Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I'm that crazy lady at the park

I don't know what came over me yesterday, at the park of all places! Well, was it that bad? Hopefully not. I took the kids on a jog, and I thought to extend my normal route to hit up the park. My jogging buddies...or rather...the extra weight that I was pushing was very restless. The first couple blocks I made several stops for blanket adjusting, toy stealing and then shoe tying for myself. When I finally had a great pace going and I didn't have to stop for traffic or fatigue, my goal was the park. Jog to the park.

When the swings were in sight, Iain was excited. We rolled in and I was relieved to see only one other Mom and her two kids, instead of a bunch of neglected youth causing trouble. The other Mom had a boy about two years older than Iain and a girl that was right about his age, with another one scheduled on my birthday. Coincidence? We started talking, just getting those peripheral comments out of the way. Age spacing. Do you live around here? What church do you go to. New Mommy asked, "Do you stay at home with your kids?" Yes I do, what about you? "Oh yes, I stay at home with my kids, and we are SOOO fortunate. So many of my friends are jealous that I am able to stay at home with our children."

There must have been an extra surge of adrenaline pumping through me, because the next words out of my mouth, I guess, can shake up the Mommy world:
"Well, they choose to work, just as we choose to stay at home. Everyone has a choice in whether they stay at home with their kids."

Why do so many Mom's feel that there needs to be an amendment to the "I am a stay at home mom" statement? Amendments that overstate our blessings in penance to those who are "work away" Moms? I know that I came on too strong for this perfectly nice, but still a perfect stranger, but this has really hit a nerve with me? I never thought that I would enjoy being a wife, mother and homemaker, but it is the best job/career change I have ever made! I couldn't change it for anything. Why is it stay at home vs. working? Oh that's right! Stay at home mom's lie around on the couch eating bon bons and watch their favorite shows. We don't "work" like a true "working mom" does. *Aaoooww*

I will admit that I did have a very hard time adjusting from a very handsome salary, to a paycheck-less existence, but everyday that I spend with my babies the dollar signs become a distant memory. I actually think that making the commitment to stay at home to raise your own offspring could be harder than being a working mom. Now don't freak out, just hear me out on this. Working moms get the children up in the morning and do those morning things that any SAH mom would do like getting breakfast ready, getting Husband out the door to work, getting herself ready and then packing the kids up to head out to day care. Drop the baby off to have someone else change diapers, wipe noses, feed, hold, put down for naps, read to, engage in activities, etc. while she goes to work and completely checks out of her baby's life. She might get to have lunch with co-workers, friends, or husband, and it is a completely child-free meal that she would get to have each day. Interacting with adults and earning that pay check to keep the baby at day care. She goes to pick up the baby and then head home to figure out what to make for dinner...if she cooks. She finally spends some time with her offspring and husband, but not for long, because getting up at 6 or earlier each day to get the offspring to a surrogate caretaker means that you all need to be in bed by a reasonable hour...8ish?

Why do women feel this pressure to earn money like a man when there is offspring involved? In the beginning, it was very difficult for me to give up that pay check, but I watched myself, in disgust, be so attached to the dollar sign and I became disgusted with myself! What did I really need to buy with that money? Why did I think that we needed to have that extra money? There is joy in having babies and there is an equal joy in taking care of their every want and need. There is a purpose in training and discipline and there is a point to passing on your ideology as a parent to your child. It is important, and why do we skirt around the issue of motherhood? Why is it some sort of hippie idea to do with less in order to fulfill the most important role that anyone on this earth can have? Being a mother.

If I was the dictator and dealing with our "economic crisis," I would decree that any dual income home that has offspring would be required to have one person stay at home to take care of the offspring and the dwelling of the family. We would have more jobs available, and offspring with the one-on-one contact that they need. I know that I am not a dictator, and I don't intend to be one. If it isn't obvious, I am not a feminist, so this is flying right up in the face of feminism. I am fine with women having an equal opportunity to pursue careers and life paths that do not include motherhood, however, for those women that choose to have offspring, take care of them! Why is it socially acceptable to abandon your children in the care of a complete stranger? What other mammal or animal would do such a thing to their very fragile and important brood?

Back at the park, our conversation didn't explode as much as I have in my own little space with my own ideas on Planet Joe. I could see how this sweet mother was very taken aback by my little burst. She understood, but I could tell that she didn't want to offend me or anyone else for that matter. So is it the chicken or the egg? What comes first? Since I still believe that people have choices to make, my next commentary to this unsuspecting housewife was how perplexed I am when a friend, acquaintance or family member is distressed about an infertility issue and yet they have no intention of taking care of their baby. Why is there stress over a pregnancy that will not come, and will end in another baby being raised by strangers?

While talking to my baby brother two weeks ago, I was reminded about some of the things I learned during history about the former U.S.S.R. Parents were allowed to keep their children/child living with them until they were about 3, and then the government mandated that the children were taken by the state for the rest of their lives. The Communist government wanted unpolluted children to be able propagandize, and by becoming children of the state they took on the ideology of the state. I am not a sociologist, but I would bet that there is a new generation of parent that doesn't know any better than to send their child off to day care or government run programs for before and after school. There is a generation of institutionalized children who are entering the workforce and who are starting families. If the parents were institutionalized, why would they not give the same "care" to their offspring?

Currently, it is not normal to stay at home with your children, it has become a "privileged." Currently, it is not normal to stay in a marriage, divorce is rampant. Public school is the only school, and children are not to be seen in restaurants or in church. Children are to be hidden at home with a babysitter while Mom and Dad enjoy an evening out on the town.* They are whisked away to the nursery or Sunday school so as not to disturb anyone during a church meeting. Their parents hide them away or pay someone else to take care of what is a parent's responsibility.
Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go:
and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Who is doing the training? Is it a teacher in a public institution? Is it a babysitter who supervises throughout the day without imparting knowledge and love that is from a mother or father?
I know that this is a world view that I am up against, but I am not apologizing for being a mother. I do not find my self worth in a pay check, but by the laughter from my babies mouths and the singing from their lips. There is something very feminine about taking good care of a household. Instead of the bondage and servitude that has been associated with the role of a homemaker, I have found that there should be no shame or embarrassment in knowing that there is a Divine purpose in the role that God has given me.

*I am by no means opposed to date nights for parents. I hate hearing stories about parents sending children to day care and not seeing them until the next morning because after work the parents went out with friends while a babysitter picked up the children and put them to bed. It disgusts me when this behavior seems habitual.


Joanna said...

Hi, Erin,

I love what you say about not having shame or embarrassment in recognizing a divine purpose in our role. That's so true, not just of motherhood, but of any relationship or position we find ourselves in in life.

I just wanted to offer a slightly different perspective to what you said about a woman going to work and completely checking out of her baby's life. (And please know, I'm totally a stay-at-home mom of the future!) Just last week, one of my editors came back to work after maternity leave. Yes, she's coming back to work, but she's hardly checked out. All day, I hear her on the phone checking on her infant, coaching the daycare provider about all the little nuances that only a mother and father know. Yes, it's heartbreaking to hear her pass this off to someone else, but when I asked her about it, she said she definitely would stay home if she could, but when she and her husband first married, they built a (fairly modest) lifestyle around having two incomes. She, like you, thought she'd never want to leave the working world when she had kids. But she, also like you, had them and realized she really does want to, but because of their unwise decisions before they had kids, can't afford to do it now.

Of course, my guess is that they could budget super tightly, try to sell their home and move into a less expensive one, stop paying for daycare and let her stay home, but it would be a rough couple of years financially for them.

We should discuss this in coffee group some time. I love getting down and dirty with those. :)

EMJ said...

Joanna, I appreciate your comments! What I failed to mention in my post was yet another reason for my choice to stay home. When I managed my family's business post college, pre-marriage, it was always so annoying to me when a team member had to have special circumstances because of their children. I always felt (and still feel) that it is unfair to childless people in the work force who are required to make special exceptions for co-workers with children. If a child is sick and a parent needs to stay home, the business loses money and productivity when the individual has to take time off. A position that could be given 100% by an individual with no children is taken over by an individual who needs special treatment. The employee has the business over a barrel. I have seen both sides of it.

I have to give 100% wherever I am, whether that is working or being a mother. I tried doing both (during Iain's first 5 months) and I couldn't handle making excuses to my son, nor my job.

With your co-worker, I agree that it is time to make a change in the budget. It is not easy! Jake and I bought our house with the dual income that we had when we got married, so our lifestyle has changed dramatically in the past 3 years. It is still changing! We just sold one of our cars a week ago to relieve stress and burden in our finances. Our wooing days were fun, but we don't eat sushi as often and I can usually find an acceptable pair of shoes already in my closet. :o)

Another verse that has been reverberating in my heart is Matt 6:19-21 The last part is so poignant "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

I agree, this could be hashed out some more. :o)

Joanna said...

I think that verse is Matthew is right on. When I watch my coworker (or, let's be honest, overhear her in the cubicle next to me) or think about my own heart, I KNOW I couldn't work away from home and be a mother. My heart would be so torn and there's no way I could give my full energy to my work when my full heart was with my family.

And you're right, it's hard to anoint a winner in the working parent/business game. The working parent works super hard, spending time away from their family or carrying that over-driven attitude home, rushing to fit in recitals, appointments, etc. during the work day. The business gets a fantastic worker when all the kids are healthy, when everyone gets out of the house on time, when there's no after-school activities planned. It's just not ideal for either party.

In this debate in my own head, I keep finding it hard to point to other families to say, "you're doing it wrong," especially when I know the grown kids of a lot of dual-income families and they've turned out great. But I definitely have the conviction that women should be home with their kids, even though (or maybe especially because) it requires some material sacrifice.

Ok, I'm going to get back to work now. :) Love you, love your blog, love the way you make me think!

ChurchPunkMom said...

I see where you're coming from, Erin. And I agree that there is absolutely no shame in being a stay at home mom. But I don't believe that it makes us more of a mom to be at home (nor less of a mom to work outside the home.. or more of a mom to be working..). We're all still mothers.

I think you're being a bit harsh about working outside the home. No, mothers are not 'completely checking out' of their children's lives. And yes, some do choose to work because they HAVE to. Also, not every mother who has to work leaves her children with a stranger or in a day care center.

Part of what has kept me able to stay at home with my kids these past 9 years is babysitting. I babysat for a very good friend of mine from high school who could not afford to stay at home - it broke her heart to not only be forced to leave her babies but also end up not be able to nurse them because of it. Despite the fact that she worked in a day care center, she still could not even afford to put them in day care and paid me a small amount of money to watch them on the days her family members were unavailable to watch them for free. I also babysat my niece and nephew while my brother and sister in law worked - while my SIL might still have chosen to go to work if she could, she was doing it out of necessity.

My other SIL also works, and my brother stays home about half the time while her family watches the kids the other half. This is because her teaching salary is so much more than what my brother makes.

People do what they need to do.

I've never felt judged by anyone in my life for being a stay at home mom. I see no reason to judge or criticize any other mother for choosing to work - whether it is necessary for her or not.

Katherine said...

Hi Erin,

As a woman (and devoted Christian), I see where your post is coming from, and respect you for your views.

As a mom, full time worker, and wife, I have found that it is not fair to pass judgment on working moms as checked out of their kids lives, or as shirking their parenting duties onto complete strangers.

I work. I love my job. But I also love my daughter and family and want the very best for them. For all families, that means finding a balance. For us, it means that I work and my daughter goes to daycare.

My husband and I are equal partners in raising our daughter. We stagger our schedules so that she is at school fewer hours each day. We structure our social activities around her. Instead of going to concerts and wine tastings, we now go to the children's museum or the park on the weekends. We've only had a night time babysitter *once* in 20 months.

For months, I spent every lunch hour with her and spent countless hours pumping for her in a small dark room so she wouldn't be exposed to formula. Now, I eat lunch at my desk to cut my work day a bit shorter. If I need to work late (which frequently happens), I do so after she goes to bed.

We stay up late and get up early to tackle the housework, bills, laundry, wash diapers, make baby food from scratch and cook for my family (yes, this working mother cooks nutritious food) allowing us to spend more devoted time with our daughter when she is awake. We don't allow TV for her either - no dumping our kid in front of a cartoon to get a few minutes of peace. Nor are we on the computer when she is awake.

As for my employer, they understand that everyone has a life outside of work. People get sick. Their kids get sick. And ultimately, there is more to life than work. I give 100% when I am at work, but my family comes first. The same goes for every other employee in this company, even those that don't have kids.

Am I a bad mom because I work? Am I less of a mother because I am not with my kids round the clock? I don't think so. I think that I am a terrific mom, perhaps an even better mom than I would be if I stayed home.

I don't judge mothers that choose to stay home with their children, and I refuse to be judged for working outside the home.

For the most part, I don't feel the need to justify my decisions either, but looking over this comment, it seems that I just did:)

Lisa Brandos said...

@Kat... Thank you so much for giving us this perspective! Bravo! I think this is a very important topic and a topic that has no right answer.

I've been both a work-away mom, a work-at-home mom, and a stay-at-home mom. Honestly, I felt that I had the most balance in my life being a work-away mom. This is mostly because I got to be a person, not just a wife and not just a mother. Anyone who wants to define themselves as a wife and mother and feels that is what best defines them, that is great. I don't, and I talk about it at my own blog.

Don't get me wrong, when I worked outside the home, I longed to be home with my daughters. I am looking forward to their being in school so that I can do both: work outside the home and be home when they are home. Again, balance.

A part of why this is so hard for me is because my husband's income doesn't meet ALL of our basic neccessities. We've had to put the kids on state insurance and have state assistance with groceries. If we didn't do that we would not have electricity or water or be able to put gas in our only car that is about to die and we don't have the money to replace it, nor can we afford payments. Right now, I stay home out of neccessity. God is meeting our needs and we are so THANKFUL!

However, it is neither easy or ideal. I never thought I would be getting food stamps or be on state insurance. The only luxuries we afford ourselves are internet services and $12 a month at Blockbuster. That's it. We have drastically cut down our expenses and we are still robbing Peter to pay Paul and we hate it. When I was working I did not pay anyone to take care of our girls. I had my mother to help me. The girls were always safe and always loved. I was on the phone with her several times a day to see how they were.

Do I love my children? More than life itself. Do I devote my time to teach them and train them and be there for them? Absolutely. Do I need to be a SAHM to be that for my daughters? Not at all.

Let's not forget single parents... widows and widowers... divorces that moms cannot control... abusive marriages... Christians and non Christians alike all suffer through these things. Like I said, I don't think there is a right answer.

Paralysis by Analysis said...

Obviously Lisa isn't trying THAT hard to cut down on her expenses. Lisa, you are still spending $144 a year on Blockbuster when you could be using the library for FREE! Obviously you dont have the selection like at Blockbuster, but there is joy in living within your means. Also, the library has free internet. Obviously you cant sit in front of the library computer for hours playing video games or looking at pornography, but you can check your e-mail. You can do everything you need to do on the internet at the library for FREE!
Try a little harder before you make me pay for your food bill. Thanks!

Paralysis by Analysis said...

I stupidly took the liberty of looking at your own blog. So I have to pay for your food stamps and your health care with my tax dollars, BUT you can still afford a Wii?? You are the sick pig that is bankrupting our country.
The self pity that you have going on in disgusting. Not to mention you are LYING to us when you say that you are doing everything you can to pay your bills but still cant make ends meet. You arent trying!! And your blog are the nails in your coffin. You should be ashamed!

Erika said...

Ouch. It seems that the "comments" section of Erin's blog has turned into a flame-throwing message board forum. Why don't we all take a break from the controversy here and enjoy Erin's delightful latest post about the early days of her and Jake's love story.

Could do us all some good, perhaps...

Amanda S. said...

Hi everyone. I've been pondering what to say... I lean more towards Erin's perspective in this area, but I do think we need to be careful about how we say things to one another! 1 Peter 3:8 "Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble." 15&16 "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander."

For ME AND MY HOUSE...it is simple: I would live in a one-room shack and personally eat rice and beans, beans and rice before putting my children in daycare. My mother-in-law is retired and lives near us, so asking her to care for our children while I work full-time could be an option. However, I wouldn't dream of it unless we were at risk of being homeless and starving. It's Grandma's time to be Grandma. I'M the Mommy. I WANT to be here for my children. Although there are times it does get mundane...it does get annoying...it does get exhausting... It does not matter. It's not all about me. It's what is best for them. During those times I will Fake It to Make It! I will be the one to serve and sacrifice.

I left a really good state job, which I loved, with great benefits (free health insurance) to be a SAHM. We now pay $440 a month through my husband's employer on his measly pay (half what I made). I imagine we would be eligible for state assistance. Lance has even asked me about it. But I refuse. I will not give our government one more family to be used to convince us that we need the government, that we need universal health care. I'm not saying this to be boastful, judgmental, or for pity. (And I'm not saying we don't need to do something about health care costs!) I am saying that I will put my money where my mouth is. I will sacrifice whatever I need to in order to raise my children to the best of my ability. I only have one shot at this and they are little for such a short amount of time! And I realized that I didn't want to look back on my life and their childhood with regrets. Especially since I'll probably have enough regrets as it is! Also, I believe these decisions we make as women, mothers, families, Christians have consequences that last for generations... A topic for another day! :)

So, that's just my 2-cents...since Erin brought up the subject. hehe

Amanda Shuey
aka "Mama Bear"

Lisa Brandos said...

Wow. Umm. Wasn't expecting to be attacked. Kinda hurt by that. Although, I'll shrug it off because I don't know you. I love my family and I love God and as Amanda said, we are to live in harmony. To clarify, like I said to Erin on another forum, my comment was not meant to sound angry or hurtful, it was meant to offer a different opinion. I made the mistake of being transparent, and while some people appreciate it, it was "mud" that someone chose to sling. Guess I won't make that mistake again, at least not on this public forum. To clarify some things, The Wii was purchased when I was working and the money was available and we did not have as many problems. My husband refuses to sell it even though I have offered to do so. Another thing to clarify is that I love my children and I love being home to see the day-to-day. I may complain about them driving me nuts but mostly it's blowing off steam and frustration. I wouldn't trade these days for more money any day. My husband is trying to find another job so that we can ditch our assistance, but it has been hard. I'm also trying to start a home-based business doing things that I love to do (cooking, crochet, etc.) to bring in extra money so that we can ditch the assistance. I never thought that we would be in the position to need assistance. I never thought that would be something I would even apply for... but here we are. Trying desperately to get off so that we aren't one of those people "sucking the economy dry." It's only been 2 months... I hardly think we've bankrupted anyone yet.

Lisa Brandos said...

Also... we have planted a little garden so that we could cut our grocery bill.

Paralysis by Analysis said...

It looks like you are a great cook! Can I have your recipe for self pity?
Since you like to eat things that are void of nutrients and full of carbohydrates perhaps you should try the ramen noodles at Aldi's. There are very cheap, and I know when my food budget has been tight Aldis, not the government has helped me through. However, you might want to eat more eggs instead of bagels. They are also very cheap, but have a higher protein value which leaves the consumer fuller longer than the aforementioned bagel. Eggs can be prepared many different ways, boiled, poached, scrambled, egg salad, deviled, etc.
As a sister in Christ you disgust me because there are so many people who have so much less than you do, and do not use or do not have access to free handouts. Lets take a world view, shall we? Compare yourself to other families of the world. It might take some of these families 5 years or half a lifetime to earn what your family earns in a year. The Lord has blessed you and allowed you to live in this abundant country. Yet you still have your hand outstretched asking for more! I do not believe that you need food assistance. Perhaps you should eat less. There is nothing wrong with being transparent. Perhaps you can learn something by being honest with others about yourself. I pray that the Lord will convict you in your poor decisions. (How dare you blame your husband for keeping the Wii. You are just as much to blame as he. Isnt that what Adam did? Blame the spouse?)
As far as your accusations of mud slinging...1 Thessalonians 5:14:
"Brothers, we ask you to show your appreciation for those who work among you, set an example for you in the Lord, and instruct you. Hold them in the highest regard, loving them because of their work. Live in peace with each other. We urge you, brothers, to ADMONISH those who are idle, cheer up those who are discouraged, and help those who are weak. Be patient with everyone."
Romans 15:14" And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another."
There is nothing wrong with telling someone that they can do better. There is nothing wrong with telling someone they are greedy, selfish, self-centered or gluttonous.
Your welfare momma attitude of, "I am only one family, " or "I havent been on it that long" IS what is bankrupting this country. Everyone says that. That is everyones excuse. How can you counsel women when you can't even live within your means? (Again, the LIBRARY! Free internet, free books, free movies!)
To everyone else...as far as women staying at home, consider Titus 2:4.."That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, KEEPERS AT HOME, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed."

Only Aman said...

@Paralysis It's weird because I really don't know who you are. You use words like my brothers and sisters in Christ, but you use them in a harsh manner. Didn't Jesus say:

15 “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. 16 But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. 17 If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector..."

You can read that here [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2018:15-20;&version=51;]

THe internet and these comments are public. You are attacking someone very blatantly and publicly. If you want to throw verses out of the bible out of context then the only thing I have to say to you (my potential sister in Christ) is this:

John 11:35 - Jesus Wept.

Lisa Brandos said...

@paralysis. Your mudslinging was in your insinuation that I watch pornography. Your calling me a pig. Your anger and hard-hearted comments to me in general. I feel sorry for you.

Let me tell you something here. IN PUBLIC! I've overcome more in this life than you could possibly ever fathom. You probably grew up in a sheltered home-schooled world where you never learned anything about real life. You know nothing about the KIND of person I am. You don't know anything about what type of Christian I am. You don't know where I shop for groceries or what we eat on a daily basis. You read a couple of my blog entries and you think you KNOW me?

You have some sort of hatred towards me. Hatred that doesn't come from God. I hope that God convicts YOU of your anger. I can't find the verse right now because I'm too angry to remember it, but there is one about "Why are you trying to remove the speck from your brother's eye, when there is a log in your own?" I think some self-reflection is involved.

Lisa Brandos said...

Oh, and by the way... taking assistance for food and insurance is not a sin. So I don't see what the admonishon is for.

Amanda S. said...

Ok... I think what has become evident is IF we talk about this topic in coffee group we will first need to set some ground rules!

BGriebahn said...

Dear Ladies,
First, I would remind you all to read Ecclesiastes 3, as proof that God has seen it all and there is nothing new in our world that hasn't been dealt with before. And that there is a time to cast stones, and a time to put away stones. But more importantly, that there is a season for everything. It would appear that most of the comments are being made by women who are in the season of their lives when they have small children.
God has provided the seasons as an example to us of how are our lives should be lived. Many of you seem to be in the springtime of your life. Spring is a time of new beginnings, new life and growth. What the poets forget to mention, is that spring is also a season of incredibly intense LABOR. While the seeds grow through God's divine plan without much help from us, the seeds still need to be planted, the ground needs to be worked, the rocks need to be lifted and the dead stuff from last year all needs to be removed. But in ALL things, Paul admonishes us in Colossians 3:23 "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men." Are you caring for your children as you would care for the Lord? Are you training them up in the way they should go? Do you trust the person who is training them to train them to be Godly children who will grow up to be Godly people? One of the planks of the Communist Manifesto is to train the children when they are young, by removing them from their mothers at an early age. Have we as a society given up our God-given duty to train our children to others? Are you and your husbands doing everything you can to train your children, whether they are infants or in high-school? How are you following this passage of scripture?
I would counsel the young women to find a woman whose "children rise up and call her blessed" and seek her counsel. The woman of Proverbs 31 is no less a goal for us to reach for than Christ's example to us to be servants. The Proverbs 31 woman is not only a servant to her children and her husband, but a servant to her household--those who help her and those that she helps. She does whatever she can to serve those that she loves. And we are following Christ's greatest example by being a humble servant. When did the word servant become a bad thing? I have never felt anything but contentment by serving those that I love. A servant is someone who doesn't sleep when his master is awake. A servant gives their master whatever they need, and often what they want. A mother needs to be a servant to her young child, meeting all their needs and often giving them what they want. And what most children want is their mommy to be there to give them hugs, kisses, comfort, discipline and physical contact. Little children do not wait for mommy to have her quiet time, they do not wait for mommy and daddy to have a vacation or a date-night, they do not wait for there to be enough money for this or for that thing. The season of their young lives is very short and cannot be retrieved--you must make the greatest sacrifice of SELF during these precious years.
This is a very complex issue that cannot be discussed in this brief forum--it takes a lifetime to learn all there is to know. We live in a difficult, modern world that has tried to diminish the distinctions between men and women, and has pulled us away from the truth that the scriptures teach us about family life. The world is in conflict with what God wants our home lives to be. We can find an example in 1 Timothy 5 for our homes, where men provide for the needs of the family (verse 8), young women care for their children and their homes and live godly lives (verse 14) and they refrain from gossip and idleness (verse 13) so that they are not condemned.
So this is my challenge to all of you: are you encouraging others to love and good deeds? Or are you a idle tale-teller? Are you and your husband one-flesh in all things-including the rearing of your children? What is your heart health? Do you have a servant's heart? God did not promise us carefree happy lives, but He will give you contentment whatever your circumstances. Be content with the many blessings He has given all of us--your contentment will show in your complaints and your whining, more than your physical circumstances.
Do not fear these types of discussions--hear what others say, judge it for its truthfulness (whether it hurts or not,) and then apply change to your own life if necessary. If there is no truth, you do not need to be offended. Proverbs 27.

Todd Tysseling said...

I'll keep it short. I love the post and how forthright you are. I don't have time to process everyone's comments. I too, honestly do not understand why some people have children, except for the "personal fulfillment" they believe it will bring to them. If you don't want to be in your child's company, why have the child in the first place?

I went out on a sales call yesterday. I started the meeting with the husband. Around 5:00 the wife rolled in, in work attire, with two young children, obviously picked up from daycare. They were a sweet family living in a nice house. Everything looked so perfect and I had a good impression of them. As I pulled away, I noticed what was inside the open garage door. A luxury car and an luxury SUV. This may not be true, but I'm guessing her salary funds the cars, and maybe the daycare bill. His salary must fund the $350k home. I know I am being judgmental, but some people just make it so easy to judge them.