Pre COVID- 19 my life was busy but I felt like it was full. My husband was thriving as the director of technology, I was busy trying to be a wife, mother, nurse, grad student, and nonprofit leader. Secretly, though, my whole world revolved not around my marriage but around my children. I grew up with a mom who was always gone, never available, and I felt like we missed a lot as children, so I was doing my best to fix that by trying to be everything for my girls.
Post-COVID, my husband almost dying, our whole world stopping, and I found myself navigating waters that I wasn’t prepared for. I didn’t know the right answers and I was drowning underneath the inability to meet my expectations as a wife, mother, nurse, grad school student, and non-profit leader. I took six weeks off from work to take care of my husband while he was recovering from his near-death brush with COVID 19, and when I started back to work I had to begin the work of navigating my expectations and the true weight that I was carrying as a woman of our household. Working moms everywhere are feeling this heaviness and weight.
As I was praying about this overwhelming weight the Lord showed me a vision of a 1950’s woman and a Proverbs 31 woman. He asked me the question: do you see the difference? I didn’t but I began to research and was surprised. The 1950’s woman was an ideal image. She was sexy, put together, managing the home and her children all while looking great. When I began to research it was actually a marketing ploy and was not the reality of the women in the 1950’s. I could see the correlation as I found myself trying to be a put-together perfect woman, and I was angry about the fact that I couldn’t be her. My ideals and very good intentions became an idol in my life and I had to repent and realign my values with the Proverbs 31 woman because she isn’t a marketing ploy.
Many moms today are struggling with the exact same issue. They are trying to meet this false ideal of womanhood that was a Hollywood shell and a marketing ploy. This woman has taken different forms but it is always the same: put together, perfect, beautiful, and seeming to effortlessly get things done, this is fake. The reality is many of us are navigating the weight of our families, our communities, our jobs, our own personal lives, and we feel like we are sinking. Whether you are a stay at home mom or a working mom, we all are feeling the weight. Today I want to share with you three dos of a Proverbs 31 woman in our most important area: Our home and our family.
A Proverbs 31 woman is not Doris Day, she was a steward. She was not homemaker, she was a home manager and she lived a purposeful life. If I was going to survive this crazy season, I had to let go of perfection and pick up purpose. The Proverbs 31 Woman stewards her relationships, her team, and her businesses, she is a woman who worked hard. At my breaking point I began to see all the areas that I was stewarding in my life and the community that was helping me steward it. I also began to see where I was letting an ideal steal my purpose and my joy.
The first thing I did was I wrote out a list of family values. I wrote down that we were going to be a family who loved the Lord. We were going to be a family who loved each other and loved our community. We were going to be a family of integrity and excellence. I then shared these values with our babysitter and anyone who comes into our home. Why? Because every environment has a culture and our home culture is one we want to be extremely intentional about.
The second thing is to write out a list of everything that needs to be done in the house in a seven-day period. We are called to steward what we have, so starting with our homes helps us to navigate our jobs. Then, take your list and make a schedule for everyone in the family. We in the Brown family believe that you rise and fall as a family, so we all need to work together to keep our family running. This means letting go of perfect, of allowing progress to be messy while your kids and maybe your spouse help. Many times we carry an even larger burden than we mean too because we are not honest about how much help we need.
The third thing we need to do is to be willing to talk to our family continually about our values, our goals and to constantly be willing to reevaluate and change. Every season looks different and as we are navigating all the changes we have to be constantly reevaluating our goals. If I want to flourish I must be willing to steward my family well and teach my children how to steward their lives.
If we are going to survive this season and thrive, we have to begin to work together as families and communities. It rests on us to be Proverbs 31 women, that means we have to let go of the ideal of womanhood that is just a Hollywood marketing ploy and pick up a mantle of a Proverbs 31 Woman.
By Cassie Brown