A Screwtape Letter For the Unappreciated Mom

A Screwtape Letter for the Unappreciated Mom

My Dear Wormwood,

I was thrilled to hear you have been making progress with the mother.  You have a good lead, from what I hear.  She’s feels over-worked, unappreciated, and discouraged?  I’m so glad to hear it.  If you tread carefully, this can be a great opportunity.  With the kids waking her up every hour last night, we already have an advantage.  A tired Mom makes for a more emotional Mom, and an emotional Mom is a vulnerable one.

I do have a few tips.  First, aim your best efforts at her marriage.

As you know, we cannot do much with a unified marriage.  Luckily for us, a cranky and exhausted wife can do wonders to change that.  We must convince her that her husband is no longer the friend and ally she first married.  Instead, we must reveal every sin and selfish habit, especially drawing attention to his thoughtless actions (mal-intended or not) against her.

Sometimes it’s the less obvious things, things the husband doesn’t even realize, that we can use to offend her the most.  When he comes home from work and dumps his things on the counter nearest the door (instead of hanging his coat or putting away his keys), let her think of it as a direct assault on her work as a homekeeper.  When he treks mud in with his shoes, let her think it is because he does not love her.  Such extremes of thought may seem ridiculous to you or I, but to the exhausted mortal woman, it can seem possible.  Your goal is to make her think the husband does not notice, or even better, that he does not care about her efforts at home.

Secondly, do what you can to keep her focused on  her troubles and pains.  Remind her how much her back aches, how draining the children were all day, and how many undone tasks still beckon her.  Do not let her wonder what difficulties her husband faced that day or whether his back might also be aching.  Valuing others above oneself is one of those silly, though strangely effective, tactics of the Enemy.  If she stops to make him a cup of coffee, the next thing you know she’ll be rubbing his shoulders and flirting with him on the couch.  It can progress out of your control if you’re not careful.

Along those lines, be sure the Mother starts to value productivity above everything else.  Have her wake up early and work non-stop until bedtime.  If the husband relaxes in the evening with an hour of computer gaming, be sure the wife notices the pile of unfolded laundry or unswept floors.  Do not let her grab a book and relax alongside her husband.  Diligence, often one of the Enemy’s virtues, when overdone can be used to our advantage as well.  Convince her that as long as there is a shred of work to be done (and there always is), no one should be resting.  Then, as she folds and sweeps and he sits, you can introduce the sweet bitterness of resentment.

A word of caution here.  Remember, the love of a husband can be dangerous to our cause.  If he senses her unhappiness, he may begin to help or (even worse) show her affection.  This is where previously planted seeds of resentment can be guided into full bloom.  Make her think that his displays of affection are because he “only wants one thing”.  Do not let her view his help with the dishes (or kisses or cuddling) as having pure motives.  If he shows his desire for her, convince her that she is being used, not loved.  As we both know, the ultimate Act of Marriage can bond them together in a way that can undo much hard work on our part.  Because of this, do not allow her to prioritize that Act on her mental to-do-list.  It is in our best interest to keep the wife busy, busy, busy and be sure she’s far too exhausted to consider it by the end of the evening.

Now, onto the children.  Lovely little opportunities for us, the children, especially the little ones.  We all know that children are a favorite tool of the Enemy.  He calls them Blessings and Gifts and calls parents to lay down their lives for them, just as his Son did.  Insane, I know.  We must convince her that the obnoxious little people she has charge of are not really worth her sacrifice.  When the Mother first dreamed of having children, she probably imagined large, innocent eyes and chubby, happy grins taking up the majority of her days.  Do your best to shatter those expectations.

Instead, draw attention to how much they take from her.  Let them take and take and take…  And need and need and need, until the Mother feels totally spent.  Let them start crying at the same time for the most irrational of reasons.  Let the noise bother her.  Let their bad behavior surprise her.  Do your best to make the day-to-day monotony of diaper changes, meals, and baths seem simultaneously overwhelming and beneath her.  Let her think of all the better, more important things she could be doing with her life, if only she didn’t have the children.

Don’t let her think about the future responsible, faithful adults she is raising.  Society changers, friends, workers, husbands or wives…  Don’t let her think of them as life-long companions who will love her, converse with her, and care for her in her old age.  Oh, and definitely don’t let her think about the grandchildren she might be able to see in their little grubby faces if she looked hard enough now.  No, no, no…  Thinking ahead to when her work bears fruit, as the Enemy calls it, is always a bad idea.  Keep words like ‘heritage’ or ‘legacy’ far away from the runny noses and jelly stains of the day to day.

If there is any last piece of advice I have for you, Wormwood, it is to keep the Mother looking to her husband or family for her fulfillment and comfort.  We know that the Enemy is always watching and willing to take the burdens of his children, but if we divert the Mother’s attention well enough, this fact can be forgotten.  Make her look to her husband for worth and affirmation.  Then, when he lets her down (as he is sure to do), she will be ours to torment.  Yes, the worst thing that could happen would be for her to turn to Him with her needs and inadequacies.  Once she realizes that the Enemy offers a peace that transcends her situation, our work could be utterly compromised.

Your Malevolent Uncle,

Screwtape

 

You may also enjoy…  A MOTHER’S GREATEST FEAR

OVERCOMING MOM-GUILT

 Or… MAKING SICK DAYS EASIER

175 thoughts on “A Screwtape Letter For the Unappreciated Mom

  1. Oh I love this! Especially since I have just finished a read aloud of the book to my children! I was directed to your lovely and well written post by Aunt Leila’s blog, http://www.likemotherlikedaughter.org/

  2. Fay Augenstein says:

    Thank you for writing this. It was very well done–so similar to the original. Unfortunately, these tactics sound all too familiar to me and my crazy jumbled up mom brain on a daily basis. It was a good reminder to take my thoughts captive and not be fooled by where bad thoughts like the ones described above really come from!

  3. Michelle says:

    Oh my, I can sure relate to this. Thanks so much — I needed it!

  4. Excellent! I love it.

    Have you recently read the book? You have reminded me that it has been far too long since I last read it. Thank you.

    God bless you in your mothering efforts.

    Meredith.

    PS I came by from http://likemotherlikedaughter.org

  5. Kim says:

    Wow! I just saw this today. A friend shared it on fb. There are some really powerful reminders to us as wives and moms. These traps are all too easy to fall into as we go about our daily lives. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Mindy says:

    My book group just started The Screwtape Letters this week and I was so excited when I came across your essay! Very well done!

  7. Theresa Stec says:

    This is remarkable. I’m sitting in a hospital bed, recovering from the birth of my 11th child and wishing I had read this as a young mother. I have collected many of these lessons the hard way and have many miles to go, but how I wish I had early enlightenment. My mother said to me with my first son, “Every thing you do for him is a corporeal or spiritual act of mercy.” Along the same vein, your article elevates motherhood to the historically significant place it needs to be seen from-My children are old enough for me to understand my work bears fruit- good and bad- and I have learned by now who the common enemy to the family is. The success or failure of our marriage will affect generations- the enemy attacks with diligence and plots our failure insidiously. I try to place this foremost in my mind and when little inklings creep in, I remember to get mad- but not at my husband now. I have learned to respond to assaults by loving harder, and through this sacrificial love and the grace of Christ, we build a fortress. Thank you for this beautiful insight.

  8. WOW! This is just what I needed to hear today. God works in wonderful ways! I’m so happy he guided me to your blog post. I haven’t thought about the Screwtape Letters in years! Your writing brought me right back to the book! Beautifully done!

  9. Thank you so much. Actually my husband read this out loud to me …I had left it open on the computer and he spotted it… we both chuckled alot. Very creative reminder of what it is important.

  10. Crafty P says:

    such wise words and so well written. thank you so much

  11. Sherry says:

    Great writing… love it & HIM!

  12. Danielle says:

    Wow. Thank you. I have a caring husband and a blessed two and a half year old daughter but there are lots of opportunities for discouragement when I’m too tired to remember God’s peace is there for the asking. This was brilliant and beautifully written and I look forward to sharing it with all my mommy friends (most of whom are Christian stay-at-home moms).

  13. Cathy says:

    You have looked into my life and shone a light into those dark and dusty corners. So perceptive. I will come back to this and share it with my husband. Thank you.

  14. yes life long friends, enduring love, opportunities to grow oneself and a chance to leave a family legacy of pride, love and caring.

  15. Katrina says:

    This is SO amazing. Thank you.

  16. ari says:

    This is brilliant. I hope you keep going with this, and that it gets published in a book, and keeps going. CSLewis’ s books are in print 70 years later.

    I could have used this for my first three kids. Now, with the fourth, I’m in a position of mindful blessedness, so I know how completely spot-on you are.

    Some other moms, years from now, need what you just wrote.

  17. Makellw says:

    So well written and appreciated! I’m also going to be sharing this in our book club tonight- it is completely understood by any mother and full of truth. Thank you!

  18. Lisa says:

    Such a great perspective, and so true! I am ashamed to say I have fallen to all of these traps, almost word for word, thought for thought! Thank you for reminding me who my true enemy is and how to guard against his tactics!

    Also, my husband would love to hear a version for dads. Do you have one somewhere for that that I can send him?

    Thank you!

  19. Decker says:

    Thank you Holy Spirit for leading me to this post, this day, at this hour. Thanks to my friend for sending the link. And to you, Kelsey, for posting it. God bless you!

  20. I loved this. I have five children (all grown up now–oldest 30, youngest 18–2 still living at home) and this is just as appropriate now as when they were younger. I loved it!

  21. Amanda says:

    Wow, this hit home. I love (and needed) the reminder at the end that fixing our sight on God will overcome all the weight we carry.

    • I'm Kelsey! says:

      It’s wonderful to know that we don’t have to rely on our own strength, isn’t it? Thanks, Amanda!

  22. Jasmine says:

    Just what I needed today, thanks!

  23. Sheila Sullivan says:

    Wow, could have used this when I was raising mine

  24. Jocelyn Pollard says:

    Thanks. This letter is tremendously relevant to my present situation. You’ve given me a lot to consider.

  25. Marissa D says:

    I love this so much! I’ve read it maybe ten times over the weekend, and have to share it on Salt & Light, a link up to share encouraging posts, I hope you don’t mind. If you want, stop by and be encouraged, and join in the community!

    Again, I love this one!

    Marissa
    http://raysofgraceandjoy.blogspot.com

    • I'm Kelsey! says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Marissa. And I always love a good share! Thanks for the invitation too.

  26. Julia says:

    Wow! I’m not even married and it still hit me right where I needed it! Awesome! <3

  27. Huh. Which paragraph spoke to my heart the most? ALL of them! Thank you. This was shared with me by my bestest friend, (at whose wedding my husband and I met…19 years ago), and that makes it all the more special.

  28. A friend passed me your article on the Unappreciated Mom. It is a great read for believers to help them see how we should not give into self-pity, have a martyr-dom complex or give into negativity. Moms have an awesome role in shaping family and society. I am wondering if you would give me permission to post this article and a link to your website at my website for moms called 10kids.com

  29. Jesyca H. says:

    Thank you so much for writing this! I’ve been so worn lately between kids and work and a ton of personal things. This really called me out and made me see things for what they really are – a spiritual battle. It made me feel like you took everything in my head and wrote it down. Seeing all of these other mommies post similar things, and that we all seem to be on the same page, just reaffirms that this is so truly a spiritual battle. I shared it with my husband too and it was a great jumping off point for a long overdue and loving conversation. I don’t know about you, but the world seems to be getting exponentially more difficult…and more derailing. Thank you for helping me refocus and be reminded of how truly important our roles are in shaping future generations….and more importantly, future followers of Christ!

    • I'm Kelsey! says:

      So very well-said, Jesyca. If it seemed like I was peering into your head, it was only because it’s been raging around in my own for a while. ;) You’re not alone.

  30. Laura says:

    Have you been eavesdropping on me? Such perfect insight, it almost hurts. Thank you.

  31. Cara says:

    Wow, that was convicting. I needed it. Thank you!

  32. Amy Chaplin says:

    This seems to excuse mens useless behaviour, when he treads mud in the house after you’ve cleaned it, plays PC games when he gets home and your still slaving after the kids, and never seems to care or help when you need it most IS him not caring, it’s disrespectful to you, it’s lousy behaviour, he is the enemy in these cases, it’s not imagined as the letter suggests and I feel as though this letter is his ticket or excuse to keep on behaving in this way. Women deserve more than that, we are over worked, undervalued, and treated like slaves in our homes by the men we thought would look after us…the kids I can excuse, the men should know better, but let’s face if, they don’t, it’s just insensitive ignorance on their part and I guess it’s put up or shut up, it will never change. The worst part it is that they just don’t realise the level and amount of work and organisation we do!

    • I'm Kelsey! says:

      Hello, Amy. This was not intended to excuse men’s useless behavior at all. Surely, a loving and understanding husband always makes things easier and usually pitches in to help around the home (though I don’t believe if he is the sole breadwinner, he is required to). However, it’s always important to look inside ourselves first and see if there is any anguish that is self-inflicted first (Does he REALLY not love you because he’s not helping with dishes, or is he simply exhausted from his long workday or expresses his love through other means?). After you have examined yourself, you can choose what you’re willing to look over and live with, or what needs to be confronted, in grace, with your very-human husband. In my opinion, both husbands and wives are undervalued and overworked these days. When was the last time you spent your husband’s paycheck and REALLY valued how hard he worked for it, instead of just ‘expecting it’ or thinking it was owed to you? Of course, all this assumes your husband is doing his fair share OUTSIDE of the home, if not in it. If he’s really just a lazy bum who lays around playing video games all day and not providing for his family or helping in any other way, then perhaps a counseling session with your pastor might be in order.

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