When Motherhood Feels Thankless

by Amy Wootton


What is it with us and awards, recognition and honor? We happen to be a part of a profession, called motherhood, that doesn’t give out plaques, accolades or company incentives. Being a mom can be a pretty thankless job. Yes, we teach our children to have manners and say thank you, but a “from the bottom of my heart, thank you mom for all you do” has yet to reach the lips of my 3-year-old.

We are honored on Mother’s Day, and of course we get those cute little crafts from our kid’s class that say ‘I love you mommy.’ (that may or may not end up in the trash can…y’all, I cant save everything!) But for the most part, we do so much for our families with very little recognition. I have caught myself telling my husband all the things I did that day, as if by doing so he will pull out a big blue ribbon and pin it on my t-shirt that says “First place in the ironing 9 white shirts division.” We have such a need to feel appreciated and receive human applause, but the older I get the more I realize those things can still leave us feeling empty.

Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a pat on the back or a “you’re doing a good job” just like everyone else.  It gives me encouragement and some pep in my step. It helps me know that I am making a difference! There is nothing wrong with feeling honored and appreciated. In fact, I believe it helps fill up our emotional gas tank to keep us going. I look forward to the day when my children will stand up and call me blessed. To hear my girls tell me I did a great job, that they appreciate all I did for them, and that I pointed them to Jesus will be music to my ears. But even though that sounds wonderful, it won’t come close to hearing Jesus say to me, “You did it!” This is where I believe we need to focus on eternal rewards and not on temporary honors.

Colossians 3:23-24 says, “Work willingly at WHATEVER you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ!”

Being a mom, which is Kingdom work at its finest, is chocked full of unacknowledged and unseen acts day after day. To list them out would exhaust my word count, but you know ALL that you do. As godly women, we need to start getting something into our heads and more importantly into our hearts—that it’s okay. It’s okay when no one sees all that I do. It’s okay that I won’t receive a national award acknowledging all the laundry I did in one week. It’s okay that no one will applaud me as I hold my sick baby, clean up the mess yet again and pray fervently for my children to know Jesus. It’s okay. Our precious, attentive, loving Savior is watching every little thing we have or will ever do, and His reward is greater than anything we could ever receive here on earth.

It is difficult not to throw a little ‘woe is me shindig’ every once in a while. We feel like we do so much and yet no one cares.

But let me urge you to listen to the Holy Spirit and not your feelings.

Let Him lovingly remind you of His word in Galatians 6 that says “Don’t get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Yes, being told that we are appreciated is a great feeling, but what’s even greater is thinking that one day Jesus himself will reward you for all the hard work you accomplished for the Kingdom as a mom.

“And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water (milk, juice box, capri sun, chocolate milk) to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” Matthew 10:42

Amy Wootton


One comment

  1. Andrea says:

    Very wise words from a young mom like you. Even we older moms who still have young children at home (or grandchildren) need to be reminded of this from time to time. And yes, someday your children will rise up and call you blessed because you are acknowledging that you know where your eternal rewards are, and God will certainly honor that in your life. Your children are blessed to have you as their mom. God bless you.

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