Sunday, November 26, 2006

What Kind of Mother?

Amy posted this article about not being the mother she imagined. Funny, because I've been thinking this weekend of things I'll teach my children. For example, I want my children to learn some sort of musical instrument. Musicians are just so much more well-rounded and intelligent. (I can say that because I only tinker; I'm not a musician - yet!) Also my children will have large vocabularies from reading and hearing read books of excellent quality (even and especially those books above their "level"). Incessant interruptions while I'm talking won't be tolerated. Neither do I intend to interrupt them.

They will hear me pray and apologize. I'll homeschool them. They'll probably have a different sort of education, as I don't like homework and, well, see the futility of certain things. I intend to let them know to the best of my ability why they learn the things they do. One of my favorite subjects is rhetoric (all the communication disciplines). As Christians, that is so important in sharing our faith and teaching and even being taught. We will do chores together as much as possible. They will know how to sit and be quiet for periods of time. Our home will be one, though, of lots of fun and freedom.

I know it's crazy, but I was telling a friend after watching Newsies that I wish my kids could dance on tables. Why not? The table might break. Fix it. Better yet, get a sturdier table. Their arm might break. That heals too. They can be careful. Shhh! When I babysit I have that philosophy, too. If they won't be seriously hurt (which with other people's kids would include broken bones), I usually let them. What does an extra cookie hurt? So what if we have a newspaper war? That you can clean up, and we certainly have the energy!

Being the oldest of six kids, I feel I have few illusions. Kids will argue. They'll ask questions. Accidents happen, following Murphy's Law, at the most inconvenient times. Disappointment comes. Love hurts. Love also never fails. Perfect love casts out fear. I've been around enough new parents to understand that babies and kids are hard work, steal sleep, and are huge challenges to refine selfishness away. However I also believe that is a work for which I was created, and God will supply the strength I will need. Honestly when I envision motherhood, the difficulties are some of the dearest images.

Do I care what my kids wear? Hopefully the girls will wear dresses. None of the kids will wear stripes until they're in junior high. Sound weird? Look at your old photos. Did you ever look good in stripes as a kid? Should they smell of ivory soap? I don't care. If the whole church thinks my kids are warrens*, and I have a clear conscience before God, that's that. If the church thinks my kids are angels, I'll probably be failing in hospitality. Something changes when you see life at home.

Here is the one thing I'm probably too idealistic about: I expect other women to be around to share my days. Letters, phone calls, lunches, emails, church, prayer, Bible study, mentoring - I picture these as integral parts of the job. Yet experience has taught me that precious few people in a given location have the same priorities as I have. They're busy. They think they have to go it alone. For some reason having a spotless kitchen floor means more than talking to a friend. Amy quotes a woman named Mel on this subject. No, friends do not drop by on a regular basis with fresh pumpkin bread to sip coffee.

Which brings up a question. Why not? The foremost answer is I'm not doing any of those things now. My example is important. I can't expect others to provide what I won't. How can I bless mothers I know? And if I am going to have all these high ideals, don't you think I'd better be training now?

To God be all glory.
* please click on link to take you to the following post (this could take a while)


Dr. Paleo Ph.D. said...

Hmm...interesting...I hope that it all goes well!

Lisa of Longbourn said...

In reference to my question, Why not? in the post, I ran across Amy's article asking a similar question: "Is it OK?" She insists, mothers weren't meant to do it alone. See her article here:

To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn