Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Autumn Asks: What kind of mother are you?

I have a few christian blogs that I like to follow. They give you verses or stories and how it all applies to everyday life. They are encouraging.

Recently I read a post on one of my favorites and was extremely shocked by the message. I'm not going to mention which blog, because with the exception of this post, they have all been good Godly and loving messages. Not feel good stuff - learning stuff.

This one was beyond harsh. So much so that I found myself gritting my teeth and it just kept rolling around up there in the back of my empty head bothering me. So, now I will purge it.

Let me start by saying I believe in being a stay-at-home mom. I believe it is best for most kids - although not all. I believe more mothers would like to be sahm's. I know we sacrifice greatly for me to stay home. It's important to us.

I also know mother's that do not want to stay home. Mother's that CANNOT stay home as they are the sole income. There are a million other reasons also. And I'll be right up front and say I believe single mothers SHOULD work. How do the kids learn work ethic otherwise?? They have to be TAUGHT. But, work can be defined in many different ways.

And mostly I know there is no single mothering answer for all situation on the face of the earth.

But I also know mother's that should not be mothers. Family members that had kids because it was the next thing to do. They didn't so much want them as check them off a list. But still. I'd not go this far....

"But what did I expect? Young women are having babies amid a culture that has murdered maternity and everything that pertains to it. To have a heart that is warm and welcoming is thought to be a sign of weakness and mental illness.

Many of us grew up without mothering. We ate our bowl of cereal in the morning, gathered up our homework, and caught the bus to school, where we were just a number or a grade. Then we returned home and took out our key and opened up an empty house. When Mother finally arrived home from work, she was tired, and there was supper and laundry and all of the tiny details of running a house. No time for a nice long talk about the bully at school. No time for a story, and often not even a hug or word of affirmation. A few TV shows later, and we were off to brush teeth and crawl into bed in anticipation of another day. And so most of us have come to believe that this is what mothering entails: taking care of the physical needs of a child, but with little left over for the emotional and spiritual care every human being requires."

Ok. My mom worked. That is probably the biggest reason I don't. I HATED being in daycare (I only remember in-home situations, not actual centers). I wanted to be home. I wanted to be with MY family. That is where I was safe and happy. This is what makes me stay home even when its beans and rice....again. What it was not, is the picture above.

As I got older and my mom worked I could not be in extracurricular activities because I had no ride. Mom was working. I came home, threw down the books and camped in front of MTV. Healthy, no?

"In fact, children in this age have been reduced to the status of the family dog. If they are fed well, groomed and given nice little places to sleep and play, parents are considered successful. Just like the faithful family pet, children are allowed inside the lives of their parents periodically, but only on special occasions and with great effort. Then they are shut out again into the cold and expected to deal with loneliness in any way they know how."

I know a couple of these people. But most are not like this. Even if their time is limited, they spend time with the kids. Some even cater in unhealthy ways due to time constraints and guilt. But they FEEL it - they love their child.

And here is my other problem with this bit of writing. She is judging/speaking of the "culture" we live in. To me, this does not sound like she is speaking to a christian audience per say. Yet, we are not to expect the same fruit from the unsaved as from the saved. How is telling the unsaved they treat their children like dogs a teachable moment? How does that show God's love? Jesus said LOVE. Ditto for the christian audience. Do you really think that calling my kid a dog is going to make me sit up and take note of what you are saying?

Near the end of the article she does give great advice on how to show our children how much we love them and how important they are:

And here is an incomplete list of the practical application of these principles:

  • Smile at your child when he wakes up in the morning, welcome him into the new day.
  • Avoid "gripe groups" of other mothers who sit around and complain and run their children down.
  • Exclaim in a cheerful tone, "Hey--did you know that I like you a lot?"--often.
  • Tell the child stories of his birth/adoption and how you fell in love with him.
  • Allow your child to interrupt you when you are sewing or online or cooking, without conveying frustration.
  • Look into his eyes when he is talking to you.
  • Sit on the floor and play with him.
  • When you take him to the park, go on the slide and the swings with him.
  • Love his father--the man that he came from, even if that father is no longer part of your lives.
  • Let your arms and your heart always be open to him.
  • Don't postpone discipline--be consistent.
  • Be willing to be passionately involved--correcting him and reasoning with him.
  • Beware of using distractions such as media, etc. that are attempts to replace his need for your attention.
Of course, none of us can be "motherly" without a heart-transplant. This world is too much with us; it is part of our flesh that will not be totally conquered until we are translated into the next life. At times, we are buffeted by the complexities of life on earth, and we are tempted to lash out our frustrations on the most vulnerable ones in our lives.

Sorry. I take exception again. I know many people with no religious beliefs that are very motherly. Christian's do not have a market on being a good mom. (And yes, you could argue the point that it doesn't matter how good of a mom you are on THIS planet...but I'm not even going there.) I even know sahm's that homeschool and are supermom's..... and want nothing to do with religion.

Hmmmmm. I wonder why.

Ladies!!! As mother's we need to LOVE one another! Stop all the judgment and finger pointing! The sahm vs. working mom is so tired. No situation fits all people. No one group has all the right answers. And even if you want to say that the only right way to raise your kids is by The Word (Bible), you still have a problem. Lets start with girls wearing skirts vs. pants. Even the Christians don't always excuse me, there is actually a verse in the Bible that says believers cannot agree with each other (sorry, don't have it memorized).

Be a sister...not a critic.


  1. I agree - I think that as women and mothers, we just need to support each other, not tear each other down.

  2. so many things going through my head... without reading the whole article or any previous article to know this woman's heart at all, I'm just gonna have to trust you on this one! :) And of course I do! The bulleted advice points are good, yes. Just like so many issues that feel like Christianity is measured by parenting styles, health/food, wealth-- and while God does give us guidelines for these things they ARE NOT a measure of holiness. AND, I want to agree with you too that the life she described is not the norm/culture, at least in my circles, but it did make me sad that it is what some children are living. Of course some children are living far worse than that... ok, see, too many things going through my head. I'll stop! Love ya Autumn!

  3. Wow - this is a loaded one. We could have a good conversation about this. I see her point in many ways, and I see your point in many ways (not that your points are completely opposing). I am not convinced that she is being entirely judgemental. Sometimes ya just have to call a spade a spade. But if I go on, then I'll start judging! :) I get your point though. Maybe a blog just wasn't the place for this particular expression of her beliefs.

  4. First thing I want to say is I love your blog, and thank you for visiting mine.
    As a mom I can only do what I can do. I have worked when my children were younger and I no it left them sitting around during the summer, but I had no choice. NO ONE should judge others unless they are in there shoes. We are all different and there is nothing anyone can do about it.