Monday, August 04, 2008

Prideful Parenting Manifesto

I spend a lot of time thinking. I would dare say that I spend more time thinking than I do talking. Many of you are already protesting such a statement, but when you consider that I think WHILE I'm talking, you can understand my reasoning.

So, what do I think about? I think about my choices in life. I think about church, and what it's supposed to be. I think about my husband. I think about poverty. I think about my friend from 3rd grade - Brian Vian - and I wonder where he is or what he's doing in life with such sing-songy name. I think about politics. I think about food. I think about my kids. I think about my kids. I think about my kids. I think about my kids.

I have had many requests to do something "bigger" with my gifts: teach at a school so I touch more lives, work for an adoption agency so I touch more lives, support moms through speaking and teaching so I touch more lives, write a book so I touch more lives, ... well, you get the point.

I think about that a lot. And you know what I realize each and every time I mull over these thoughts? I realize that the more I do to touch a larger audience, the less I'm doing to give personal touch to my children.

And then I think, "Is that bad?"

I think about how we do things in our world right now. I think about how we push children into independence so very early, instead of a lot of adult interaction along the way into adolescence. We leave our kids alone or in large groups of peers, a lot.

Last night, as the kids were playing the loudest game of Hungry-Hungry Hippo on record, my oldest was correcting my youngest. What really struck me was the fact that he used my corrective words ... my inflections ... my tone. Had I been able to see him, I would think he used my posture.

And I'm thinking, "I'm rubbing off. Just four short months, but I'm rubbing off."

I'm a constant. I won't be here with them forever. They need a lot of constant interaction and they need their mother to live out life and love right in front of them ... a lot.

Are you struggling lately with the overwhelming constant CONSTANT-NESS of your children (that's a word, by the way, in Christine's Abridged Dictionary)? Are you struggling as you wonder if you are supposed to be doing "more," because the massive impact you're making seems so small and contained some days?

The more I learn about attachment disorder, the more I realize that our society is working directly against everything that our children need the very most. Even emotionally healthy children are suffering. It's not about staying at home or working a 40 hour week or breastfeeding or fill-in-the-blank.

It's about parenting proudly. It's about making sacrifices during this season of your life, when you have these amazing little people running around and YOU have the absolute greatest influence on them. It's about being okay proud that, perhaps, you drive a minivan, or you spend your lunch hour reading Love & Logic, or you're at home fulltime or homeschooling so you're still wearing the latest fashions from 1996 because money is tight, or you have your cubicle smothered in pictures and you sing a silly song over the phone because your little one got a boo-boo at daycare, or your home's decor is - ha! "decor" - now, that's funny, or your carpet looks like it hasn't been cleaned in decades but you know you cleaned it two days ago, or your little black dress that you used to wear to dinner parties has not seen the light of day of seven years, or you have no idea what is going on in world news but you can recite every word to "The Runaway Bunny" without batting an eye.

I'm very proud to be living out this season of my life. The way the world defines "cool" ... well, most days I just can't be "cool" and be a mom. That's okay.

I'll be a mom.

Be proud with me.


AmyDe said...

Thank you so much. That is PRECISELY what I am struggling with right at this moment. The question of "more" or even "enough" runs rampant through my mind causing me to be indecisive (totally out of character) and doubtful.

Thank you for the reminder to be true to what I know is my path.

Mary Beth said...

I needed to hear this Christine, as I am in the middle of what is, to me, a tough decision. Of course, you didn't tell me exactly what I should do, which is what I would've really appreciated. Maybe I'll blog about it soon.

Anyway, thanks.

Panda-Mom said...

This is SUCH an amazing post! Thank you! I feel all the time these deep feelings, too. You rock, mamma.

Come check out PandaPop's latest on my blog. I am quite sure you'll dig it! LOL! ; )

Cheri said...

Well said, well lived. Thank you.

Candis said...

You have an extraordinary gift for encouragement. In the immortal lyrics of Ike Turner, sung by Tina Turner: "You are a Bold Soul Sister--B.S.S!" Nuff said.


Georgia said...

Yikes. God is hammering me on this point. I keep wondering what else I should/could be doing, but apparently, I need to be doing this, but doing it better. Thanks for the encouragement.

Anonymous said...

I've been struggling with this a lot too lately. Think of the exponential factor. If you devote the time and energy to raise your kids to glorify God, then they will use their lives to minister to others. It's called discipleship. And you are touching other lives (silly as it may seem to the world) through this blog. So keep up the good work! I'll be proud with you!

Christine said...

Mary Beth, trust me - you don't want me being your Holy Spirit. SCARY!


Panda-Mom, saw the pics last night when you popped up on my feed reader. He is literally GLOWING! ha!

Candis, you complimented me via Ike and Tina Turner. You made my day.

Rachel, my brain has gone in that exact same circle of thinking. I realize that I'm touching the lives of my kids who will eventually touch the lives of others. It's like using the Amway pyramid for good, instead of evil! ha!

Recovering Noah said...

LOVE this post. How did you know that I needed to hear it at exactly this very minute???

Thank you.

Leslie :-)

Rose said...

I am inspired and encouraged! Again. Thanks for sharing your heart and life with us. I am right in the depths of intense mommying with a 3.5 year old and a 5 week old preemie with breastfeeding issues. and I really WANT the breastfeeding to win!!!

Carole said...

Thank you for the encouragement for those of us in the trenches. It's so true that the "world" asks us to contribute in a more tangible way than simply mothering. And it is such a difficult task - there are days that I think it'd be much easier to be somewhere else "mattering" to lots of other people.

Also - I'm loving the 1996 clothing reference, especially since I was just caught wearing a shirt from that year. (see here)

Brenda said...

Absolutely beautiful. No higher calling than loving our children and teaching them to love. You are amazing.

RockerWife said...

AMEN! You are right in that society is trying to take away from our kids what they desperately need most. Consistent mothering - whatever it looks like. You go, girl!

blondie said...

Thanks for these words. All I can say is "wow". They were deeply needed.

Sara said...

So often we hear from society to be detatched...there is an underlying current in so many places, "work hard, long hours" "put them in daycare, they'll be fine..its good for them!" in so many ways society wants to raise our children for us so that our personal effect is lessened. You are standing up against that and saying.."no." I love that. I do. Yay mama!!

Candace Jean July 16 said...

I've been in those trenches and crawled out. Now that my kids are late 20s-30s I often think of what I "woulda coulda shoulda." The truth is, we do the best we know how at the time. We can teach and preach and show, but at some point they fall smack on their faces and it's the best lesson of all. (Doesn't hurt to let them see you fall either - and observe the "getting up" part). I have the book "Friends" by Satomi Itchikawa memorized word for word, and I haven't read it to a child for 25 years. And when my Lord-lovin' daughter says "mom, I sound exactly like you" I take it as a compliment. It's the roots and wings thing - gotta have both. THAT makes a cool mom....eventually. Savor these years, dear Christine. You're cool. I'm proud with you. And I wear my daughter's cast-off clothes - from 1996. We ROCK!

Christine said...

Leslie, because I stalk you. I don't really live in Oklahoma. I'm a creepy weird-o that rents a house across the street and watches you all day long. ;)

Rose, don't even take it a day at a time. Just take it a feeding at a time. And take care of yourself (even though, with two little ones that is tricky!!).

Carole, saw your picture. Laughed!

Sara, I've missed you! Hope all is well.

Candace, as I look back on how my siblings and I have fallen on our faces over the year, there is one common denominator - we always know where we can go when we fall! You can't keep them from screwing up (I tell my kids that all the time), but my love is unconditional - period!

Sarah said...

Thanks for this encouraging and honest post.

Currently, our son is struggling with the effects of severe allergies, which have a very real physical and emotional impact on him. (Severe allergies tend to mimic the symptoms of ADD, etc.) We are going through a homeopathic treatment that eliminates allergies, but it's a slow and sometimes tedious process. (I know full well, because I've been going through the same treatments for over a year.)

In the meantime, I have a sweet 4 year old who is constantly tired and cranky and I never know when he's going to have an emotional meltdown. (He wasn't like this until his allergies went haywire.) I feel like I have very few breaks during the day, as he is now very clingy. But I know he needs me and I know that it's essential right now for me, as his mother, to help him through this difficult time. This post of yours is a boost of encouragement to embrace this season I'm in right now, though it's much easier said than done! So anyway...thanks!

lana said...

Ok, thanks once again for following your heart and in turn speaking to mine. I've too many things spinning in my head to put them all down, just know...this hits home.
Love you!

Owlhaven said...

Great post! It dovetails with mine from this morning. Thanks so much for sharing!

Mary, mom to 10

angie said...

I'm proud Christine! And so thankful. The "season" goes by so quickly.

crispy said...

Fantastic post. I am thrilled to be the Mom that God allows me to be.

Kim said...

I love you, Christine! Thank you for reminding me why my husband and I have decided for me to stay home with our kids. =)

Oh - and I made your deodorant the other day - LOVE IT!!!

jugglingpaynes said...

This is a wonderful article! You are an incredible mom! Still laughing over "he used my corrective tone." That happens around here too!

Andi said...

Thanks for writing this. I have to remind myself every day that being with my son is bigger & more important than any other "job" I could be doing. I really needed to read this today.

TheMFamily said...

I also want to thank your for this. I think a lot too. Think about all those things. 'What about my talents and abilities that aren't touching more lives?' When in fact they do. They touch the most important lives I know. Who better to be the receiver of my talents than my own children? When I think I am just not doing 'enough', I do need to remember that my children are always 'enough' to me.

christinemm said...

Great post.

I am happy in this season of my life too. It is not always easy, active parenting is hard.

I just got home from an eight day vacation with my two kids, our foreign exchange student, my husband and his mother. I am very much feeling the 'constant-ness' and now need a vacation from that vacation. Yes, I have good memories from this trip. But being "on" all the time is hard sometimes.

I am not embarrassed to drive a minivan either.

If you want some reading about how our society is living doing everything to promote attachment disorder there is a new book out that you would love called Ships Without a Shore. I did a long book review here. You can read my book review here.

I linked through from the Carnival of HOmeschooling.

Have a great night.