Category: motherhood

Obama’s Feminist Remark: It’s Not About Choice

You’ve probably seen the quote from Obama’s speech Friday but in case you haven’t, the statement that rightly has stay-at-home moms up in arms is this:

“Sometimes, someone, usually mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result. And that’s not a choice we want Americans to make.”

He called for more taxpayer spending on preschool so moms won’t “have to make that choice.”

Besides some really obvious reasons this statement was so ridiculous, it disturbs me on a couple of levels.

Feminism Isn’t What They Say it Is

The leader of our country has just worn feminism’s true face, delivering a clear message to the young men and women at a college in Rhode Island (and everywhere): “It’s not really about choice.”

Feminism is an enemy of the traditional family and all that represents. Women may be technically free to make the choices they want, but women who choose home will be stigmatized more and more, as feminists (like our President) continue to belittle the role of a home-career.

Is it All About the Money?

From his statement, yes, apparently it is. And do you know why? Because somewhere, somehow, very slowly, we forgot how important it is for parents to invest in the lives of their children, that raising people is the most important job in the world, and that neglect to do so, deliberately and wholeheartedly, will bring negative consequences on all of us. So if it’s not important, why would any woman choose to do it when she could make money doing something important? It’s kind of a no-brainer.

The news is rife with a “world gone mad” and we scratch our heads and talk about solutions to crime and send police officers to school and implement “mass shooting drills” and the list goes on, and all the while, no one suggests that maybe, we should go back to the cradle and start honoring people-raising as a career and remind our young women coming up that they are the ones who can rule the world, and that is pretty important.

But feminism’s true face wants mammas and babies separated as soon as possible. Do you wonder why? Let me remind you that Hitler wanted the same thing. The earlier the state can get our children, the easier it is to make “good citizens” out of them. Nothing good has ever come of that.

But they can’t say that exactly so it comes out something like:

“You poor, underprivileged stay-at-home mom who has to clean up messes all day while other women are earning a paycheck in heels. Let me help you out…” Don’t buy it.

Obama, if he really cares about our nation and the people in it, needs to say,

“Sometimes, someone, usually mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result. But there’s no better investment she could make for her family and for our nation. Thank you mothers, for trading a fleeting paycheck for the priceless investment of the next generation.”

I am mother, hear me roar.



Raising Children is a Terrible Waste of Time

I think I finally agree with the feminists that raising children is a waste of time. After all, anyone really can do it. So why not let a paid day care worker handle the messes, settle the squabbling, feed the babies, change the diapers and keep them happy so you can do something meaningful, contributing to society?

Few will come right out and say it like that, but they should. Why aren’t we being honest?

Motherhood isn’t treated like an important position-like a profession, because raising children isn’t important. And I agree.

In fact, raising children isn’t just unimportant, it’s exceedingly destructive.

What we should be doing is raising men and women. That’s real parenting. And that’s where we’ve missed it. Tragically. Monumentally. Ignorantly.

No one wants to raise children–and who can blame them? Raising children is cleaning up messes and never getting help. It’s settling squabbles and never seeing change. It’s changing diapers and laundry and preparing more food but it’s never more than that. It’s continually sacrificing for the needs of others with no reciprocating sacrifice and no reward. So we either hire someone else to do it, or we grit our teeth and suffer through it.

Now we have a crisis: a society raising children while few want to do the hard, but incredible work of raising people. Adults who will take our place as cogs in the wheel of life. Do you want to contribute to society? Every other profession pales in comparison to your contribution of raising men and women. Because everything depends on who we bring up to carry out life in the next generation. Everything.

We got so short-sighted. In our world of instagram, instant news and instant gratification, we stopped raising people because people take time and sacrifice and work. But maybe more than that, we lost our ability to look past today and saw just a child with demanding physical needs, and forgot his becoming a person–a person of strength and courage and wisdom and love and compassion (if that’s what we put into him)–and how much that involved and how much it takes mothers and fathers and family pouring into the life of another person to ensure that he really becomes a whole person.

Instead, we have generations of people who grew up and remained children. Adult-children who get mad and have never learned how to handle anger or love their enemies and so they walk into companies and open fire at their “play mates” that hurt them.


Adult-children who blame everyone but themselves when things go wrong, and who fully expect the government to fix all their problems because no one ever taught them how to handle life and difficulty and change. They never learned to take responsibility for their actions, and believe they deserve whatever they want.They were given everything except the few things they really needed so now they borrow money to get the things to fill the void.

We’re surrounded by grown-up-children who never learned to be content with simple things, to find satisfaction in hard work and enjoy the crowning sunset at the end of a long day.

We have adult-children who are having their own children and they don’t like them because raising children is frustrating and this cycle spins at dizzying speed and we are all paying the price.

Oh that we would find our love and zeal and passion for raising people!

Do you know perhaps the most tragic part of all? Since we don’t see past this temporal busy-work that goes along side of raising children into people, children themselves have lost their worth. We don’t value children because we don’t value the process of raising them into whole men and women.

But there’s hope. Change starts with you and me. It’s easy even for those of us who do value the work of motherhood to get short-sighted and forget to see the men and women in the faces of our children. It’s easy to forget the shaping of lives that goes on in the midst of daily life, the lessons learned at a thousand places in the day. Anyone can raise children, but only committed, devoted, my-life-for-yours parents can raise people who will contribute significantly to the human race.

And then we can rally around other young parents and remind them of the life-work of pouring into the next generation for all of our sakes.

The monumental happens in the minutia. Raise people.

(If you need to renew your vision, get When Motherhood Feels Too Hard. Short, daily snippets of powerful reminders of what this business of raising men and women is about in the dailiness of life.)



A Woman’s Function in Society From Home (G.K. Chesterton)

And here, Chesterton makes a profoundly important point, almost completely lost in our society, to our detriment. Oh where are the voices who will keep proclaiming the infinitely important work to do at home that cannot be done by another?

“Babies need not to be taught a trade, but to be introduced to a world. To put the matter shortly, woman is generally shut up in a house with a human being at the time when he asks all the questions that there are, and some that there aren’t. It would be odd if she retained any of the narrowness of a specialist. Now if anyone says that this duty of general enlightenment (even when freed from modern rules and hours, and exercised more spontaneously by a more protected person) is in itself too exacting and oppressive, I can understand the view. I can only answer that our race has thought it worth while to cast this burden on women in order to keep common-sense in the world. But when people begin to talk about this domestic duty as not merely difficult but trivial and dreary, I simply give up the question. For I cannot with the utmost energy of imagination conceive what they mean. When domesticity, for instance, is called drudgery, all the difficulty arises from a double meaning in the word. If drudgery only means dreadfully hard work, I admit the woman drudges in the home, as a man might drudge at the Cathedral of Amiens or drudge behind a gun at Trafalgar. But if it means that the hard work is more heavy because it is trifling, colorless and of small import to the soul, then as I say, I give it up; I do not know what the words mean. To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labors and holidays; to be Whiteley within a certain area, providing toys, boots, sheets, cakes. and books, to be Aristotle within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can understand how this might exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it. How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness.” -G.K. Chesterton



Mom Life Hack: Teaching Diligence

“The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, But everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.” Proverbs 21:5

Moms freak out. I know, I am one. Some days it feels like there are 5,350 important things to do, all at one time. And homeschooling moms can feel like they have the weight of the world on their shoulders just carrying around the burden of educating their children, besides all the other stuff to do in life.

Sometimes I have to regroup and remind myself of the really important things in life. And there are quite a few. But when it comes to preparing my children for the future, I can simplify my efforts by going back to a few basic things, one of which is teaching diligence.

“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before obscure men.” Proverbs 22:29

In a word, Scripture says that a diligent man will be successful.

Diligence is concentration, thoroughness and persistence. And in a culture where instant, fast and easy prevails, diligence is hard to find, and harder to attain.

But we can be deliberate about diligence in our homes and put our children far ahead.

Encouraging them when they face a difficult task, requring them to redo a careless job and praising them for their perseverance are ways we can help them grow in diligence.

Also, begining early is important. Not only can we expect our young children to be diligent in an age-appropriate task, but they thrive on the realization that they are a meanginful part of the family.

My 3 year old wanted to help me with supper last night and cut up tomatoes. I first told him he would have to wait until he’s older because he’s too young to use the knife. But I remembered a dull point knife with just enough serrated edge to cut a tomato that would be safe for him and told him he could try. He sawed away, announcing to all his big brothers and sisters that he was helping make dinner. A small thing for sure, but I praised him for seeing the job through to the end and for his willingness to help and serve.

Limiting their entertainment has important consequences. First, it forces them to do things with their hands–an opportunity to perservere and to find reward in work and productivity. Also, it helps them develop a stronger and longer attention span. They will read more, imagine more, think more, create more and relate more when their access to entertainment is limited.

Teaching diligence doesn’t just set our children up for success though; it is one of the most helpful things you can do for yourself. If you take the time (and it does take time) to teach your children to be thorough and persistent, it will pay off for you down the road.

Little by little, daily reminders and encouragment and purposeful parenting will grow into big rewards for them and you.


 



Raw, Uncensored Thoughts of a Mother With 10 Children

I’m an (almost) 42-year-old mom with 10 kids, including a one year old. There are days I open my eyes in the morning, stare at the ceiling, and know that people think I’m crazy even though I feel pretty normal.

And I don’t blame them.

I could have not had 10 children. It’s easy to prevent them. Even with Natural Family Planning (which we’ve used before–and it didn’t seem natural at all), once you’ve resumed your cycle from breast feeding. People think I chose to have this many children and I didn’t. Choosing not to prevent them isn’t the same as “seeing how many you can have.”

Sometimes I still get up at night with the baby. I’ve been getting up with babies for twenty years. I still can’t eat a meal without regular interruptions. Yes, some days I do just want to eat my food and that’s all. (What if meal time was just a quiet event with no noodles to scrape off the floor afterwards?)

I still have toddlers who are very needy. And wonderful. I have teenagers who are even more needy. And complicated. And also wonderful. Some days, quiet would be nice. But our house is full and bustling and always with needs.

I do, in fact, have my hands full. And I am human. I wonder sometimes what it would have been like.

And right now, in the thick of it, I think I know why birth control is such a popular invention, and so vehemently defended. Because this very full-time job of mothering is, well, very full-time.

But…

But…..

But……..

All the things in my life like being interrupted at meals or being tired of hearing “Mommy” or being tired of changing diapers or maybe just being ready to “be done” with all the busyness of motherhood–

I keep coming back to this: all those things are self-centered things that completely disregard the eternal hand of God in my family, in this, my short life. And I am called to not set my mind on things of the earth so much.

I could have chosen to be less tired. I could. I could have chosen to have more free time or a firmer tummy. I could be living a whole different life right now, with just two almost-grown children.

But it would have been what I chose. And I can make really bad choices. Instead, I have what God chose for me. And there is an indescribable amount of peace in that.

(Yes, this post is partly just a talk to myself, a reminder to this very flesh-covered woman.)

So on the days when I’m tempted to feel overworked or when I’m tempted to look at another mother with a bit of envy, I don’t have to give in to that. In fact, I can rejoice. I do rejoice.

I carried my little year-old fellow up the stairs tonight to change his diaper. His face was like staring into the face of God. I don’t always have those kinds of moments, but tonight I did. This little, sweet creature, (demanding as he can be at times) a new person half me, half my husband, all himself. A miracle. I know people who don’t have 10 kids don’t believe I can feel the same for mine as they do for theirs (I used to be that mother), or marvel anymore or feel my heart will burst in two with love, but I do.

And here’s another bit of truth: I will likely have another baby if I don’t choose to prevent one. Most people think it’s crazy to have 10, much less another one. Sometimes even I do. I mean, 10! It’s not like I need anymore children. But that’s never been the point. That’s what no one ever gets. They think I chose (or tried?) to have this number the same way they have their “perfect” number. But that’s never how it’s been.

I simply look at each of my children with more love than I can believe my heart will hold, and I know that I didn’t choose them and I’m so glad God gave them to me anyway. And I think the thought of missing one–even now–if I decided to stop for the sake of not having to endure anymore criticism, or another sleepless night, or whatever thing–breaks my heart.

Yes I am busy with this many children. But I’ve given them my life–all of me so that I don’t think any one of them feels neglected in the least way. They still tell me they hope we have another baby. So the people who say that I’m spreading myself too thin, they must be wrong.

I don’t like the idea of announcing another pregnancy because I know it seems bizarre. I even fear it. But I can’t stand the thoughts of just waking up tomorrow and saying “no” to God for the rest of my short child-bearing years. I can’t stand the thought of missing the rest of my children.

In the course of our lives, we are being spent doing something. I don’t see why being spent into the lives of my precious children is such a bad thing.

 

 



Dear Stressed Out Mama: Words For Your Life

Dear Stressed Out, Young Mama:

This is the older me telling the younger me that I see in you, that it’s all going to be OK.

But I’ve learned some things and if I could get you to take some advice from someone a few years ahead of you, I think you would find this life more enjoyable. Maybe?

1. You don’t have to iron so much, or hardly at all. If you hang clothes up out of the dryer (or off the line) most are not too wrinkled to wear. There are the occasional pieces that will need ironed for church or other nice events, but for most things, non-ironed clothes will suffice, especially for young children. Cherish a neat appearance without obsessing about perfection. And really, ironing is just an example of all the ways we feel pressured to be perfect. Give your best, but know that your best will vary in different seasons of life. If your best, with a house full of little people, is getting them out the door with matching shoes (or shoes at all), exhale and accept it. In a different season, your best may look…better.

2. Do not let your children scare you. If you’ve already poured a drink in the pink sippy cup but “GREEN IS HER FAVORITE!” please do not change the cup. Yes, it’s a small thing. Which is exactly why you don’t need to give her the green cup. (Example from the Nanny, Emma) But really, it’s a big thing. The giving in. To love her, truly, she needs to know you’re in control, for her good, and  your strength will be a boon to her development.

3. Do not let other people scare you. One of the greatest forces in our lives is the fear of others, or what the Bible calls, “the fear of man.” Fight it. It will hinder you, impose on your decisions, and ultimately could cause you to live a completely different life than you might have chosen otherwise. Fear causes us to be ruled by the expectations of others and it’s an exhausting place to be. Remind yourself that you must answer to God. Fear Him. Live for Him. And rest in His easy yoke.

4. Savor the differences in your children, let them grow, and do NOT put them in a mold because that’s not where people belong. Push them to be their best but don’t stifle what they’re really good at, or expect them to thrive at what they’re not. Your children are like a bouquet of flowers. Every one is so different and they need the sunshine of your acceptance and love to flourish. Hold them to standards of upright character, but don’t hold them to standards of performance.

5. Slow down. This. one. thing. Evaluate often what the important things in life are and refuse to be ruled by the tyranny of the urgent. Do what you have to do, no matter how drastic, to slow down and savor life. Life is a short, fleeting space of time. The people in it are what matter. If you are too busy to give them your time, your love and your attention, you’re too busy. If you’re too busy to go on long walks or sit in the grass and listen to the birds, you’re too busy. Even the demands of our home can push out valuable time with the ones we love. Figure out what is sucking up your time and make adjustments. They’re worth it and you’ll be thrilled, in the end, that you did.

And another thing: accept that there are good days and bad days. And on the bad days, remind yourself that you aren’t stuck here. Push through it and survive it. Better days are coming. Then on those days, soar. Life is about ebb and flow and change and seasons. Grasping that reality has helped me become more buoyant in the waves.



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