An acquaintance of mine recently told me that staying at home with her children wasn’t for her anymore and she was looking for work. I replied with an, “oh, really” and wasn’t sure what else to say. I didn’t know if she wanted encouragement to keep up the good fight, to defend my own decisions or simply soothe her conscience, “yes, motherhood is hard, it’s not for everyone.” After this conversation, I fortuitously stumbled across this thoughtful article, A Fallacy of Motherhood by Laura Wood, which is worth a read. Here’s an excerpt:
” No other form of daily work is burdened with such unrealistic expectations and exalted assumptions as the work of motherhood, which is so sentimentalized in our feminist culture. The woman who does not enjoy the company of young children or finds the home lonely and unstructured compared to the workplace may be left thinking she is not meant to be a mother.”
At 38 weeks along my everyday activities are becoming difficult and I’m looking forward to the onset of labor. Yet there’s a peacefulness to waiting despite the discomfort. You feel so heavy, and vulnerable that you’re forced to slow down, to acknowledge the new life and reflect on its beauty and its impact even before birth. There is nothing more exciting or quietly mysterious as waiting for a new baby.
My station wagon died and my husband bought me a minivan. I should like it. I should be thankful. I should be grateful. I should know that he bought it with our family in mind and I should remember that he has my best interests at heart. I know what I should do but the flesh is weak. It is hard. It is hard to accept the gifts your husband gives you when it’s not exactly what you want. It’s hard to accept the fact that this new minivan has those self shutting doors. (I just like slamming car doors-such a satisfying feeling) I dislike a lot of things about this minivan but I am trying very hard to overcome that and accept it with love. I feel I have failed at accepting it graciously, but I’m trying. It’s easy when it’s what you’ve always wanted it’s hard when it’s not. I now see how little I am, how weak and how proud.
I am enjoying the book Fascinating Womanhood. It is extremely helpful and I have found it a bit more applicable to me than Laura Doyle’s book the Surrendered Wife (also a very helpful read) I believe that is because Helen Andelin writes a bit more about children and family life:
A family is not a democracy, where everyone casts his vote. The family is a theocracy, where the father’s word is law. In the home the presiding authority is always vested in the father, and in all home affairs and family matters, no other authority is paramount. This arrangement is not arbitrary or unfair. It’s a matter of the law and order in the Kingdom of God.
This excerpt struck me:
You may tend to claim jurisdiction over your children, since you have given them life and are in charge of their daily care. You may feel the right to determine discipline, instruction, religious affiliation, and other important things. If you clash with your husband on these matters, you may feel an inalienable right to the final say. This is not so. Although you have the sacred responsibility of motherhood, you are not their leader. Your husband is the shepherd of his flock and in full command.
Although I do not undermine my husband’s authority by disagreeing with his disciplining methods and try very hard to be a united front, I often have to fight the feeling of having an inalienable right to the final say when it comes to raising the children. This passage was rather eye opening for me. I am beginning to see many of my faults rather clearly now.