Saturday, March 03, 2007

A Mom By Any Other Name

I used to have this neighbor, we'll call her Julie, who, despite my best attempts, never became a close friend. Actually, she never really became a friend at all. We just never "hit it off".

Sister was about two months old and Julie had just had her first child, a daughter also. I had invited her over to get her out of the house a little and chat. She was wrestling with the decision to go back to work or stay home with her newborn.

Now, I'm no dummy. I know this issue is a very hot topic among women. And though I sincerely believed no good mother would ever leave her child to pursue a career, I certainly didn't say that to her.

I mean, she might be condemned to hell and her children would grow up to mindless, broken heathens if she went back to work, but who was I to say?

Anyway, Julie was voicing her concerns and kind of working it out there with me and finally said, "I don't think I can stay home. I mean, I'm just a busy person and I think I would be bored."

I wanted to kick her condescending butt right then and there, and perhaps that was the deathknell for mine and Julie's relationship. Seriously, what made her think I wasn't busy? The messy house? The zombie-like expression I was wearing? My inability to shower or wear makeup? Who wouldn't want that kind of lifestyle?

Julie did return to work, and they were able to build a brand new house in a much nicer neighborhood.

You see, I became a mom and I was consumed. I was going to be the best mom EVER, and for a little while, until reality took me down a notch or two, I believed I was. I was told that staying home with your children was absolutely best, even preferred by God, so there was never a question for me. My son was 9 months old before I ever left his side, and it was another year before I left him again. This was much the same with my girls. I was a good mom and good moms don't leave their children.

But something strange happened. I started feeling frustrated, inadequte, and unhappy. And dare I say, unfulfilled? But how could that be? I was a good mom. I loved my children more than life itself. And I loved taking care of them. What was wrong with me?

I had drowned.

All of a sudden I had to face the fact that I was one of those moms I had condemned. I wasn't completely happy just being a mom. I wanted more.

Some women have but one desire, and that is to be home all day long being domestic and nurturing. I applaud them. And there are certainly days I revel in my own mom-ness. But it's okay if I want to have some time to explore who am besides that, because I wasn't always a mom, and one day my little ones will fly free. It's perfectly fine if I take two days out of seven to nurture myself and learn new things because I want my own children to do the same. They should know education doesn't have to stop when you're 22.

Furthermore, when did God say, "Thou must stayest at home with thy child every minute of every day"? And I often wonder, did the Proverbs 31 woman - the original Supermom - stay home all the time? Sounds to me like she had other interests, and ten to one she left the house now and then to attend to them.

Stay at home. Go to work. Do whatever it is you've got to do. The truth is, no matter what we do we will raise broken heathen children, because we are broken heathens, too. It is what we do with the time we are given, be it after school, on the weekends or in the dead of night, that allows for the grace to function within that brokeness.

Here's to every mom out there who is busting her butt to be the best she can be and botching it right and left. Here's to pizza delivery and unshaven legs.

Screw perfection. Let's just shoot for clean underwear.

42 comments:

Rocks In My Dryer said...

Standing and clapping!

Stacey said...

Ha, ha, ha!! Yes! You have hit the nail on the head!! Great post!

C D said...

YEAH!!

Whatever the question, the answer is love.

Great Post

jjofar said...

you rock!! i love you! sept. 22 was one of the last times i blogged...struggles of the same! cracks me up to go back and read it! after not working for 8 mo. then going back...yikes! praise God!! wouldn't change a thing. moms of the world, unite in tangled leg hair :) yuck!

Heth said...

Oh my GOSH! I totally want to paint that last line on a plaque and hang it on my wall. LOVE IT!

jesprincess said...

That was amazing Supermom. Well said!

Michelle said...

a most excellent post!

yerdoingitwrong said...

SUCH an awesome post. And one I particularly needed to read this week. Thanks, girl!

Anonymous said...

i will always reserve the right to speak for my wife. i am a man who is freely comfortable in defending his home and all its inhabitants.

but its not neccessary. the hot chick who bore my kids and tolerates me needs no help at all!

well, spoken babe!

..............hubby of supermom

Krissy said...

What a great post!! Thank you so much for writing this. That is why I am a web designer at home - mostly "stay at home mom" but also a bit of Prov. 31 by making some money for the family. I am also an aspiring writer for when all the kiddos are in school. God has plans for me, too, beyond this family. How can I tell them to "Go and Serve" and "Find what God wants for you" if I don't do that for myself! Your hubby rocks!! :)

Finelly said...

That was great! I am laughing and crying at the same time.
LOVED. IT.

Andrea said...

AMEN! Great post! Thanks! :)

Lisa B @ simply His said...

I humbly bow to you, Supermom.

I had the perfect pregnancy (no sickness, gained 68 pounds -- didn't care, felt absolutely awesome!). I just knew that God was going to continue to bless me -- natural delivery (all the cool moms do it), breastfeeding (because you are such a horrible mom if you bottle-feed), and staying at home raising the perfect kid.

ROFLMBBO! (Rolling on floor laughing my big butt off!)

So, after a c-section, problems breastfeeding, and 6-weeks of being at home with my lovely daughter whom I never, ever left alone -- I couldn't wait to get back into the work world.

Things sure have changed now for me, but I'm so totally with you. Let women make the choices they feel God's leading them to make. It may not be the ones you'd make, but God has a plan for each and every one of us individually!

I'm raising my cold can of Coke in the air to cheer you on Supermom! Continue on the quest! And come over here for leftover pizza tomorrow :D

Lisa B.

jessica said...

AMEN! I have struggled long and hard with this whole issue... and lost many a friend over the fact that I could not be a stay at home mom. Now my friends and I joke that no matter what we will screw our kids up... stay home... work... whatever... in the end it really is all about grace!

The Flip Flop Mamma! said...

This topic has been coming up a lot around me lately. Friends who aren't happy being at home, that don't feel complete. While I don't condemn them..and I am fine with whatever you choose for your family...I think I am where you were. I just can't fathom why a woman wouldn't want to be at home with her children. and maybe I do look down on them subconsciously, who knows. I have only been a sahm for a little over a year, so maybe someday I'll wake up and feel unfullfilled as well, I don't see that at this point, but who knows.

This was a really great post!! And es, my house is a mess, and my legs aren't shaved. LOL

habulous said...

Fabulous post. Please note for the record that I have achieved clean underwear today. Lovely.

Toes in the sand said...

Here via finelly ... great post!

FARMERS WIFE said...

Shouting, Here, Here!!! With a standing O :)

Patty said...

Is this step 1 of a 12-step program? Do you now have to go apologize to "Julie"?

Good for you for being able to see both sides. Wish I could see both sides on issues I feel so righteous about.

Jessica said...

That was great! I came over from Desperately Seeking Sanity and I'll be back! Preach it sister!

Anonymous said...

I'm sad that you don't feel fulfilled and complete in the calling that the Lord has given you. I can understand tired and frustrated at times, but incomplete?

I'm sad that the feminist agenda that I thought was becoming passe has raised it's [ugly] head again with professing christians...sigh

SuperMom said...

So, a woman's only calling in life is that of a mother?

Interesting...

I don't buy it. That right there is another blog in itself.

I'd love to hear why you (Anonymous) think that.

SuperMom said...

My dear Anonymous friend,
I've been thinking of your comment all night and feel I must give a more thoughtful response.

I think you hear me saying that having children left me incomplete. Not the case. I love being a mom and have never had regrets about that. It is why I am home with my children five days a week. It is why I homeschool them. I love them and love being with them. I think anyone who has read this blog for any length of time or knows me personally will vouch for that. I am not encouraging women to abandon their children in pursuit of their own interests. But I also do not believe the other extreme of building my entire universe around them is healthy, either. And that is what made me feel incomplete...not having any other outlets.

It's a good thing for a mother to have contact with the outside world.

And let's face it, there are millions of moms out there made to feel guilty because they HAVE to work to help support their families when they would love to be home.

Condemning a woman for working and/or leaving her children for whatever reason and calling yourself Christian really does nothing to further the kingdom. It makes you seem narrow minded and judgemental and drives people further away.

It's okay. I was were you are at one time, too. I understand why you think what you do. But luckily, I've been able to talk to people outside my "bubble" and read books that aren't in the church library and get a broader understanding of "feminism". Be careful calling it "ugly". If it weren't for feminists, you wouldn't have the right to vote, own land or even post on this ridiculous blog. You'd be home, in the kitchen, where all good women belong.

SuperMom said...

And by the way, on the two days I leave for school, my children are home with their father, my fabulous husband, who has yet to learn how to unload the dishwasher, but is an off-the-charts, kick-butt dad.

h b said...

oh no she di'int!!

Anonymous said...

I appreciated your response. I was not expecting one, but...and BTW, I am "anonymous" because I am not as familiar with how to post with an "identity", it is not because I want to be undercover.

First of all, I was not condemning you, personally. We all have to do what we have to do. But, as I read your "desperate housewife" theme, and read how you have done a 180 in your beliefs, I wonder why.

I think that it is sad how many churches have abandoned (in many cases) being the world changers and allowed the world to change them instead. We have become adaptable and accepting to the point of being not only "in it" but "of it" as well. In many cases, we are no different from them. We have become broad minded and "emerging" to our own detriment. To be called narrow-minded and judgemental (tho I call the word discerning instead)is considered a HUGE compliment for me and I am happy to stick with that label (Matt 7:13-14).

I believe that the feminists have done so much more to damage our society than bring good to it. There is a little bit of truth in lots of things, and I am not one to go to one extreme or another. I don't live in a "bubble" either. I have outlets and need them. I read. I am active within my covenant body of believers (my church). I EVEN have un-believing friends. But I am proudly not indulging myself in a career (and I am not saying that you are) and what ever it may be to center on myself at this time because right now, the Lord has blessed me with small children that need my attention a majority of the time. I am raising them to be world changers for the Lord. Some women are in a position of "have to" work, and, of course, that is a whole nother subject.

So yes, I still do get out occasionally. But only when my dh does let me out of my cage from time to time...LOL!

Julie Luse said...

Wow! I love it! Is that like your best blog ever or do you write like that all the time? I came here by way of "Between Diapers and Dishes" and thanks for writing "A Mom By Any Other Nature" I am a stay at home mom of a 11 month old and I gave up a career in journalism for it. I've been thinking for blogging for a long time about the struggle moms face in this culture. I love being a mom and cannot ever see myself leaving my kids till they are gone and I have nothing else to do (by way of schooling or empty nest, I dunno know). But we moms, we need inspiration, we need things that make us feel super and sometimes the home and the kids has limitations. Thanks for exploring this topic.
I'll stop back, be sure!
Julie :)

Deena said...

**applause** That was wonderful! Just lately I have felt like I'm mom, wife, church member, and employee...but I was a woman before all of that came about, and sometimes, I just want to be...Me.
By being me, uncovering my gifts and talents, and by feeding my soul in ways that honor God, I am a BETTER mom, wife, church member and employee...
The only One I want to be chained to is Jesus...the only identity I truly care about is who I am in Him.
Those who are critical of women who need more need to read Proverbs 31 more carefully...that was more than a mom...that was a woman of God...and she was honored for it...
And yes, we have to watch for worldly wisdom creeping up on us, but for pete's sake, God gives us a lot more room than we give ourselves.....
**climbs down off of her soapbox, picks it up, and slinks away**
Love it!

SuperMom said...

Have I done a 180 in my beliefs? I don't think so. Perhaps a 90 degree angle.

I think it's wonderful to stay home with your kids. I will probably always think that. But I am speaking from experience that that being with them 24/7 is not good...for anyone, including the kids. I also believe some fit the mold better than others, and it is not a God-ordained law that every mom do it. I think we are all in this together and to sit back and condemn someone for choosing differently...no matter WHAT you think or believe...serves no good purpose. I have many friends who work and have children and consider them fabulous parents and dare I say, "spiritual mentors".

Personally, I think it is sad how many churches talk about being "world changers" and never venture outside their small group gathering. I think it is sad that church people will point their fingers and quote scripture without ever seeking relationship with the world, treating it like the plague, like they might get dirty. I think it is sad that church in general has done more to isolate and alientate the very world they are trying to reach and "change" it, instead of love it, allowing God to do the changing. I think it is sad we think we have that kind of power.

Anonymous said...

Supermom, I was not condemning you, personally, (let me say that again)...I think you misunderstood 70% of what I was trying to say. I never said that a 24/7 experience was preferable, did I? I was not condemning anybody personally--just stating my opinion. Isn't that what you blog for? To get feedback whether in positive agreement or the opposite. I thought I would just balance out your responses a little. But I AM rejecting the post modern direction that the church is going into these days, this is true. So, I'll just keep praying for the church and wishing you a happy day.

SuperMom said...

I apologize for being so vehement, Anonymous. Sometimes I let my head and heart overrun my mouth.

2boysmama said...

Post modern direction of the church. Now THAT is a whole other discussion, isn't it?

It sounds like you are condemning the "post -modern" and "emerging" church, but do you really know what they stand for? That is an honest question, not an accusation.

As long as you stick to the gospel does it matter how it is transmitted?

Wendy said...

Amazing post, love your blog! Keep it up, even though it got a little firey in here!! WOW! Turn down the heat, huh? LOved what you said! Checking in soon!!

Andreia said...

SuperMom

You should not apologize for the ideas planted here. It always amazes me when people decide that it is God's plan for a woman to be home with kids and for that to be her sole life work, and that is the only thing he would want for her. They are so sure that is the only plan God has for every woman!

I feel confident that God has called me to work; to provide for my family including my aging parents. Anyway, kudos to you SuperMom! You've come a long way since I started reading you!

BTW, I just got accepted into law school! Yippee!

Sprittibee said...

I so love this. Where have you been all my blogging life? I feel so much better after cramming a hotdog down my mouth tonight and feeding my daughter Ramen Noodle Soup.

Thanks for the grin. I love your template, by the way. I'm nominating you for Best Design on the Homeschool Blog Awards. ;)

I read your post about giving up the baby clothes, too. I have two dresses in my 8 year old daughter's closet that you couldn't PRY FROM MY COLD DEAD FINGERS WITH A PICK-AXE. ;) Go ahead. Try me.

Anonymous said...

love yr bloggie!!!!!
yayy!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi! I am from St magarets secondary school and am doing research on supermums. I would luv to find out more from you. Maybe you can just reply here. Pls and Thank you!!!

juzzme said...

Hello! I am a student of St. Margaret's Secondary in Singapore and I am doing a project on Supermoms. I would love to find out more about supermoms from you. If you are willing to help, could you please email me at ja9_lifeanddeath@hotmail.com and tell me more about supermoms. Thank you very much!

Stmarg's_elzaloohn said...

Hi...let's face it shall we, St Marg's girls are almost all doing this project. But I must say that being a mom is NOT easy. I torment my mum so much it's a wonder why she still has a full head of black hair. I'm glad my mum has acheived a great family life and I lurb her so much. All children do too. So her's cheers to all you mums out ther, carry on doing ur thing!:)

Anonymous said...

I really liked what u wrote.By the way,i am Abonti from St. Margaret's Secondary School in Singapore.I was wondering if u could help me by answering these questions:"super mom"'s roles as working adults and mothers;what motivates them and keeps them going;their struggles.I would appreciate your kindness and be grateful to you if you could help me with the following too:defination of "super mom";activities that supermoms are typically involved in;some of their qualities/characteristics and lastly their common struggles.I am extremely sorry for the inconvenience caused.I hope you will sacrifice a bit of your time to help me with my project by answering my questions.You can mail me at abonti@hotmail.com .Thanks a million!!!

Devi said...

you totally rock!!!!!!!!i am currently giving you a standing ovation....u go girl!!!!!!!!!!!!!

devi said...

still clapping!!!!!!