I am absolutely convinced that one of the greatest needs in the church these days is for older women to help young mothers get some time on their own without their kids.

I’m not talking about older women mentoring younger women. What most young mothers need is not more teaching and nagging to do better, but simply to be “delivered” from their homes and children for a couple of hours a couple of times a week.

By “delivered” I mean simply this:

  • Older Christian women arranges to come to young mother’s home once or twice a week.
  • Young mother leaves house and sits in Starbucks for an hour with a book or an iPad, or goes to the gym, or walks in the park, or meets an old friend, or whatever.
  • Young woman comes back to house two hours later to find a room or two cleaned, the washing basket emptied, etc.

It’s not much to ask, is it? And yet, it would totally revolutionize so many young mothers’ lives to look forward to that couple of hours every week when they can just escape the 24/7 non-stop demands and stresses of mothering crazy young kids and running a home.

“But in our day…”

“But what did they do in the past? How did we all manage then?”

In the past there was a lot more close family support and even next-door-neighbor support for young mothers. But most families are now so busy and neighbors are more difficult to trust. Young mothers have never been so isolated and lonely and stressed and depressed.

Older women without children, I really believe that the greatest single thing that many of you can do for Christ and for your sisters in the Lord, is to offer them even just 1-2 hours, just once or maybe even twice a week, where they can walk away from unceasing and increasing responsibilities and just get some peace, quiet, and personal time.

And in the course of enhancing their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being, you will also bless their children and husbands as they get the benefit of a happier and healthier mother and husband.

It would also mean a lot less depressed women for pastors to counsel.

So why not pick out a young mother you know at church next Sunday, and say, “I’d like to help you get some much-needed time to yourself every week. How about I come round every Tuesday at 2pm to look after your kids and you do whatever you want for two hours.”

And bring a Kleenex with you, because you’ll see tears of joy.

  • Kim Shay

    This is a wonderful idea. I am very fortunate that my local church as a time out for mothers every week. For two hours they have fellowship and reaching, and their children, of all ages, including any homeschooled children, are cared for by older women like myself. Another things older couples can do is to offer to babysit for an evening while mom and dad go out together. My husband and I have done that, and it’s a lot of fun to play grandma and grandpa.

    • Wanda

      I lost my mom when I was 20, just four months after our first child was born …how greatly I longed an older lady to come along side me and just be there for me. I have often thought about how I long to be that “someone” for someone else.

  • Homeschool on the Croft

    I’ll be at the stage, dv, in another few short years when I’ll be able to do this for young mums. It’s something I am determined to do, and am already praying that I’ll have the oomph and the opportunity to do it…. the ‘oomph’ to *seek out* the opportunities.

  • AL

    Alas, most of the “older women” who have no kids at home, are working day jobs and don’t have energy left in the evenings. But you are right, it is the never ceasing intensity that gets to moms with littles…especially in the winter months when you can’t send everyone outside for fresh air and exercise!

  • Michael Gifford

    Thanks David…my wife and I were wondering why the things that my mom had when raising 2 young boys are now different. Thanks! My wife enjoyed a week long break from my mom and I can tell a huge difference in my wife’s approach to the kids.

  • a loving grandma

    I hope many older women will put this plan into action. I offer this to my daughter in law on a regular basis.after reading this post I’ll definitely do it more often.

    • David Murray

      What a blessing to her, I’m sure.

  • Rachel Miller

    This is a beautiful idea. And it’s a lovely contrast to an article I read recently calling on young moms with small children to take their children and go visit older women.

    • AL

      Right! Difficult when you are sure your small children are going to touch/break one of their prized possessions or when the older people have no toys or books to occupy your children or when every week a different child comes down with a cold or flu etc.

      • Steph

        Or when you’re a one-car family so taking your kids to someone’s house is nearly impossible.

        • Rachel Miller

          Been there. For many years.

  • William Leonhart

    I have done this for my wife periodically, as we have a small church with lots of young mothers and few older ladies, and it truly is a blessing for her. However, it does cut into family time. It would be nice to see more older women taking this kind of initiative. It really gives a whole new meaning to the terminology “church family.”

  • Laura Hults

    This made me smile and couldn’t be more true! Thanks for sharing!!

    • David Murray

      You’re welcome, Laura!

  • Sue Koopman

    I disagree with the thrust of this article. As an older woman I do not intend to treat young moms as if they are to be pitied. I believe I am to teach them to love their husbands and children -not to be “delivered” from them as if they are some type of curse. Most preschool children should sleep 12 hours at night and also have a quiet time or a nap in the afternoon. Why do many moms find it difficult to take their kids to the grocery store or on errands? If they are not fit to take out in public, I doubt it would be a good thing to leave them in the care of others. I have wonderful memories of my mom being content at home and enjoying it when we came home or had days off of school. My mom actually liked and loved all 9 of her kids and I don’t remember her whining to get away from us. My husband grew up on a farm and has a sweet memory of his dad and uncle disliking it when school started again because then the kids were not around anymore during the day. I love encouraging young moms to be keepers at home and to cherish their husbands and children. I find the best way to do this is with words of encouragement about what a great job they are doing and how blessed their family is to have them living for God’s glory fulfilling their God given role.

    • David Murray

      Well Sue, we seem to be living on different planets! Just to be clear, I did not say:

      1. Young moms are to be pitied.
      2. Young moms want to be delivered from some kind of curse.
      3. Young moms can’t take kids on errands.
      4. Young moms can’t take their kids out in public.
      5. Young moms are not content.
      6. Young moms don’t like or love their kids.
      7. Young moms are whining to get away from their kids.

      These are your words and thoughts – certainly not mine or any other innumerable young mothers I’ve been counseling over the years.

      I notice that no one else has taken this article in the way you did.

      • Sue Koopman

        What are they being “delivered” from? There are several responses on facebook agreeing with my comments. But, I don’t need others to agree with me ;-) I am okay on my own…..

      • Young father

        After reading the second paragraph, I felt the same way. I am married to a hard working stay at home mom of 3 (6 month, 2 year and 4 year old) she also feels the same way. I agree that this would be a great thing, however not as important as what scripture teaches, nagging is a very negative word for something scripture commands. Do we get nagging from the pulpit or from men’s studies that are meant to help encourage and push us to be harder workers and more self sacrificing for our families? I would agree with this article assuming Titus 2 had already been fulfilled but not instead of it, it could be along with it as many are suggesting here.

      • Anna

        I am a young mother and I completely agree with Sue! I love her comments. I was discontented at home and longing for more “me time” in the past but then older mothers taught me that my job at home is important and beautiful. I don’t want to pass off to someone else my precious time with my little ones. This is my time to train them up to love and serve The Lord. When they are gone I will not be telling myself that I wish I had spent more time working out at the gym or going to Starbucks. My joy is in what God has given and yes, it’s a lot of work. God made us to be workers, and this is the work I have been called to do.

    • Rachel Miller

      I hope you can see that your comments appear to be lacking in mercy.

    • Jennie

      I am not sure why you would choose to critique this post. Obviously, he speaks from a well informed and incredibly genuine spot. Just because you never wanted to grocery shop without your children doesn’t mean I wouldn’t. As a pregnant lady pushing one cart is exhausting much less another full of children. I was very thankful for this post and very disheartened to see this type of response.

      • Sue Koopman

        I am not sure why you would critique my post? This title is biblically incorrect – having a break from your kids is not your greatest need.

        • Sue Koopman

          For the record….I agree with 99% of what Dr. Murray blogs about. I sincerely do not think he got this one right.

          • David Murray

            OK, Sue’s made her point. I’ve made mine. We disagree. But let’s move on and give the floor to others.

          • Sue Koopman

            I get to be from earth ;-) Take your pick of the other planets! I sincerely did not mean any disrespect and hope that none was taken….

          • David Murray

            No, Sue, everything’s fine. One of our greatest needs as Christians (not THE greatest!) is to be able to disagree without dismissing one another. As for another planet, sometimes the quiet, peaceful Scottish Highlands seem like a very appealing parallel universe :)

    • GR8 Daze

      Sue, I notice that you do not mention having your own children in your comments. This leads me to believe that you do not have any. If this is the case, I can see how difficult this article would be for you to read … especially if your heart’s desire was to have one or more. Life is difficult in every circumstance and I think the crux of this article is to encourage less lip service and more action. This was a specific example of how to walk alongside of our sisters in a certain circumstance, rather than just cheer from the sidelines. We all need that kind of fellowship, regardless of the specifics of our circumstance. I have 6 amazing children and I love them dearly. This does not negate the fact that waking up for the third time in the night to care for a young child(ren) after working a 5:30 am – 9:30 p.m. day is any less difficult. Telecasting this difficulty to my children would not be the most appropriate thing for me to do, however. My job is to nurture and show them love. Just because your mom did not share hard feeling with you, does not mean she didn’t have them. She was most likely doing her job like the rest of us are trying to do. I applaud your desire to encourage women in the church. Exhortations are a blessing too. But, I do think that Mr. Murray has hit the nail on the head here.

      • mel

        That is a strange conclusion to make! Perhaps she didn’t mention children because she is speaking from the perspective of remembering her childhood/her mother…

        • GR8 Daze

          She did not refer to herself as a mom. She referred to herself as an older woman … in addition to no mention of children. Is there a mom out there who thinks that Dr. Murray is completely out to lunch on this? I’d be interested to know.

      • Sue Koopman

        Thanks for the kind note! Btw I am a mom to 5 amazing kids, a MIL to one fabulous DIL and a gramma to the three best grandkids ever. I have also fostered many, many kids including crack addicted babies, adhd toddlers and some pretty regular kids too. So yes I do speak from much experience with kids — we also homeschooled for 14 years. I do stand by my comments – especially that having a break from our kids is not our greatest need. ONE of our greatest needs is to learn contentment in whatever stage of life we find ourselves in.

        • Helena VanDyk

          Sue, dear friend, do read my comment elsewhere -(21 hours ago)

          • Sue Koopman

            Helen, dear friend, do read my comments above ;-)

        • Guest
  • Lisa VS

    I love this post and absolutely agree with it but can I add that it has also never been so
    easy to stir up discontent as it is in our generation. A swipe of the finger or
    a click of the mouse gives us instant access to dozens of friends posting about
    shopping, lunch dates, traveling, careers, etc and poor me is stuck home with
    kids. It is just SO easy to fuel our discontentment. That being said, I love
    your suggestions and would maybe encourage these dear women to seek out moms who
    have children with disabilities, moms who’s own mothers have passed away or
    don’t live nearby, homeschooling moms, and moms with newborns. I don’t know of
    anyone who would turn away mentoring either :).

  • Guest

    If I knew someone was coming to let me leave for a couple of hours I’d love it… but i’d probably work like mad to make sure the house was clean before they came! :)

    • Leanne

      if you get an offer like that, do your best to resist the urge to clean. Someone who’s loving enough to come spend time with you littles probably isn’t the kind of person who’s looking for dust! And if you would ever get wind that they’re spreading a little talk about your cleaning skills? Well, you could always have the cleaning caddy sitting at the door for the next time they come back :)

  • Leanne

    I think one thing that makes it more difficult for young moms today is the busyness. Dear Sue, you have mentioned to me many times before of your Mom’s godly example of being content at home. I’m thankful for her that she was and I’m thankful for you that you have that as precious memory! My opinion is that it was a bit easier still in those days in the way of busyness. Grocery stores were not as busy, houses tended to be smaller, days were not as full outside the home, etc. Even something like a morning of ladies bible study (which has been a huge blessing to me) makes the life of a young mom more busy than it used to be. I also don’t think that moms 40 years ago would have dared to voice their tiredness. I agree, we are not allowed to be discontent in any stage of life but I think to discredit the exhaustion that can come with young children is not fair.
    I also would say that another way to help instead of coming over (especially if the mom is going to be stressed about someone in her house) is to offer to take the children for a couple of hours. This is a bonus for many reasons… the kids get out of the house and see a few new toys, Mom can stay home and get some clean up done without turning around to see it getting undone as she moves from room to room, mom doesn’t have to spend any extra money or be tempted to covet just because she has time to linger in the store, mom can shower and be ready to greet her husband at the end of the day feeling like she’s awake and human, mom can take a nap in her own bed without being worried who’s getting into what while she rests etc. (I KNOW about this! :) )
    Another thing young mom’s have to learn is to let go and be mom’s. It passes by so quickly. The time to get to do the extra things will come again soon enough. Decide to be a mom and that’s all – for now. Providing you’re spared life and health, the time for volunteering and giving an extra hand for good causes and doing all the extras will come around again.
    One more thought… from a mom that had an almost 5 year old, a 3 year old, a 15 month old and twin newborns… I have been there. But that was 6 years ago. God in His mercy has for the most part erased the memories of how purely exhausted I was. ( And I rarely left the house except to go to church on Sunday mornings for 6 months! ) But what I would encourage these mom’s with is to still use every bit of extra energy to cherish also these busy times because as cliche as it is, before you know it, you will also be past that stage and looking back on it with fondness and longing. I told you the Lord was gracious to erase the memories of the exhaustion!

  • Martha Klaver

    This is a valuable suggestion on how to show love to young moms. Many moms these days miss even the traditional weekly opportunity to go to a family member’s house for Sunday lunch, where loved ones can relax, fellowship, and encourage each other – and you are not the main cook and childminder for one meal. A couple of hours on your own every week? Wow! The emotional sense of another person’s care for you alone would bring on tears, not to mention the opportunity to reflect and renew your efforts to manage your home to God’s glory.
    My mom is a wonderful, contented, self sacrificing mother of eight who lived away from family as she raised us and had sleep problems…. I well remember the day Dad sat us down, telling us she was near a breakdown so we needed to be extra helpful. I am thankful she was preserved by God’s grace, and hopeful that this type of situation need not be repeated in churches today if we learn to offer help as we are able.

  • http://www.thatmom.com/ Karen Allen Campbell

    As an older mom of 6 grown children, one with Asperger’s, and having spent 28 years homeschooling, I certainly get the exhaustion factor! While I hover never seen getting away from the children as my greatest need, looking back, the best gift my husband gave me was taking the children outside or to tyne park or on errands with him for an hour or so every day. He also arranged for us to have a date night once a week and for nearly 40 years we have kept that practice. I believe dads who do this for their wives give her multiple gifts, especially the gift of appreciation. A couple reasons why I don’t see the older woman coming to your home scenario as being the solution: First, I know many, many older women who, though they don’t work outside the home, rate already caring for grandchildren while their children work 40-50 hour weeks. Besides that exhaustion, they also have elderly parents who require non-stop errands being run, homes being cleaned, and doctor appointments. Many feel like Gumby, being pulled in all sorts of directions, sandwiched between two needy generations! My elderly mom lived with us for 20 years after she was widowed and had had a stroke. I was more exhausted and stressed from that than I ever had been with little children! I also agree that so much of the pressure and stress I see young moms enduring that I never experienced is because they e way too busy today. For most of our married life we only had one car which my husband drove to work. Early on we made the choice for me to be home full time and with that choice came all sorts of other decisions. I am in awe today at home many families think they must have motte than one vehicle so the moms can participate in anything and everything. So much activity outside the home leaves little energy or will to actually enjoy being at home with children. I remember my grandmother who raised 9 children during the Depression talking about some of the great things they did as a family. I can’t imagine her thinking her greatest need would haver been to escape! She was too busy making it all work!

  • Helena VanDyk

    I vividly remember when the chance to go grocery shopping for one hour by myself was sheer delight. I loved my children and strove to be content in whatever state God had put me in. But that one hour of freedom, oh, what bliss. I also clearly remember my resolve to help my children out when they had little ones. This came about when a good friend of mine told me how when she as a homeschooling young mother would be blessed weekly by her mother-in-law. This lady would take all the children to her home so my friend could clean her house without interruption. (remember Sue?) I thought it a wonderful, selfless thing to do and wanted to be like her. Some of my children who lived too far away for me to help were blessed by godly women who came alongside with practical help. We need to remember that not all woman have equal strengths, and even the super strong ones can benefit from a little free time. To be a Titus 2 woman is sometimes done best by action. If words are necessary they are probably taken more gracefully if, by love, those younger women have been served in their need.

    • Sue Koopman

      Helen, I have never stated that a mom cannot have a break. My contention is that it is not her greatest need. In our age of discontent and the influence of our feminist culture we need to encourage our young moms that what they are doing is important and not something to be “delivered” from. Deliverance implies bondage. My mother-in-law was a support during 2 of my 14 years of homeschooling, until we moved hours away to where we had no extended family. She loved to spend time with my kids and I saw her influence and energy as a benefit to them. Now that she has dementia and no longer recognizes them I am glad they have such sweet memories of a loving and caring Oma. I love supporting and helping young moms who genuinely need help and even enjoy treating someone to a break so that they can shop or relax or clean, but I am not supportive of making our young moms feel that they have such a hard life caring for their husbands and children when the Lord only speaks of it as a blessing in His word. If we would study the context of Paul instructing the older women to teach the younger women to love their husbands and children, it is in the context of the younger women being new converts who have lost the support of their pagan extended families and only had the church to rely on for teaching in God’s ways of family life.

  • Victor L. Barbosa

    Here In Brazil we have our grandmothers that do this for more than 2 hours many times.

  • Peekaboosmom

    This is a lovely idea and one which would benefit, many, often overwhelmed, mothers giving them a chance to reboot and return to their children ready to do their best parenting. I was concerned, however, that your suggested volunteer specifically be Christian. I am reluctant to misinterpret your intention in making that qualification, but feel that it smacks of supremacism. I mean no offense and would only like to give you an opportunity to clarify this issue for me. Best wishes.

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  • Marieke Ude

    Thank you, Dr. Murray for this great suggestion!
    Many young mothers certainly need help, and they need to hear from us that it is very normal they need help.
    But I also believe that every young mother (and every older one) is different. Each of us is very unique, with unique gifts and unique needs. And also, God’s Word speaks to each of us personally. God does not give us all the same job; God loves diversity, as we can so clearly see in creation. God’s church is a body; and we are not all hands or ears or feet. We tend to think: If this is what God asked her to do, then I’m also asked to do it; and: if this is not o.k. for me, it is also not o.k for her.
    But the Lord wants us to sit at His feet, as Mary, who choose the best, and to listen to Him. We need ears to what He want us to do in the first place, and not to the “teaching and nagging” of the whole (Christian) community. Today I read that Teellinck said, that true Godliness is being “freed to serve God.”
    Yes, young mothers certainly need our help, and we will be greatly blessed by their children, if we help. But we also need eyes and ears, to see what help they personally need: “The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.”
    Lastly, this is also a great opportunity to serve for our teenage daughters! They can attach themselves to a family, and help a few hours each week-great for both sides!

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  • Kates David

    Spot on, but older men might help too. I might be nearly seventy but my best friend is a mom of just twenty three years with two children, one five, the other two. She suffers from mental health issues, as many do, she is also DSS reliant , no husband, and both her parents work full time. I am there for her most days, help is required with transport, getting the kids to school, shopping, holidays, day trips, it is an ideal opportunity for those that live alone. One does have to be able to afford to do this though, there is no financial support. The alternative to my support would likely be a broken family! http://www.celebritydiscodave.co.uk