One morning a few weeks ago, I realized that later in the day I was attending a music festival where my son was competing. It would be the last time he did such a thing because he is graduating from high school in June and starting college in September. He is the youngest of our three children. In September, I will be an “empty nester.”
This new designation has come about gradually. First, there was our daughter and that was very difficult. The first one is hard; we don’t know what to expect. When our second one left (our firstborn son), I was instructed not to cry. He is not a hugging kind of guy but I was granted one that day!
When child number three leaves I will be a seasoned pro.
Releasing our children is a natural part of parenting. We are given these lives as gifts from God with full knowledge that some day we will release them. When we are knee deep in diapers, toddlers’ tantrums, baby food, and ear infections, it seems so very far away and, then, one day, we wake up, and here we are!
I know some women who have gone through periods of depression after their children have all left home. For those of us committed to being home full-time with our children, and who do not have a career to return to, it can be a time of uncertainty. What will we do? How will we fill our time? What does this time do to my identity as a mother? Of course, we are always mothers, and there are always others to mother.
I am now an “older woman.” Looking back on the past couple of years, I can see that I have eased into that role. A young mother thinks she is going into labor at 11:00 at night so I drive to her home and snooze on the couch while her other child is sleeping. At 3:00 a.m. her husband sends me a text message to say they’re on their way back; false alarm!
A young mother asks me advice about homeschooling; I send her some information. I check my e-mail and a young woman is contacting me to ask me what I think of a particular book; is it biblical? What are some good books about child rearing? These are little things that fall under the category of being a Titus 2 woman.
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind and submissive to t heir own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. (Titus 2:3-5).
As I look ahead to my “empty” house in September, I can see that I have been given a great opportunity now to help young women who are in the place I have just left behind. The things that we, as older woman, are to teach the younger women are the things which we must have learned ourselves.
There are times when the trials and tribulations of domestic life seem utterly mundane. There are times when we feel the disapproval of the the world, which judges our usefulness based on our ability to earn a living. We are “just” stay-at-home mothers (as if it were an indictment).
The time when we mother our young ones, teach them godly truths, keep our homes and love our husbands is a training ground so that we may be an older woman to others someday. As we live our lives out as wife and mother, we are gaining precious life experience and wisdom to pass on to someone. Young mother, when you are tempted to feel like your life is so very monotonous, remember that you are going to be an older woman!
Kim Shay has been a child of God for the past 27 years, a wife for 25 years, and a mother for 22 years. She has three children, 22, 20, and 17 and homeschooled them until high school. They live in southern Ontario where Kim works actively in her local church teaching the Bible to women. She loves to read, to write, take her Beagle for walks and spend quiet evenings with her husband. Kim has been blogging since 2005 and can be found at The Upward Call.