Thoughts on Mothering
by Tamara Eaton
Every mother of more than one child has times when she feels stretched
in several directions at once--trying to meet the needs of each individual
child. In fact, often a mother of one or two who is thinking of having more
children asks herself, "Will I be able to handle more than one or two?
Will I love each child as much as the first? How will I manage if they all
need me at once?" There's only one adequate response--the same Lord
who blessed you with the children will enable you to take care of them!
We can trust in His grace during busy seasons of our lives and ask Him to
help us cherish each moment with each child--whether we have one or
twenty or more! He's our strength during nurturing, discipling, and
homeschooling our children, and His strength never fails.
I love each of my six children unconditionally and each one is very special
and unique. Maybe it's because all our children were a result of much prayer (Psalm
113:9 "He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a
joyful mother of children.") but each one has been so treasured and
I can remember all their first steps--it was just as thrilling to see the
second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth child take the first step as it was for
the first one. Not only that, but in addition to the cheers of Mom and Dad,
they had the cheers of the other children, too! I have many special memories
of each one--physical and spiritual birthdays, learning to read, getting his
own library card, cute sayings and stories, learning to whistle, learning to
drive--and before I know it, (should the Lord tarry) I'll have memories of
weddings and grandbabies and more....(With all those memories crowding my
brain, no wonder I sometimes get their names mixed up!)
Our first child didn't have much time to be the "only child" so
we had a crash course in parenting more than one. By the time our firstborn
was nine months old, we were expecting another baby--and we ended up having
four children in four and a half years. But that didn't make us love any one
of them less--our love for them multiplied! And when years later, after
a God-planned gap, we were blessed with two more within twenty months--we
We sought to never look upon them as a group--"the children" but
to see them as precious individuals with individual needs and gifts. Each
one created by the Lord for a special purpose in life that only he or she
could fulfill. It has been exciting to watch them develop and mature.
There are quite a few books written about birth order, and while they're
interesting, I don't always agree with them. A recent parenting book suggested
we give all our children a "first born" experience by making sure
they get our special attention and don't get overlooked or taken for granted.
I do agree with making sure we treasure each individual child, but I also know
that being a first-born of several children isn't always all it's cracked up
to be. William and I are both first-borns and experienced firsthand some of
the joys and sorrows of the position, so we've tried to be especially aware of
not burdening the older ones or expecting too much from them--viewing them
as "miniature adults". They need a normal childhood, too.
Our later children have some benefits to their birth order--parents with
more experience and wisdom! And older siblings to love them, help nurture
them, and do things with them--but not to take over rearing them! I often say
to my older children, "There are already two parents in this house and
Each birth order brings its own potential problems so we have to be on
guard and ask the Lord for His help in bringing up our children--we don't want
to push and pressure the firstborn, or ignore the middle ones, or spoil the
younger ones. (I've seen quite a few families where the younger children were
showered with all the attention.)
Homeschooling has given me time to spend with each child--time to be
home with them, enjoying them, knowing them, treasuring each season of our
lives. The little ones were able to get special attention from me when the
older ones were busy doing other things, the older ones were able to get
special attention from me while the younger ones were sleeping or playing, and
the middle ones were able to receive special attention from me when the older
ones and younger ones were doing different things. It all balances out when
we allow the Lord to reign in our hearts and homes!
And much, much valuable attention takes place within the daily routine when
we're all together, enjoying one another. I don't buy the idea that the
only time we can really minister to our child is when it's just the two of us
alone without distractions, although we do have time alone with each
child sometimes and often catch moments during the day.
I believe the key is to keep our focus on what's really important and
not let other things interfere--our children are only young once and we
can let up on housework, laundry, elaborate meals, outside activities, etc.,
when necessary, to take time to really play with them, read to them, talk to
them, listen to them, discern their needs and BE THERE for them!
It could seem overwhelming if we get our minds into it too much, but God
has a plan for our family and it included six precious children. We can
trust Him to help us give all the attention and care and love to each one--for
they are all very precious to us and we will be eternally thankful for this
Psalm 90:16-17 " Let Thy work appear unto Thy servants, and
Thy glory unto their children. And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon
us: and establish Thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our
hands establish Thou it."
Psalm 127:3-5 "Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and
the fruit of the womb is His reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty
man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full
of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in
Psalm 128:1-3 "Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord;
that walketh in His ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy
shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful
vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about
© Copyright Tamara Eaton 1994-2000, all rights reserved.
Permission is given to reprint any of Tamara's articles in non-profit
publications as long as the article is reprinted in full and contains the
copyright information and website address. Please send a copy of the
publication to :Deeper Life Family Ministries, P.O. Box 909, Killen, AL 35645.
We have always homeschooled our six children (elementary through high
school and beyond!) and enjoy encouraging other families in their
homeschooling, parenting and in the Lord! For more help and information,
please join us on the Christian Homeschool
Fellowship Message Board.
[ Please don't forget to include your email address within the body of your
message--we've had some of our responses returned due to insufficient email
"And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord;
and great shall be the peace of thy children."