Thursday, January 26, 2012

Controversy!

Not really that controversial, really.

Last week it seemed like everyone I knew liked this article about Motherhood.  Because so many people loved it, I know it really struck a chord-and I don't want to say that it was a bad article, or that people who liked it are bad and wrong.  And it could well be that I read it in a certain kind of mood and that is the problem.  I just have another idea-which can probably coexist.  

I liked the part at the end about Chronos time and Kairos time ( A LOT!), but I have some different thoughts about the rest of it. Not better thoughts.  Just different ones.

What if, when people who are older stop us in the store and tell us to enjoy every minute (which has never happened to me, by the way-am I scary looking?), what if it's not that they have forgotten how hard it is, but that they actually KNOW, better than we do, that this IS the best time of our life?  I hate to discount the wisdom of age, especially when it's a stranger, seeking me out, to tell me something wonderful.  I'd rather believe they know what they're talking about.

"Be happy, it's one way of being wise." -- Colette

And even though an all night puke fest is no picnic-what a gift of service, what a blessing of work. And maybe I can try to choose joy, and keep choosing it.  And when things are awful and terrible and icky and hard to bear, I can offer all of that up to heaven.

"The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions, and not on our circumstances.  We carry the seeds of one or the other about with us in our minds wherever we go."  --Martha Washington

Please don't think I do this well!  or often! (And feel free to smugly remind me of this when I stub my toe or spend any amount of time on the phone with customer service). It's just something I think about.  And then I read this article--maybe the problem is that we don't have ENOUGH children!  ;D

***EDIT***  Here's a post that has the same idea, but presented eloquently.  Via Clover Lane, one of my new favorites.  Thanks, Sarah, for the tip!

10 comments:

Melanie said...

Good thoughts! I think the first article was written in kind of an annoying tone, rubbed me a little wrong too. She did have some good points about time. You're right, it doesn't seem like she's choosing joy in the moment. And it IS hard, but how are we going to respond? Anyway, I'm rambling. I read a neat book called the Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson this month that helped my perspective. :)

dbilberry said...

I think it just depends on the person. I can't imagine my mother stopping young mothers and saying those things. She is not a baby person. For her, the best part of being a parent has been when we became old enough to become friends with her children. I think she would give the wisdom that parenting gets even better as the child ages and to hang in there.

betsyann said...

Found a beautiful post that says the same thing-but beautifully-I put a new link in the post.

Thanks for your thoughts, girls!

Jenny said...

I think the little old ladies don't offer commentary on parenting to you because your kids aren't creating mayhem and acting like wild animals in the store, resulting in a facial expression or tone of voice from you that indicates you have forgotten to treasure parenting. I think you must look like you don't need the reminder. This is a good thing! I have received remarks from strangers more times than I can remember.

I think it can be good to be reminded that these are precious years, that we will look back on them as some of the best moments of life. I think the reason the article resonated with so many people is the feeling of judgment that the little old ladies' comments represent; judgement that if we aren't enjoying every second (or at the very least keeping a positive attitude), then there is something seriously wrong.

Personally, I wish that if the little old ladies are going to say anything, that they would be more specific. Remind me specific reasons the sacrifice of parenting is worth it. I actually say to Heath frequently, please remind me again why it's a good thing to have kids? Sometimes it seems like it is all just hard work, stress, tension, and sacrifice. There are certainly those Kairos moments, like she describes in the article, and they are wonderful... but seem to occur so much less frequently now than when the boys were younger. I used to have brief periods of time when I would lose my vision for parenting, but I was always able to come back to it in a short time. Over the last few years, it's gotten harder and harder to retrieve it. Don't get me wrong, I love my kids deeply, and I am deeply committed to their well-being. I just don't like parenting as much as I used to, as much as I thought I always would.

Jenny said...

I think my first paragraph sounds confrontational when I meant it to be complimentary, but I can't figure out how to rework it, so please understand I don't mean to sound that way. :-)

In the Mix said...

I like the original article but like all articles there is inevitably something that isn't exactly how I feel. What I like about the article is this idea that somehow, mothering has to look like all the mothering/craft/kid pictures on Pinterest and if you aren't planning/doing/crafting/grabbing every last second of every last day then you are somehow failing. That's what I took from the article. It could be where I am right now as a mother or how I read the article. It could be that my almost 6 year sleep deprived mind has difficulty functioning like it used to. I wouldn't liken parenting to climbing Mt. Everest but I say that it is indeed one of the hardest things I will ever do in my life. Totally worth it but not without difficulty.
I like the second blog post you linked to. She did a good job of gently relaying her thoughts on the original article on Huffington Post.
I'm not sure I agree with the prospect that this is in fact the best time of our lives. I hope that my life continues to get better and better. I hope my life with my Lord continues to grow and change me as a person. I hope the best time in my life is when I die and I don't have to live in this broken and ever decaying crap of an earth. I hope the best time in my life is that day when I get to be with Jesus.
Beyond that hope, I hope to seize the time I have with my children and embrace every single stage I go through with them. I don't see a point in regretting things gone by. Love my babies, smell their heads, kiss my dirty little 5 year old boys, and when it comes, embrace the sass of teenage years and all that comes with having adult children. But, regret. No. Not for me.
As for the little old ladies. I tell them thank you and then often ask if they'd like a little taste of that joy again. My children are available occasionally. :)

betsyann said...

Jenny-didn't read confrontational at all. I was thinking this morning that probably people did say those things, but I just don't remember it. There's a lot I don't notice in my life.

Sarah-I'm with you- no regret. Not going to bother with it. Complete waste of energy.

jmlo said...

Betsy--thanks for this post. I finally read the "controversial" article and now the linked to articles. I almost feel motivated enough to put away the laundry and dishes....

Momma M said...

Thank you, Betsy, for your response and for the other blog link. It's nice as an older lady to feel a part of the cheerleading team rather than on the outside, always putting foot in mouth. As feeble as onlookers' comments are, it is an appeal to "hang in there" and enjoy the "sacredness of the moment." Love it.

Anonymous said...

I didn't read everything, but I miss the cleaning up poop, vomiting in the car and the "terrible twos"!!!! And I can see me stopping some distraught mother and telling her to enjoy the climb---malh
P.S. if babies are Mt. Everest, WHAT are teenagers? Maybe Mt. Everest without the Oxygen?