Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Myth of the American Mother

I have been thinking about something for a while now, tossing it around in my mind and mulling it over.  I keep hearing from young mothers or advice given to young mothers and couples: "You need time to yourself."  or "You need to take care of yourself" or "You need to go out together as a couple, REGULARLY."

While I understand that adult conversation is nice and that talking while your clothing is being smeared with oatmeal is not the most romantic, I just don't think I buy this whole SELF PRESERVATION idea.

Did our grandmothers, our great, great grandmothers have time to themselves?  Do the women who struggle just to get food into their children's mouths, have time to themselves?  What makes us so evolved, so special, so entitled that we HAVE to have time to ourselves?

I don't think the problem is time alone, I think the entire system is messed up.

Think of mothers in other cultures, they very often have grandparents living with them.  That provides adult conversation, help with kids, help in the house, wisdom, etc. In America we live in our little boxes with our own little family being independent from everyone and then we complain when we feel alone.

The other problem I have is the American family.  They are running about from place to place with no schedule or cohesion of family.  The idea of a mom getting out is this: ESCAPE THE CHAOS.  Not, disciple your children, get on a schedule and solve the problem of chaos. No, the answer is to escape. And escape we do. To shopping, to adulterous relationships, to the internet...

I think we also don't embrace and accept seasons of life.  If you are going to have a baby then you should not expect to sleep, at least not without some work.  If you are going to have a large family, then you should expect some noise and some adventure too! Just as we have a season of pregnancy where we are carrying a child and that time passes, we also have other seasons. We should learn to accept these seasons and draw out all that we can from them.  It won't always be pretty and it won't always be easy, sometimes we will make mistakes. It's ok. There is time to fix them and a great GOD to carry us through those mistakes.

My advice?

Put your kids to bed! If your kids are in bed consistently and regularly at an early time, they will be rested and behave better and you will have automatic time as a couple.

Put your kids on a schedule!  It doesn't have to be strict, but one that causes the house to run smoothly so that everyone can rest knowing what to expect next.

Spend time as a couple! With your kids, at meals, after the kids are in bed.  The key is not getting "out" the key is ENGAGING while you are together. Laugh, talk, share!

Find your peace in God! When your life is disciplined and scheduled, you will have time to make spiritual disciplines. There will be a set time for you to be quiet before the Lord or with the Lord and your spouse and/or kids. You will have time to go to bible studies and make the things of the Lord your priority.  Go to church picnics, go to church services, fellowship as a family.

I'm not against date nights or moms night outs. I'm against escaping problems that can be addressed. I'm against the looking to "take care of yourself" don't you know that your Father in Heaven looks after even the little sparrows and knows the number of hairs on your head?

That's just some of what is going on in my head...

The 6 at the Circus :)