"'If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!'" We smile as we read the wall plaque in the novelty store. But our smile quickly turns to a frown if truly "Mama ain't happy." This is because the wife and mother in a family often "sets the tone" in the home. The "tone" God wants her to set is one of joy, optimism, and a delight in the Lord and in her family. If your family were called upon to describe you, what would they say?"
~Martha Peace, "The Excellent Wife"~
I think I have a love-hate relationship with this quote! While I agree with the truth of it - that Mama's carry a lot of weight in determining the tone of the household - what happens to the Mama who hides her own inner workings and puts on the happy face for everyone else to see?
I remember one supper meal as a teenager when I was upset about something that had happened in our family. I sat at the table and fumed. I wanted to be sent to my room where I could pout out loud, but instead I was made to sit there and pretend to be happy; to choke back my feelings with food - because Mama said so.
In my life, it was always "choke down your real feelings and put on the pretend face." You never let on to anyone outside the household what happened there or how you really felt. And inside the household it wasn't any better - no one talked about the deep feelings of the heart.
Little wonder when I married and had a family of my own, I put on the happy face for everyone outside to see, but at home Mama wasn't happy. This Mama was angry - so angry inside it led to a cycle of yelling at my kids, then feeling so bad because I had yelled that I'd cry myself to sleep that night.
Well, Mama can't live that way forever so the depression came. I stopped yelling and started beating myself up on the inside.I hated what I was becoming and yet was helpless to change on my own. Mama set the household tone all right - everyone had to walk on egg shells around me. This Mama was a big mess!
Thank God He loves Mamas. He wasn't content to let me stay that way because He knows how important Mamas are to the tone of the household. He healed and encouraged, built up and restored this Mama as I put Him first in my life. By His grace He helped me raise three wonderful kids who love Him.
Now I tell Mamas to nourish the vertical relationship between themselves and God. Even if you don't think you have time or the energy to do it, put that relationship first because hurting Mamas hurt the whole family. Do it - even if you have to set something else aside because nothing is more important than becoming a happy healty Mama! And only when Mama's vertical relationship is strong can she nurture and set a healthy, happy, Christ-filled tone in her home.
Today, my daughter marvels at the patience I have with my grand kids - more than I ever had with her while she was growing up. Is it from maturity? Nope! It's the difference putting my relationshop with Christ as top priority has made. Now, Mama's happy and it makes a BIG difference.
This week, Christin is our hostess for In Other Words. Check out her take on the quote at her site As Gold Refined and be sure to leave her a comment!
If you'd like to play along - blog about the quote on your site then visit Christin and leave your blog URL in the Mr. Linky connection at the end of her blog.
Feel free to visit the blogs of the other participants at her site as well and read what they wrote today!