Mother’s Day: the one day of the year where we pause to honour this most treasured woman in our lives, who loves us no matter what, and who provides encouragement and support through all our successes and failures.
Over the centuries many people have penned their thoughts on motherhood, including nineteenth-century English poet Robert Browning, who aptly wrote: “Motherhood: All love begins and ends there." Indeed, it’s through our mothers that we get a glimpse of God and how much He loves us.
To celebrate Mother’s Day, Record journalist Tracey Bridcutt interviewed mums from Australia, New Zealand, Samoa and Papua New Guinea about their joys and challenges, and raising a family from a spiritual perspective.
(mum to Teuila, 21, Aidan, 15, and John Oskar, 14)
Monitoring what my children watch on their computers and other devices is probably my biggest challenge as a mother.
It’s about trying to find the right balance—letting them know that technology is good for their studies but at the same time it can be dangerous if they let themselves be led astray. We don’t really put bans on them using their devices. We counsel them and say that we trust them and have faith that they will make the right decisions.
Being a mum is a real joy. It’s lovely to watch them grow and discover what talents and gifts God has blessed them with.
My husband and I were baptised in 2007. It really helped when we found the Lord. It changed the whole dynamic of our family.
I try to always have special time alone with the children because they are all different with unique personalities. It’s important to have that open conversation with them where they know they can talk to you, share their problems and challenges, where they don’t feel judged. You are listening to them, providing counsel and finding the opportunity when appropriate to bring Scripture into the conversation.
I don’t force them to do things; rather I guide them. It’s about allowing them to have their freedom while at the same time equipping them to make the right choices.
(mum to Joshua, 3, and Zachary, 11 months)
Motherhood is an incredible journey. One of the joys is being able to watch these little people growing up. It’s quite amazing really—someone who wasn’t here before and now they are very much here and they look to you for everything!
One of the biggest challenges is trying to juggle everything—work and other relationships—and to find enough time in the day. My parents and my husband’s parents live in different countries so it has also been a struggle at times facing some of the hurdles of life without that close family support.
I remember something my mum told me when I had my first baby: it’s three steps forward and two steps back. I think what she was trying to say is that it’s a journey, that there’s no right or wrong. That has really helped me when things have been tough, like when the boys haven’t been sleeping well.
It’s definitely helped knowing that God is with me and that there’s Somebody Else who is looking after the boys, not just me. He also gives me patience to handle the day-to-day tasks and challenges that motherhood brings.
When our children become our friends they can trust us and are able to discuss all their challenges.
Litiana Rakarakatia Turner
(stepmum to Olive, 24, Leslie, 21, and Jope, 19)
Stepmums are not always portrayed in a positive light—after all they are usually witches in children’s books!
But I’ve found it to be a wonderful, at times challenging, experience. When I reflect on my life as a stepmum I think that this is how God must feel at times—you choose to love these children whether or not they love you back. You make decisions based on your desire for their good, even though this may not always be understood.
I got married seven years ago into a family with three children whose mum had passed away.
For years I’d been reading books on how to raise kids, nurture and discipline them, because as a secondary school deputy principal I often dealt with young people facing crises: emotionally, academically and at times spiritually. But having experience with lots of kids and becoming a stepmum wasn’t the same. I had all the head knowledge and none of the 24/7 home experience.
When I became an instant mum I remember my mother saying to me: “You are not running a school, this is a family!” You see initially it was easiest for me to create rosters and organise my home according to the tasks that needed to be accomplished.
I’m very grateful to my mum for the way she raised me and I have tried to do the sorts of things that she did. Traditions like putting flowers around the house in preparation for Sabbath and cooking the kids’ favourite meal on Friday nights. On Sundays we had family conferences where we could share our thoughts and challenges.
I believe that good communication between the parents is the number one priority to keep everything running smoothly. And it’s all about teamwork—each family member should share the responsibilities of being a part of the family.
When I look back over the past seven years, I have been blessed with a wonderful husband and great kids. Raising them together has been an awesome adventure!
(mum to Anne, 25, and Samuel, 23)
God has given me a healthy perspective to mothering and raising my children.
I found being a mum especially challenging when I was a new mother, not knowing exactly how to go about working with them at that age. And again when they came into their teenage years when they faced different moral and spiritual challenges. At those times, as much as possible, I either prayed and took counsel from God’s Word or read books and took counsel from other more experienced mothers, just to understand and get some tips on how to deal with the challenges of mothering posed by different life stages of the children.
I have really strived to have quality time with my children, to chat about their lives and their dreams, and just make friends with them. When our children become our friends they can trust us and are able to discuss all their challenges.
It's important to recognise that children are the property of our Heavenly Father and as parents we are the stewards so we need to respect them. For example, in some areas of Papua New Guinea children have a low status. Sometimes they get to eat only scraps of food while adults eat the best. We need to love our children, and respect and appreciate them like God does.
Motherhood is such a rewarding experience to see how everything we have done has helped our children to become useful young people in society. It’s not an easy job and that’s why I emphasise that good mothering comes from getting that spiritual perspective right. God’s love and His wisdom help me to be a better mother.