Home-Centered, Musings

Staying at home.

Sometimes I feel like a lot of people want me to get rid of my kids.  Can’t you get a babysitter?  Don’t you want to put them in the nursery?  Can’t you leave them with your mom?  Let’s have a mom’s night out.  I should add–I don’t mean my husband.  He’s mostly like me; rather bring them with us than get rid of them.
Our next-door neighbor was telling me a few weeks ago that they tried to go on their “honeymoon” (which they hadn’t had after their wedding) after their children were born, and they made it exactly one day before driving all the way back home to get their kids because they realized they’d rather have them along.  I love that.
It’s one of the things that I like about midwife-assisted birth.  Our kids come to all the appointments with me, and that’s the way everyone involved seems to think it should be.  They talk to them and include them and even have a room full of toys for them to play with.  They recognize the family structure and that birth is a family event.
But so many people just don’t “get” the fact that I’m a mom, a mom to young children, and with very few carefully measured exceptions, I feel very strongly that my place is where my children are.  It’s the same principle that makes me find daycare such a repulsive option–our kids are our responsibility, and delegating that responsibility to someone else on a regular basis just doesn’t jive with me, whether it’s for daycare or a weekly “night out” with my husband or a weekly “mom’s night” with other women.  I mean, really, consider the idea that a full seventh of the time, Mommy isn’t home for dinner and baths and bedtime.  That’s an enormous shifting”“shirking, I dare say”“of responsibility.  Especially with children as young as ours.
So, no, I’m not going to find a babysitter so I can have a night out with the girls or even a regular date night with my husband.  My husband is the best babysitter there is, but he isn’t me.  Our responsibilities in this role are not equal; daddies can’t stand in for mommies any more than mommies can stand in for daddies.  God gave our children a mother.  I’m not going to make plans to regularly abandon my primary mission field, or to throw my babies’ schedules into flux.  I don’t “need” a break.  Sometimes I need to have my perspective fixed; sometimes I confuse selfishness with necessity.  But this is my job, my calling–and it doesn’t stop just so I can have some social time.
I love it, most deliriously, when people understand that kids don’t wreck things.  I love going to a church where the kids are in the service.  One time we were visiting a church–a church much too small to afford a nursery–and the pastor remarked that once they had to sit in church with a baby screaming every Sunday through the whole service for a few months straight, because there wasn’t anything else to do and that it was fine.  That it was church, and that they wanted the parents to be able to come, and that they learned to cope with the distraction–they got over it.  This was the explanation I got after apologizing that our two month old had been a (tiny) bit noisy in the morning’s service, and it blew me away.  I would love a “Mom’s Retreat” that welcomed moms with nursing infants and toddlers.  I really, really, appreciate anything at all that gives me fellowship and socialization with other people without expecting me to dump my kids in someone else’s lap.
Because, well–I like my kids.

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2 thoughts on “Staying at home.

  1. Julie, I know what you mean, and in fact wrote a similar post last month 🙂 I mean I do miss alone time with my husband sometimes, and I thank God that my mom lives close enough to help me with Lorelei when I get overwhelmed, but I feel awful leaving her at any time. My mom has had to come help me with her over the past few weeks because I need to work a little part-time, and some days it kills me! I would so much rather be snuggling my girl and interacting with her than working, but this job is what keeps me home with her rather than working outside the home. It occurred to me that because L won't take a bottle, I have never been apart from her for more than four hours, and have never slept a night apart from her (though we are working on that one.) Some may think it is unhealthy or inconvenient, but I think it is such a blessing and privelege! I am the number one person who God has entrusted this life to, and I would not want to give up that gift to anyone else!
    I need to give you this essay I read by Carolyn Mahaney; it is about how being a mother and housewife is a beautiful and important job and we should never feel otherwise. I think you would like it a lot and it really encouraged me having just come from "the corporate world."

  2. You bless me so much to hear you say at the end "I really, really, appreciate anything at all that gives me fellowship and socialization with other people without expecting me to dump my kids in someone else’s lap.Because, well—I like my kids". I am a mother of 7 and 3 are married now and let me tell you, you have only a short time with those wee ones so don't let anyone ROB you of this blessing, the blessing of BEING with your darlings. Hugs*

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