As many of you know I love reading the Little House series by Laura Ingals Wilder, and if you don't know, check out my 'Home School' page on the blog. Each chapter I have read, whether in Little House in the Big Woods, Little House on the Prairie, or now reading, Farmer Boy, I am astounded by the trillions of things that Ma and Pa were capable of doing. They made their own straw hats, prepared the leather to make shoes, made yarn and weaved it into clothes, farmed, baked, and cooked just about anything. I am fascinated by it all and have tried to make and do with my kids a few of the things we have read them do. I am usually encouraged and go around talking to all my friends what 'Ma' did, but recently I've been sitting back and saying to myself, "I will NEVER be Ma." There is a bit of sadness in my heart to have to admit that, but a true realization is also freeing.
Mmmmmm. Doesn't that just make you feel all warm and cozy inside. Don't you want a bit of headcheese on your sandwich right now? I can just hear my hubby say, as he walks in from work, "Hey, Honey, whattcha got cooking in these huge pots on the stove." Then as he lifts the cover of one pot he spies the head of a PIG! Okay, NO, this is never going to happen in my house and yes, I am thanking God for it. Come on now, how did she not throw up? I can picture her yelling out the back door of her house to her husband, "Love, when you're done butchering up the six pigs make sure you bring me the heads. Yes, all six of them." For Ma, it was all very natural, but to me it is a bit horrifying.Yes, that story clinched it for me, so, just to be clear, I will never be a "Ma."
I will say that I had my suspicion that I could never be Ma when I read all that she prepared for dinner on page 27. "Mother set the platter on the table. She looked to see that everything was ready, and the table properly set. She took off her apron and hung it in the kitchen. She waited until father had finished what he was saying to Mr. Corse but at last she said: "James, supper is ready." .....Almanzo ate the sweet, mellow baked beans. He ate the bit of salt pork that melted like cream in his mouth. He ate mealy boiled potatoes, with brown ham -gravy. He ate the ham. He bit deep into velvety bread spread the sleek butter, and he ate the crisp golden crust. He demolished a tall heap of pale mashed turnips, and a hill of stewed yellow pumpkin. Then he sighed and tucked his napkin deeper into the neckband of his red waist. And he ate plum preserves and strawberry jam, and grape jelly, and spiced watermelon-rind pickles. He felt very comfortable inside. Slowly he ate a large piece of pumpkin pie."
Ma made all of that! She made the baked beans, pork, potatoes, butter, gravy, ham, mashed turnips, stewed yellow pumpkin, plum preserves, strawberry jam, spiced watermelon-rind pickles and pumpkin pie. I am not a cook. As you can clearly see from this blog the section on cooking is pitifully small. Yes, I menu plan for the month and I have a hot, prepared meal for my family every night, but it is not a 'Thanksgiving' meal with all the trimmings each night either. I have a fear of cooking that is gradually diminishing through the grace of God, so my meals are quite basic: a meat, a starch and a vegetable and I am done! By the way, I am not a Martha Stewart either.
Ma was not only an amazing cook, she was also an entrepreneur. She made 500 pounds of butter, the best in the New York State, and sold it for fifty cents a pound. That comes to $250.00! She did that! She worked her for her family and sold the fruit of her hands to help provide. In comparison, I wrote my own Bible/Alphabet Pre-school curriculum called, "God, Me & My ABC's" and have sold a few books, but have not been able to truly use it as a steady provision for my family. I am not "Ma."
Okay, 'Ma' was definitely an amazing woman. She really was. She was devoted to her husband. She supported, loved and respected him. She took care of her family's every need, which made her and incredible planner. She was always thinking ahead. For example she knew that her eldest son, Royal, would be going to Academy in the Fall so she began dying and weaving the material she would need to make his suit for school a whole year before he had to leave just to make sure he would have it. (If you didn't catch that-She made a suit!) She had parts of her day where she worked with her girls training them and part of her day, in the evenings, where they sat around the fire together snacking and catching up on the days events. She was strong, disciplined, loving, comforting and courageous. I really admire this woman.
I have found, as I walk this road of mommyhood, I have compared my work or job as a mom to other moms. I have beaten myself up for not being smart enough, not reading enough, not being kind enough, being too controlling, allowing too much television, too many sweets and simply not knowing how to be a mom, but when all my wrestling with myself and God is all said and done, the truth is HE trusted me to be the mom to my six children. He trusted not that I would be great, or I would know everything and read everything or even that I would do everything right,
HE trusted that I would turn to Him.He knew that I would be on my knees asking Him "How?" He knew that I would surrender my mommyhood over and over again. He knew that I would ask for forgiveness, repent, and get up and try again. He knew that my heart wanted to be the mommy that He wants me to be. I may never get this mommyhood right or perfect, or be like "Ma," but to be surrendered to God, listening for His voice, and hearing what He has for this city-girl mom in the twenty-first century is what pleases His heart. Although I will never be a 'Ma' I will do my job with excellence as unto the Lord as Ma fulfilled her calling with excellence. We may be extremely different, Ma and I, but we have this in common, a deep love and respect for our husband and a deep desire to raise our children to be ready for His calling on their lives. Mommyhood is a calling. A calling in a relationship with God, being lead by God, and resting in Him. I am at peace with what my mommyhood calling looks like because it's what God says is good for me.