One of the most awful things anyone says to me is this:
“It’s great you stay home with your babies, BUT I could never be with them all the time. I would go crazy if I had to be with my kids all day. I need time for just me, and I would be so bored just with kids all day.”
I’m sure this post is going to step on some toes, but I’m writing it anyway because I am so sick of people saying this to me. Here’s what I need to say about this:
- There are parents who work outside the home to support your family because that is what is best for your family, and I think that is so commendable. It’s one thing to work because it’s what’s best, but that entirely different than just “needing” to not be with your kids.
- Why do we have children if we don’t want to be with them? Again, working as a means to support your family is different than having as escape hatch built in your life so you don’t have to deal with your kids. Kids aren’t an item on a check list of life accomplishments. They are people who have their own feelings and need to be loved and cherished and adored. I’ve always been around kids, and they are perceptive beyond belief and can always tell when someone does or doesn’t want them around. We should want them as more than accessories in our Christmas cards. I look at my babies and feel wonder that I was ever blessed to have them, and more than that, I see the most important mission field I will ever have.
- I do not go crazy with them because I’m not sitting on the outside being bored with them and that’s because I get in the game! I find ways to engage them. I find things we can accomplish together and enjoy. I do not think about the same things I did while I was working, but I still use my mind everyday to their benefit. People asked me all the time as I transitioned out of working outside our home if I would be bored because I was “so smart.” My intelligence did not take a dive because we made the choice that it became better for my family for me to be home. I am not brain dead now, and am still a person and not “just a stay at home mom.” This perception became clear to me during a doctor’s visit. The doctor stopped mid-interview and asked me what I did for a living. I told him I get to stay home with our children. He said, “You’re speaking in prose which is a sign of intelligence we don’t often hear. You sound educated so I figured you worked.” I replied, “I am educated. I have a BA and had a long career in banking, and I’m currently working on my Master’s degree. I choose to be at home.” He had nothing to say after that, and the nurse Chuck laughed and said, “Good for you.” The point isn’t having to prove yourself or validate your decision to others, but it’s knowing the things that make you who you are do not stop being true because you’re choosing to be at home or because it’s best for you to be working outside your home for right reasons.
- The last point is the reason I titled this post the way I did. All I hear when people say this is, “I & ME!” That’s what really upsets me most. I will be very clear here: THE MOMENT YOU BECOME A PARENT, LIFE ISNT ABOUT YOU OR YOU GETTING YOUR WAY. Especially if you are a believer in Christ, long before He called you to be a parent, He called you to this: “Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.'” Matthew 16:24. You have been called to deny yourself. It’s not about you or what you get to have or do, it is all about Christ. Either Christ is all or He isn’t and if you can only think about yourself in relation to how He calls you to minister to the blessing He gave you through your children, you have not died to yourself here. That is some of the ugliest selfishness, and the worst is that you are missing out. You are missing fully experiencing the abundant life God has for you beyond the realm of parenting.
If we can’t die to ourselves in a place that it should be so easy to, then we are missing it. It makes me angry to hear people talk about their kids this way, but I breaks my heart for them to know that’s how they feel and the joy they are missing.
This is not how God regards you. Could you imagine living your life with God regarding you with this selfishness? Would He have sent His Son & endured turning His face away to save you and me? We would be without hope at all if God’s heart for us would have been this.
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20. He gave Himself over to the full face of wrath for you, and if He could endure that for you, what are you “enduring” by seeking to find joy and not inconvenience or burden in the faces of your babies?
Now if you are having a real emotional struggle with post partum depression or anxiety or depression in general, do not hide behind lies like this as a shield. Come out from behind it and in honesty seek help and Godly counsel. Please stop buying the lies that keep you yoked to the weight of that and drowning.
I have such hope for all of us as we move toward becoming more like Christ and into the fullness of joy that He has for us. I pray that I would joyfully die to myself everyday in every way and place I’m called to.