My family often gets incredulous stares as we potter around our neighbourhood, going about our business.

On many occasions, I have caught people quietly counting the number of children following after my husband and I. I suppose we are a relatively rare sight in Singapore.

As a mother to five children (and with no domestic helper in tow), the question I am most often asked is, “How do you do it?”

Motherhood has been most revealing of my sinfulness—not that it makes me more sinful, but it brings to light the sin that has always been there, just perhaps very well hidden.

Motherhood Is Not Easy

I find it a very difficult question to answer because while I may seem to have my act together, the longer I am a mum, the more convinced I am that there is so much I do not know and so much I do not get right.

Most mothers have a strong desire to nurture and protect their children. We do whatever it takes to ensure our children are well taken care of and provided for.

Motherhood seems to bring out the best in us. It has given me opportunities to look beyond my own needs, wants, and desires to care for and serve my family. By God’s grace, I have managed to persevere through countless sleepless nights, given up my favourite piece of cake (and my career) for my little ones, and cleaned up the same messes, read the same books, and dished out the same instructions every day.

But motherhood also brings out the worst in me. More often than not, despite my best intentions, I catch myself being self-centred, angry, and resentful.

while I may seem to have my act together, the longer I am a mum, the more convinced I am that there is so much I do not know and so much I do not get right.

Motherhood has been most revealing of my sinfulness—not that it makes me more sinful, but it brings to light the sin that has always been there, just perhaps very well hidden.

When dealing with the children, my impatience, selfishness, and envy of others rises to the surface. I get irritable when my moments of peace are disrupted (and mums will know this happens all too often).

I never knew how angry I could get until I became a mum.

On way too many occasions, I have found my heartbeat quickening and temper rising as I faced yet another unwanted situation—rude remarks, selfish behaviour, fights between siblings.

Even as I teach my children about their sinfulness and need for God, God is teaching me the same lessons. I need Jesus just as much as my children do.

I have been quick to point out how my children are sinning against God, against each other, and against me. But God is also revealing my own sinfulness when I get upset and angry that things are not going my way.

Even as I teach my children about their sinfulness and need for God, God is teaching me the same lessons. I need Jesus just as much as my children do.

Motherhood Is Sanctifying

According to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, sanctification is “the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.”

Romans 6:22 tells us, “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life” (ESV). Now that we belong to God, we are being transformed through the Holy Spirit to be more and more like Christ.

We all want to be perfect mums who are in total control of our children and how they turn out.

But time and time again, we fail and fall short. Motherhood is God’s grace to us, showing us that each time we sin and fail, all we can and should do is to run to the cross, repent, and depend on Jesus, who is able to bring about His transforming work in our lives and those of our children.

Do I resent the mundane things I have to get through on a daily basis, or do I work at each task joyfully and willingly for the Lord?

We can rest assured that God does not measure us based on our ability as mums. Our salvation is entirely a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8–10).

We can trust “that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

It is all too easy to simply weather each day and harden our hearts to the Holy Spirit’s prompting.

But as mothers who have been saved by Christ, we are called “to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22–24).

Motherhood Demonstrates Christ

Each day at home should be an opportunity to serve our family and demonstrate Christ to our children.

We can rest assured that God does not measure us based on our ability as mums. Our salvation is entirely a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8–10).

Do I resent the mundane things I have to get through on a daily basis, or do I work at each task joyfully and willingly for the Lord?

Do I get angry and impatient at my children’s petty quarrels and wilful disobedience, or do I make the most of these moments to show them the grace we have all received freely from Christ?

Do I simply endure motherhood unchanged, or do I allow God to use my failings to help me grow ever more dependent on Him?

Will we allow God to sanctify us and help us grow in godliness for our joy and His glory?

I am no supermum and definitely am not perfect.

But I have a perfect God who knows my every need and meets them all.

Mothers, let us persevere and grow in godliness, embracing His work in our lives.

When we encounter challenges in mothering our children, let us choose righteousness over sin.

May we cling to God’s Word in 1 Thessalonians 5:23–24: “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”