February 16, 2005

Motherhood 1.1, c.2005

I had a surprise today when I opened up hotmail to check my email. Well, not when I opened it, but when I closed it and, as I usually do, checked the news. There was an article on today's mothers.

I read it and was shocked. The basic tenet of the article is that mothers of today (who were coming of age around the time of Carter and Reagan) were basically educated to say "you can be just as good or better than the boys and you should! Girl Power! You can do anything you want, including be mothers (but what fool would do that?) and raise children and work all at the same time! Go you!" And so basically she says that women of today have this idea that they can not only raise their children, but they can also work part-time (or full-time), that their husbands can work more than full-time, and that they can still raise wonderful children, fitting everything into the schedule for the low-low price of a middle class income.


I'm sorry, but it's just not like that (as the article discovers). In the real world, you can't have everything the way you want it - and yet the author clearly mentions that it's basically the government's sole responsibility for getting the American people out of a mess that society seems to have created in the first place. In other words, you can't have your cake and a full dinner with gourmet courses and eat all of them and still leave room for dessert AND have it all be low-carb ... perhaps it's extending the metaphor a little too far, but the hyperbole is necessary to make my point.

These people think that they have a right to have the income that they want AND have so-called "wonderful children" and have the job they think they're supposed to. They don't like the idea that they might have to sacrifice something for motherhood.

I was under the assumption that perhaps it would be best if the middle class families decided not to have such easy lives filled with so much consumerism - we wouldn't buy as much stuff, consequently wouldn't have to have a place to keep it all, and suddenly fathers and mothers - yes both - could have the time to spend with their children and raise them appropriately. Instead of BUYING lots of stuff, going lots of places, and spending all your time at work, why not instead take a slight pay cut by not working so much and spend the time raising your kids.

I don't think that it's too much to ask. My parents did it - we didn't have a ton of stuff growing up, and the extra that we did have was a generous gift from my grandparents. But I don't feel particularly scarred that I didn't have a monstrous home or travel to Cancun or Grand Bahama on a cruise for vacations every year. I was fortunate that my parents cared more about me than their own comfort - they sacrificed so that I could take horn lessons, that I could be in drama at school.

It was my parents' sacrifice for me that makes me want to be a good parent to my future children, that makes me want to say "you're more important than the new computer I want" to my future son or daughter. What's more is that God has led me to be a pastor - not exactly high-income. So my kids might have to grow up playing make-believe instead of with lots of toys. Wow, they'll have to use their imagination??? I think that it'll do them more good than if they HAD all that stuff.

So there you have it - my politically incorrect idea of parenting. Seriously people - it's not the government's job to solve your problems. It's not somebody else's responsibility - it's your own. Parenting is a job for BOTH parents. I understand that today it's hard. But why is it that different from yesterday? From two centuries ago, when parenting was coupled with working a farm for your whole life? From a millennia ago, when parenting meant hoping your kids don't die in childbirth?

I'm thinkin' that you don't have it as hard as you think. Be good to your kids - sacrifice of yourself for them - they'll love you for it.

Fathers be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers
Who turn into mothers
So mothers be good to your daughters too
~John Mayer

1 comment:

Liz said...

Rock On Brother! I totally agree.