principle, when they grow tired and unfaithful to their high trust and neglect their known duty. AH 248.2

The wife and mother who nobly overcomes difficulties under which others sink for want of patience and fortitude to persevere not only becomes strong herself in doing her duty, but her experience in overcoming temptations and obstacles qualifies her to be an efficient help to others, both by words and example. Many who do well under favorable circumstances seem to undergo a transformation of character under adversity and trial; they deteriorate in proportion to their troubles. God never designed that we should be the sport of circumstances.1 AH 248.3

Nourishing a Sinful Discontent—Very many husbands and children who find nothing attractive at home, who are continually greeted by scolding and murmuring, seek comfort and amusement away from home, in the dramshop or in other forbidden scenes of pleasure. The wife and mother, occupied with her household cares, frequently becomes thoughtless of the little courtesies that make home pleasant to the husband and children, even if she avoids dwelling upon her peculiar vexations and difficulties in their presence. While she is absorbed in preparing something to eat or to wear, the husband and sons go in and come out as strangers. AH 249.1

While the mistress of the household may perform her outward duties with exactitude, she may be continually crying out against the slavery to which she is doomed, and exaggerate her responsibilities and restrictions by comparing her lot with what she styles the higher life of woman.... While she is fruitlessly yearning for a different life, she is nourishing a sinful discontent and making her home very unpleasant for her husband and children.2 AH 249.2

Occupied With the World's Follies—Satan has prepared pleasing attractions for parents as well as for children. He knows that if he can exert his deceptive power upon mothers, he has gained much. The ways of the world are full of deceitfulness and fraud and misery, but they are made to appear inviting; and if the children and youth are not carefully trained and disciplined, they will surely go astray. Having no fixed principles, it will be hard for them to resist temptation.3 AH 249.3

Assuming Unnecessary Burdens—Many mothers spend their time in doing needless nothings. They give their whole attention to the things of time and sense’ and do not pause to think of the things of eternal interest. How many neglect their children, and the little ones grow up coarse, rough, and uncultivated!4 AH 249.4

When parents, especially mothers, have a true sense of the important, responsible work which God has left for them to do, they will not be so much engaged in the business which concerns their neighbors, with which they have nothing to do. They will not go from house to house to engage in fashionable gossip, dwelling upon the faults, wrongs, and inconsistencies of their neighbors. They will feel so great a burden of care for their own children that they can find no time to take up a reproach against their neighbor.5 AH 250.1

If woman looks to God for strength and comfort and in His fear seeks to perform her daily duties, she will win the respect and confidence of her husband and see her children coming to maturity honorable men and women, having moral stamina to do right. But mothers who neglect present opportunities, and let their duties and burdens fall upon others, will find that their responsibility remains the same, and they will reap in bitterness what they have sown in carelessness and neglect. There is no chance work in this life; the harvest will be determined by the character of the seed sown.6 AH 250.2