No Mommy Wars Here Jul20

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No Mommy Wars Here

This morning, I was waiting in line at Starbucks and overheard a couple women chatting about their kids.  One lady had her beautiful little daughter with her, probably 4 years old or so. The other woman was commenting on how cute the little girl was.  The mother replied, “Yes, she is a good girl.  I have a 10 year old who is a pain in my butt.  But I love this one,” touching the girl’s shoulders.  The little girl looked up at her mom with somber eyes, pondering what she had said.  Hearing this, I felt pain in my heart, thinking about the 10 year old child at home and the kinds of things her mother must say to her.

“Does this woman have any idea how powerful (and cutting) words can be, especially to little ones?” I thought.  “Does she know that parents are supposed to imitate Christ’s grace and love to us as an example of the gospel?”  Probably not.  I cannot comprehend what it would feel like if Jesus said he loved my sister, but not me.  I thanked God that He loves me despite my bad behavior, and that I don’t have to earn His favor.  Unfortunately, this woman probably doesn’t think about these things very often, given how openly she shared her feelings with a stranger in the coffee line.

I picked up my Iced Americano and left, pondering parenthood in general.  One of my favorite pastor’s wives recently shared her view on having kids:  “I used to think that everyone should have kids, because of the great blessing that they are and the refinement it brings in our lives.  But over the years, I have changed my mind.”  Why?  “Because some people are terrible!” she exclaimed.  Remembering her words led me to a question I’ve been thinking about for months now – why in the world do some people have kids?

Sometimes people have kids for completely selfish reasons – as an accessory to their “well rounded” life, to bring themselves happiness (not necessarily the child), or to try and “fix” a troubled marriage or relationship (laughable!).  These are like crimes in my eyes because I believe with my whole heart that we should put our kids above ourselves.  My daughter is a cherished and precious gift from God and He’s entrusted her to our great care here on Earth.  She is helpless and needs unconditional love and discipleship.   The greatest ministry I can have is to share the gospel with my children.  I think about Deuteronomy 6:5-7 often:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

I don’t want to take part in any of the “mommy wars” circulating our culture today – working vs. stay at home, breastfeeding vs. formula, immunizations vs none… I don’t draw a hard line on any of these things because I know that every family circumstance is different.  But I do want to ask certain people, why did you want to have kids?  From the way you portray them, they are just a major inconvenience to you and your priorities!  They take up your time, your money, sometimes your looks… they completely change your life.

My husband and I often comment on how hard the first few months of parenthood were, as it is a slow and painful process of Death-to-Self.  But we certainly didn’t go into it thinking it would be easy either.  Heck, we both were kids once… we know there are joys and trials throughout life.  When I was 8, my parents divorced and my mom wasn’t able to stay home with us kids anymore.  My younger siblings often went to a childcare center but I hated that idea and preferred to stay home alone.  It was a sad and lonely time for me.  Even at that young age, I remember promising myself that I would do everything in my power to, one day, stay at home with my kids.  I am incredibly thankful to God that He has blessed us financially so that I can do that.  I know there are many mothers out there who wish they could stay home,  but for whatever reason, are unable to do so – and that would have included my own mom, many years ago.

These days, a lot of parents think they can fit the “raising” of their children into that short morning hour before work and the quick evening hour before bed.  And then they contract out the “watching” of their children between 8:30am and 5:30pm, five days a week.  It doesn’t seem to bother them that their kids are being raised by someone or something else.  Nannies and daycare attendants are often the ones to witness the first crawl, the first word, the first step.  They and other children are often what influence a child’s behavior and worldview, especially in the younger years.

That brings me back to my main question – why did you want to have kids if you didn’t want to raise them?  Believe me, I understand how hard it can be to stay home with little ones while also giving up a job that you enjoy.  I honestly think it would be a lot easier to go to work every day, go out for lunch meetings, and interact with other adults.  Dirty diapers, crying babies, and unending laundry loads are not my first ideas of fun.  But apart from Jesus, no one loves or knows my kids better than I do.  They are my priority.  And that is why I am convinced in my heart that I am the best one to raise them.