Kids are not a burden.



I'm going to be so bold to say that I think there is a silent undertone... in our world... that kids are a burden. Now of course, we might not ever admit to thinking or feeling this way.. and you may in fact not feel this way at all. I just have this urgency to share today that I feel this oppression from the world... this resistance against family. This pity party on moms, like we are so stumped, stopped or hindered. It really hurts me, for our children's sake.

I get asked a lot, how do you work and do it all with your kids?  I always reply, I don't do it all.  I never want to paint the picture that I do. These are just examples of the many things I don't do, I have mentioned before I rarely answer my phone, I don't do yoga at a studio because they don't offer child care, I never get pedicures anymore and almost never go out on coffee dates {unless they are at the Jumpy place } I am not listing these things to make a martyr out of myself for all the things I sacrifice yet on the other hand I am not complaining either... I'm stating these facts as facts and facts alone, I prefer it this way. I seriously would not trade it for anything. Life has seasons, and I have lived a life full of yoga, coffee dates and endless hours in the sun on roller-skates.. I don't feel cheated. I feel full. I am in a new season now. I accept it proudly. It does not mean that I never take time for myself, it just means only the top layer of things remain, because the other not as important things don't make the cut. I look at it this way, To say yes to something great, means I must say no to other less great things.

I realize that my business might be further along if my kids were in the care of someone else... If I were heavy hitting trade shows and shops. If my daily schedule did not revolve around nap times and sweeping up Pb & J's. But I am their Mom, and I'm so humbled at this title. I can not remember my life ever being so rewarding when I had all the time in the world to myself and was perfectly groomed because of it. Ironically, I remember feeling lonely before I had a family. I was terrible at dating and even worse with managing so much free time. I love my life now. Its full and wonderful.... and crazy all at the same time. Yet, most of all, I get to be with my kids, be the greatest influence in their life... and teach them about God, work ethic, family etc. This is not something I take lightly.

 You see the thing is,  I run a business and I am a mom. I don't think this should be So surprising... I mean after all, being a mom is not something I consider a job. Its something that I incorporate into ALL areas of my life. My being a mom doesn't stop, ever. So when I am working, I am still parenting. I don't have to turn on one switch and turn the other off. I used to think I did. I used to think I could get nothing done all day with children, you see... I used think along the same thread that essentially kids are  a burden. Now of course I wince at writing that out, because I couldn't have really thought that, right?  Or at least I never realized that is what I was thinking. But thinking in even the smallest sense that my children kept me from anything in life, is attributing a burden to them. I mean, look around... we live a world of babysitting gone crazy. I'm all about date nights, wonderful. We need them! and this isn't meant to be judgemental or critical, we all need a break to collect ourselves and care for ourselves. But how about also incorporating our children into our daily life, for example, that means having parties that children are actually invited too {gasp} Yes, i said it.  If we can't enjoy our time with our children maybe we have made our children un-enjoyable. I mean, this might not be a popular statement, but I tend to not say popular things. Is it possible that we keep sweeping our kids and their disobedience under a rug of endless summer camps and day cares in hopes that one day they will grow up and soon be manageable?

I had a friend who also runs a fast paced business ask me, "Do you ever feel guilty running a business from home with your kiddos"... and I would be flat out lying to you, if I said I didn't. Because my children are at home with me, they see me working, they I'm sure at times resent the computer, or resent the thrift store.... because naturally they would rather have their mom sit down and play barbies with them. Yet, very recently I learned that entering into my kids world, didn't mean, I had to entertain them all day long, or take them expensive places. It didn't mean that I had to stare them down, or beat myself up for dragging them to the thrift store or to a photo shoot. I think after all these years, I feel this calm as a working mom. I am realizing that my parenting is more about how I interact with my children as we move through our days together. Creating a steady balance, just like real life.

So when my friend asked me if I ever feel guilty about working, I was glad to share with her that yes I did.... because I think us moms are pretty good at laying guilt trips on ourselves and other moms while we are at it. { so please if you are feeling this from me, keep reading because I assure you, that is not my aim... and I'm soooo not anti-summer camp... } What I have recently embraced is that there will be always be that mom-guilt. I feel guilty from time to time when I start coveting other peoples lives....and glamorizing what life would be like If i didn't have to bring in an income at all... but now I'm at least aware of it and call it for what it is, a glamorized day dream... and a sin.  There is a reason why not coveting made the top ten in Gods commandments, I think because he knows better than we do how destructive this type of comparison living can be.

You see, I often daydream of what it would be like to be a full time stay at home Mom, one who didn't have to work at all. I can imagine the scrap booking photos of our fun filled days, organized and filed in the most precise suburbia fashion. I daydream about having dinner hot and steamy on the table when my husband gets home from a long day...  I'm pretty sure Id have a super happy husband, and I would be pretty popular among my friends too,  because I would have a birthday and anniversary calendar and I wouldn't miss a single event without a timely card or gift.  I say all this, but I'm not really sure, if I'd be fulfilled doing this and only this.... I mean.... I love creating clothing, and I feel like I was made to do it.  I hope my kids grow up and find something they are passionate about too. In the same breath, I do feel though that it is a constant battle to make sure my priorties are in order... and that my work does not consume too much of my time.

I will say, I think our world could benefit from more stay at home moms.  But that does not mean that every stay at home mom is a better mom. There are plenty of stay at home moms that are not quite "home" at all. And by home, I mean "available". Maybe they watch daytime TV all day long, eat bon bons and are addicted to face book.... technically being home, means nothing to a child who needs to be "known".  A computer in front of our face is a computer in front of our face whether we are making an income from it or not.  My point I guess, is that it does not matter what job you keep, that is not what makes you a good mom, but rather the silence we are speaking in our actions. Are we really listening? Do we really see our children? really ...really see them ? I think if we are all being honest, we have our good days and our bad days...lets just hope more good ones than bad ones.

I think within the Moms club, comes unsolicited advice and judgment. I am not writing this blog to add to that, I also don't want to write this with authority like a mom who "has arrived"  or that I am some enlightened mom on my perch.. I am only trying to impart a little peace that I recently feel I have been given through the last seven years of parenting. I guess I am realizing that we can "try" to do all the right things and still feel like we are failing. I think that is because our children are less concerned with having a perfect mom, they just want an emotionally available one.

When I first became a Mom, pregnant with McCoy, I was so determined to be a "perfect mom", I mean I really didn't want to mess this thing up. I cloth diapered, co-slept, banned the pacifier, and treated formula and baby wipes that were laced with Propylene glycol like poison. My efforts in being perfect, made me neurotic and intolerable. I would even show up to the gym childcare with my cloth diaper and a plastic baggy expecting others to commit to my ways of doing things. I had no mercy. Well sure enough, finding out I couldn't be a perfect mom was a real blow, a real disappointment, and the efforts I spent trying to be "perfect" were exhausting for me and everyone else around me.  I once chewed my own mother out for double dipping the spoon in the baby food as she was helping me feed McCoy. Pretty perfect of me, huh? I'm really glad those days are over... I'm sure Donnie is too. I meant well, but goodness gracious.

If the war out on ourselves is not enough, there is a war out there too amongst us moms, {and the Dads are blessed to be oblivious }. I feel it, the air is thick when these moms discuss breast feeding, formula, organic food home schooling and co-sleeping. Everyone gets offended. The truth is we all feel inadequate in some way, we all maybe secretly covet with or without realizing it. We carve out what we feel is right for our kids and immediately everyone else is wrong if it does not line up with our way of thinking. I've never done well in the mom crowd.... especially if it means I have to fit into a mom box.

The Mom who stays home, might wished she could get all dressed up and spend the time amongst people her own age, have adult conversations and get a break from the chaos of disorder. The full time mom, may conversely argue she wishes she had the flexibility and time with her kids that the stay at home mom does. Quality time couldn't be more emphasized when it comes to parenting, we don't have to do GRAND things to make a memory or an impact, we can have life changing conversations on the way to grocery store. Seriously.

We may conquer things one day and feel like we majorly failed the next. Overall, I realize the most important thing regardless of how busy or not busy we are, is that our kids need to hear that silent sentence "You are not a burden".  We can unapologetically scream back to the world that resists our children. Our children are not interrupting our lives, but rather adding to our lives. We are truly blessed, blessed beyond measure. I mean, seriously think about it. We are entrusted to grow babies in our bellies... and give birth to little humans. This is a miracle. It may happen every day and has lost its allure to some, but I stare at my kids and see Donnie's nose and my smile... and I feel like balling with joy. These little people are Gods favorites, they are the future.... they are so valuable. They are truly the greatest gift from God.

So all seriousness aside, I demand more family friendly parties, kid- friendly restaurants and smiles from strangers when our three year olds throw themselves on the floor because they were denied a muffin from Starbucks. Smile, don't judge... my guess is that if you are annoyed with our child's melt down, it's been a long time since you had a three year old. or maybe you don't have children at all. Either way, I demand you smile. While this parenting thing may not be easy, its radical..... and wonderful and knocks my socks off everyday.

Hey World..... back off.... my kids are coming too!

< Shoes/ Blowfish Pura. Leggings and Tank/ Forever 21>

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate.” (Psalm 127:3-5)




3 comments:

  1. That was an awesome read and so relevant. I just had s friend {with no kids} say she is so disillusioned with everyone's negative comments about kids and parenting. I'm passing this on to her now! Thanks :)

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  2. This was such a blessing to me today. I am a stay at home mom of 3 girls under 3 and struggle with EVERYTHING you just wrote about. And yesterday was not a good day. Thanks so much for sharing!!!

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  3. Shauna!! I love it.... To "see" them, to really see them is where it's at. I share every word you've said in my own heart. I am continually saddened by the way I see other's treat their children as a burden. I feel like it is one of the strongest and most repeated points of ministry from my conversations that children are a reward, not a burden. We were given the prize when we didn't even win yet!... And yes, it is only by His grace and how He has transformed me that I can grasp this. I sat at my computer yesterday morning with such turmoil and frustration inside about this same issue and wrote a post, too. I was uncertain if it was wise to, but it just felt right at the time... I stay home with them and wonder what it would be like to have an awesome creative business like yours (funny, how that works, huh?) ;) I really do love this post, it is truth that we would all benefit from grasping.
    P.S. if them babies aint invited, we aint comin ;) we have a reputation of not being "plugged in" around here but geez! they make it hard on a family!

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