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  • Jonathan Painter

The Role of the Mother


There are few if any natural relationships that can compare to the relationship of a mother and her children. Therefore, one of the saddest things in the world to see is a mother who does not care for her children. It goes against the very God-given instinct of motherhood for this to happen. The most deplorable cases of neglect are often helped along by the force of an external vice such as drugs and alcohol. While we shake our heads in condemnation that a woman would choose these vices over her own children we too must beware. For the subtler vices of Satan breed, a less obvious form of neglect that has permeated its way through the homes of this country, even into homes that appear fine and functional on the outside. Christian homes are not exempt from the Devil’s attacks in this area. There needs to be a call for mothers to step up to the front lines of the home and defend their families from the clutches of defeat.

As God has done with so many situations in our life, He gives us an excellent example of what a godly mother should do for her family. This example is given in the form of the well-known virtuous woman of Proverbs whose children praised her wonderful work. This example is one to which every mother can relate, and sets a goal, or a standard, that every mother should try to achieve.

SHE HAD A GOOD SPIRIT

“She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.” (Proverbs 31:13)


Notice how the Scriptures tell us that she worked willingly with her hands. The word “willingly” indicates the spirit with which she worked. She did not mumble and grumble about having to care for the kids. She had much work to do, but she was eagerly willing to do it.

I believe that this mother was willing in her spirit, despite her heavy workload, because she was fulfilling her purpose in life. Too many mothers seek to put mothering their children to the rear of their necessities to pursue other dreams and passions. The wise mother makes her family her purpose in life and thus will enjoy caring for them as she should.

Could it be said of our mothers that they work willingly? Could it be said that our spirits are good and wonderful examples to our daughters? Be aware that the mother’s spirit has a profound impact on the child. Angry mothers will raise their children to be angry. Lazy mothers will raise their children to be lazy. Prudent mothers will raise their children to have foresight. Godly mothers will raise their children to be Godly. Every mother has the ability to choose how she will “guide the house” as the Scriptures say. She will guide it with her spirit.

SHE PROVIDED FOR THEIR MEALS

“She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.” (Proverbs 31:15)


This is one of the most basic functions of motherhood. Even the mothers of the animal kingdom are endowed with a desire to feed their young. The virtuous lady went above and beyond, rising early in the morning, to make sure her family had their food. I believe she made sure her family had good food to eat. She did not rise before daybreak to make her children the most convenient and thoughtless food. She fed her children nutritious meals that helped them grow in health and strength. This was more important to her than her own sleep.

Modern mothers should also put thought into their children’s meals. Food is more convenient to make in this age we live in, and the work of preparing food is helped along by wonderful modern appliances. Yet this does not exclude the need for a mother to put thought into caring for her children’s meals. She may be able to cook the food and make preparations much faster, but she should still strive to create a balance in their meals for their own health’s sake.

SHE PROVIDED FOR THEIR APPEARANCE

“She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.” (Proverbs 31:21)


The virtuous mother made sure her family had the clothing that they needed. Notice that she did not need to fear any external conditions for she had already made ready her family's attire and they were ready for whatever would come.

It is the mother’s role to make sure her children are properly clothed. A diligent mother will care for her children’s appearance overall. She should be making sure their clothes are clean and fit correctly. She should make sure that her children are kept with proper hygiene. Children should be bathed regularly, their hair should be kept cut and combed, at least combed as much as possible. These are the things that mothers should care for. This is one of many ways she shows her children her love.

In the Scriptures, we are told, “…As is the mother, so is her daughter.” (Ezekiel 16:44) When a mother is caring for children, she is teaching them how to care as well. It may be that someday the role will be reversed. Would we want our children to care for us in our old age that way we are caring for them in their childhood?


SHE SPOKE WITH WISDOM AND KINDNESS

“She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.” (Proverbs 31:26)


The virtuous mother was careful in what she said. She spoke with great discretion and opened her mouth with wisdom. When she spoke her words were ruled with a law of kindness. She was not mean or angry with her children, but she was wise and kind.

There are two things that every mother should take away from this verse. First of all, she spoke wisdom to her children. She was not afraid to correct her children and to teach her children the difference between right and wrong, proper and improper, or correct and incorrect. She was not afraid to impart wisdom to her children. Secondly, she did so with kindness, which requires patience. She did not allow herself to loose her temper with her children and call them names or degrade them. She ruled her words with a law of kindness.

SHE WAS NOT IDLE

“She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.” (Proverbs 31:27)


I find it interesting that the virtuous mother did not put a high premium on “me” time. She kept herself busy looking after the ways of her household that she did not allow herself to eat of the bread of idleness.

This is not to say mothers do not need a break. This is where a wise husband and father help the mother get the breaks she needs. However, a mother should not be wasting her time. I believe in many ways mothers are superheroes, but they are still susceptible to the idle distractions that all other humans in this day and age are susceptible to. Let the unmarried lady who is not a mother waste her time foolishly in front of screens and on social media, this is not fitting for a mother. I recently read a report that said that one average parent with children over eight years old spend eight hours a day on their phones watching movies, playing games and on social media. I fail to see how a mother can afford eight hours out of her day for such activities and still fill her role of caring for the home. Sadly, I am afraid that many of the necessary chores are left unfinished having been out prioritized by fun time. This leads to a lacking care in our children and a strain on the marriage relationship. Every mother should beware of this and strive to limit the idleness they indulge in each day.

In closing, I will add that I am aware that the bar of expectation in the article above is set very high, yet motherhood is a very high calling indeed. May our mothers be challenged to rise to the challenge of not just surviving their role as a mother but fulfilling it to its greatest potential. The reward of an excellent mother will be found in the voice of her children’s praise, along with her husband’s praise. “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.” (Proverbs 31:28)

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