I know I'm not the only stay-at-home mother who feels like my brain is turning to mush sometimes. Even though I am learning alongside my kids in the process of homeschooling them, I don't pay much attention to my own intellectual life. I don't read as much as I'd like to; I don't learn new skills very often. So in an attempt to buck myself up, here's a top ten list of reasons mothers should keep themselves sharp.
1. "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." - Matthew 22:37 The more we know, the more we can glorify God.
2. We are our children's role models. If we aren't reading anything more than magazines, why should our kids? If we don't bother to learn new skills...
3. We might be a role model for our husbands, too. My father wasn't a reader, and while I won't say that grieved my mother, it did bother her a little. He could say he was too busy working for his family, but, that's never true. Everyone has some time in their day, even just a little. I know he did.
4.Or, maybe we could be better, more interesting companions to our husbands. If your husband is interested in politics and likes to talk about it, but you can't because you don't know and don't care...
5. How about: just for the joy of it? Acquiring a new skill, reading a satisfying novel, or learning something we didn't know before can just give us pleasure.
6. How old will you be when your kids are up and out? I'll be pretty old, but maybe not too old to go back to school or back to work. Many women are empty-nesters by their early 40s. What then?
7. Do you ever feel like all you can talk about is your kids? And maybe the dog? Isn't there something else you'd rather talk about sometimes?
8. Staying sharp can help you avoid dementia.
9. Are you a grandmother? OK, I'm stretching now because this is the pretty much the same as #2, but... grandkids need role models too.
10. Learning refreshes the mind. (Yes, this is a lot like #5. Top Tens can be hard.) We can go away from our duties for a little while and come back refreshed. Don't you feel better if you have a break from homeschooling and homemaking, even for just a little while? This is the concept of "Mother Culture," the idea that mother needs to learn and refresh herself alongside her children. Some people think of bubble bath and manicures. That's fine, but wouldn't expanding your mind be more satisfying?
But before you click out to read about Mother Culture, tell me: how are you taking care of your mind as you raise your children (and homeschool, if you do)? If you are finished with that part of your life, what did you do? What would you do differently?