The Almost Empty Nester: Valuable Motherhood

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Valuable Motherhood

I don't like to cook. I don't mind it, but I don't like it. And the main reason is that I'm not good at it. When the kids were young, I made dinner almost every night. My husband and I wanted to be intentional about sitting down together as a family no matter how little the kids were or how busy things got when they were older. We stuck to that and I'm grateful. We've had seasons where volleyball practice or football made it tough, but we did it. And if for some reason we couldn't, the kids said they missed it. Even now, The Girl Child comes home from college and asks for us to have meals together.

But cooking is not my thing.

It's been an interesting week. The Girl Child and I have been home from our Italy trip (which I'll blog about soon) for about a week. I woke up Monday dizzy. Having had an inner ear infection before, I was sure that's what it was. I went to the doc, and yes, I was right. So…I'm having a restful week with my kids driving me anywhere I need to go while waiting for this thing to subside.

But anyone who knows me knows that rest is not my MO. I have to work hard at it. Really hard. And forced rest only makes me fussier. But, after much prayer and tears of frustration with God, I accepted my fate and settled.

Yesterday, I had a chiropractor appointment, which my son graciously drove me to, then we strolled the grocery store and got ingredients to make dinner. Now… I have to share that The Hubby is a phenomenal cook. Something that has worked well in my favor, but there are many times I feel bad that he goes to work all day then comes home and cooks for me. (I don’t feel too guilty about it often, but I did this week.) And to be honest, it felt great to have time to prep everything, to organize the fridge and have what I call a "domestic day."

So, I got what I needed to make carnitas in the crock pot. Easy, right? One would think. But not for me. I prepped it all, chopped tomatoes, etc. for burritos and was SO excited I had been domestic amidst my dizziness. Images danced in my head of The Hubby coming home to a house that smelled amazing, everything prepped and ready to where he could just make his burrito and relax.

Around 5 o'clock he called and asked if I wanted to meet him near his office and go out for dinner. (With teens, we are able to do this about once a week. A perk of an Almost Empty Nest.) I told him I had dinner planned and lifted the crock pot lid to check. Instead of pork that fell apart, tender and ready to toss into a tortilla, I found a mound of meat I could hardly stab with a fork. What in the world?? How could I have possibly ruined something so simple?

I accepted his offer to go out and the kids hugged me and said they'd make some ground beef and do burritos that way. By the time I got to The Hubby, I was fuming. I was so upset. I try and I try and I try to get better at this and I just, plain suck.

Over dinner, and through tears, I spewed to him that if I couldn't cook and I don't work outside the home and make much money, I had zero value. None. Why was I even here? Being the amazing man he is, he listened and comforted and reminded me of all that I do as a mom and wife that matter to this family. But of course, his words went in one ear and out the other. I wanted to pout over all I CAN'T seem to do right.

I can't seem to find my value.

Sadly, this is not a new conversation for me and The Hubby since The Girl Child went to school and Thing 1 and Thing 2 started driving. My list of mom duties is dwindling - fast. I always swore I wouldn't be that mom where she'd poured so much of herself into raising her kids that she was lost when they flew the nest. I know deep down that I'm not that mom, but man, lately it sure feels that way.

This is also not a new struggle for me. Even amidst diapers and bottles and even long days at sporting events that took 8 hours to pack and prepare for, I questioned whether or not my presence was needed or valued. With three quasi-grown children now, I really wonder. I mean, at least back then there was a ton to do, right?

Motherhood is something that gets very little feedback. As my kids have gotten older, there have been moments of affirmation that we've done a decent job with these 3, but it's a pretty thankless existence with few kudos and nothing too tangible to show the extent of your efforts.

However, I see in these moments how God reminds me that these three amazing people are the tangible outcome.

I am beyond proud of the people they are. Yes, God as it work in their lives and that is a huge part of who they are, but He gave them to us to guide and care for. And there is much value in that. Much value.

The Hubby also reminded me that we are here to love others. That I’m being way too hard on myself - to give myself some grace. And I love my kids. I love my family. And that love is manifested in going to the grocery store and preparing a meal. The outcome wasn't what I desired, but my heart was in the right place.

The status of my heart is where I find my value.

I may not be a good cook. And that's ok. Don't get me wrong. It still frustrates me. But it doesn’t determine my value as a mom. It doesn't determine anything other than cooking is not a strength of mine. But I have other strengths. And my heart determines my value. And God has my heart in His hands so that must be pretty good. :)

What about you? What things have you struggled with as a mom that you don't tend to give yourself grace for? Talk to me….


  1. The status of my heart is where I find my value. Love that!

    Thanks. I do understand. In August, DS2 will go to college. I'll just have DS3 at home. It is so hard finding one's value in our society. So glad to have read your post.

    You latest is about 2 or three down on my TBR. Slowly getting to it.