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Very thought provoking. For me, the struggle is with the heart-work. Did I best serve the interests of others or myself? When I keep to my chore schedule, I feel accomplished. When the house is clean, I feel pride. I have always doubts more in terms of did I give MYSELF enough to my children. Am I getting distracted reading the newspaper instead of being with my toddler on the carpet with her book? I feel so much guilt around this. It is so hard to find that balance.

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The tangibles like cleaning are always so much easier to get our heads around! They are measurable. The other stuff is not. Which I think I makes it tempting to put our energy there.

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Dear Emily,

How do you write my heart over and over? I am the mother of three girls, two of which are now also mothers and I am grateful for your voice in the myriad of social media pressures as they bring up their babies in homes of faith… how I would have loved to have had these words those many years ago… and your mother sounds an awful lot like my mom…true blessings…❤️ Thank you

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Thank you!

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Thank you so much for confirming and reminding me of the value of my work as a mother. So often I feel taken for granted, or made to feel like I don't do enough, when I'm exhausted from giving of myself all day every single day of my life. This invisible work of motherhood needs to be appreciated and valued. And my heart goes out to you dealing with your mother's Alzheimer's disease. I'm in a similar situation with my mother. It is truly heart breaking to watch a parent lose themself to dementia, and to leave the home you have such warm memories of. You expressed it so well (as you always do). Your writing is wonderful. Thank you.

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The comparison game rarely raises us up, and social media has worsened the situation. I’m old enough to know better, but I find I can easily get sucked in. Making a happy home and creating a family culture should be our priority; the extraneous stuff is just that - stuff. I really appreciate your writing Emily; always insightful!

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Exactly. I have the sense to talk my self through it and out of it when I fall into the trap…but I still fall into the trap.

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Thank you so much for this, Emily. This line here, "...I need to be grateful that I grew up with a mother who knew how to make a home for her family and who showed me how to do the deepest work of homemaking" really struck me. For various reasons, I didn't and don't have that. And it hurts, deeply. Now that I'm expecting my first child, I'm feeling more and more urgency to heal and to be the kind of mother who knows how to do the deepest work of homemaking. Other than therapy, I don't know where to begin or who to look to for learning the skills that this work entails. Reading this has reminded me of how much I need to pray for God to provide me with guidance and resources for this aspect of my life. Thank you again for sharing this.

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Emily, I love this so much. And my heart broke for you when you describe saying goodbye to your mom’s last home she welcomed you in. There’s so much to think about here. I also LOL’d about the heirloom dustpan...and want a link when you have one for us! 😂❤️

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Dear Emily, thank you!

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❤️

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I did not expect to weep over this on a snowy February day. It’s so easy to feel “not enough” from every angle (housework, heart-work, professional work, personal healing work). Lately I have felt the Lord tugging at my heart and whispering that I am actually exactly “enough” because he made me that way.

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If I use my husband’s grandmother’s dustpan, does that mean I have an heirloom dustpan? A new appreciation has been unlocked 😜. But in all seriousness, I appreciated this article as i navigate returning to work after being home for 4 years.

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This was so, so good. I was in complete agreement with you until this line: “But you do have to be present more to them than you are to the rest of the world. You do have to … prioritizes quantity time, not just quality time. With children, the latter is not possible without the former.”

I agree to a point. You have to spend time with your family to understand their needs and make a home. But I disagree with the statement because it implies working mothers should be calculating exactly how many hours they work v are at home “present” to their husband and children. What would that even look like? Does time spent cooking count? Surely, time spent sleeping doesn’t.

I think the amount of hours needed at home to be attentive to your children and truly understand what they need will be different for different families and may likely change as the children grow (I’m guessing more time when very young, less when they are a bit older, more (if they let you) during the tricky teen years).

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I definitely agree with you any kind of running calculation would be unhelpful. There are always times we have to give more to one thing than another, whether it's a project at work or caring for aging parents or a sick spouse. But I do think we need to always be tuned into and evaluating who and what is getting the most of us. Physical presence is important and kids want is badly from their parents, but presence isn't just physical. I know for me, even when I'm with my kids, it can be a serious temptation to be present to them and not mentally distracted by work or something else. And yes, definitely the hours of time a family needs to spend together will differ from family to family and as the children grow. But I don't think we can structure our family time the way the culture here in America expects us to structure it and have much confidence in the results of that for us or our kids. We have a deeply unhealthy work culture in the U.S., a deeply unhealthy youth sports culture, and in many places a deeply unhealthy educational culture. I've written about this before here, but I think we give ourselves and our kids the best shot at a healthy, happy life when we push back against that and make countercultural choices about career and family life (and that's true for both men and women). That's where the sacrifice part comes in.

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