Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Non-Mom's Thoughts on Moms

My sister and her kids

I know this is primarily a running blog, but occasionally I use it for other things.  Running is a big part of my life, but there are lots of other big parts.  One big part is that I'd like to be a mom some day.  I'm leaving this up to God (or trying to) and if I'll be a good one and it fits in with His plan, so be it.  If it does not fit into His plan for me, it may be disappointing but I'll do whatever He does have planned.

That said, I find it interesting, somewhat annoying and discouraging to see all the negative mom posts on Facebook and to even hear them in conversation.  Especially those who I know to be Christians.  No, I don't expect Christians to be perfect simply because they believe in God, but I do expect them to know better at times. 

I have heard it said again and again in marriage seminars and classes of all sorts that spouses should not talk badly about one another in public or even to their friends.  Now, I think women need other women and talking about the struggles we face in marriage should be used to encourage and build up our fellow wives.  But there is a difference in discussing struggles and husband bashing.  Just like there is a difference in discussing hard days with a child and discipline, and child bashing. 

I would also like to remind these ever-complaining mothers that (most of them) CHOSE to have kids.  Many of them cried, whined, gnashed their teeth and spent every day longing for these unborn children.  And then, when they got them... the whining continues...? 

I'm certainly not saying it is cake.  I'm fully aware that parenting is one of the most challenging and important tasks a person can undertake. I don't approach it lightly.  In fact, it is sort of impressive that I'm approaching it at all given my previous inclinations (or lack thereof) toward parenthood.  I am aware of the sleepless months and years, the worry, the sickness, the awful presents left in diapers day after day, and that with each new year of age comes brand new challenges, fears, questions and doubt.

But come on.  There are women still longing to be moms.  There are women contemplating it.  And there are those like me who freak out just a little (or a lot) at the thought of it while thinking it might be an adventure on which they'd like to embark anyway!  And while I know it is not easy and that is an understatement, should moms (especially Christian ones) not be aware of these other women and temper their words (and whining) just a tad?

Mom and Daughter - shaving cream fight at camp

My sister is a mom and I have been with her every step of the way.  I have witnessed it ALL from the head poking through (both times), to every stage up to their current ages of 9 and 6.  Watching Julie do it all these years is what has made me see how wonderful it can be and to decide I'd like to do it too.  She is the absolute BEST mother I have ever known and I think she should teach seminars on the subject.  If I am HALF the mom she is...I'll be a good one.  I run with mothers close to my age and I listen to their joys, funny stories and some struggles too.  So I get the picture. 

It isn't just the negative comments that get to me but the ones where the kids get to decide things.  The three year old has more of a say than the 33 year old mother.  How does that work, exactly?  The siblings fight and that is just what they are doing?  When my sister and I fought, there were consequences.  I think those consequences we faced when we were young are the very reasons we are best friends today.  Fighting with my sister was not allowed.  Period.  And she is my hero today.  As for the word, "no" what does that really mean anyway?

I know it is a little gutsy of me, the non-mom, to talk this way.  I almost cringe at the thought of God "showing me" if I get too prideful, too sure of myself and how I will do it when it is my turn.  But really, what I want to say to those complaining, whining, helpless mothers is to consider those who will follow in their footsteps.  Those women who will need their strong, good example when the going gets tough.  And as you probably know, it WILL get tough.  And I humbly remember that as I approach the idea of parenthood myself.

I'd like to leave you with three articles and a blurb.  The first is an article on CNN Opinion that I thought rocked the house.  I'd much rather you read this than anything I've said above.

"Parents, Don't Dress Your Girls Like Tramps" by LZ Granderson

The second is a blog post on discipline posted by my friend, Brett.  More than share opinions, he asks questions, but I think they are good ones and the thread of comments is equally as thought provoking.

"Corporal Punishment: to spank or not to spank" by Brett Harrison

The last article is a blog post by my friend Katie on her blog titled "How We Roll:  Katie's Blog About Marathoning and Mothering."  I loved this post because she too is a runner, but it is the mothering that she focuses on here and I love what she has to say.

"Putting It Into Perspective" by Katie Maehlmann

And the blurb is an e-mail from my mom sent yesterday.  She is a GREAT mom, married to an AMAZING dad, and she is a retired high school guidance counselor.  Why no one has asked her to speak to the masses on child raising is beyond me.  She's a pro at not only raising them, but helping parents.  I leave you with her passionate paragraph on the subject.

My whole life/career, I have become very frustrated with the lack of parenting skills that most parents have.  If you spend much time stewing about this, you will go crazy because MOST parents these days, and it HAS gotten worse and worse, are just plain abusive to their children because of their lack of discipline and teaching respect for authority.  That is what this allowing kids to dictate what will occur really is...abuse. I think if we could stand on a mountain and shout it or tell those who are guilty since we can't shout it from the mountains, we have done our part to give the children of this world some hope.  When we are afraid to MAKE our children do what we want them to do in the name of "choosing our battles" we are wimps, cowards, and we are literal1y harming our children!  If God "parented" His children like this we would all be in a mess.  Parents are the bosses and if they don't assume that role, kids grow up to be frustrated, angry, undisciplined, disrespectful brats and thus, adults.  

And then her words to Julie:  YOU are THE best mother that I know or have ever known.  You have a balance between discipline and love and it is working!!

Caleb and my mom - the best Gran in the world


  1. Sis, I am so humbled by your comments. I am sure I am not as wonderful as you say. But thanks for saying. I really believe parents have quit "parenting". It is time for a change. I love the CNN article and I read Brett's. I will get to Katie's after zumba. Awesome thoughts! Thanks! love you!

  2. Janie, thank you for a great post. I know we have discussed this some during our runs, but it was great to have a reminder. Who am I to complain when Leah pees on the floor (happened yesterday) or when the kids fight?

    I had a reminder of this last night (straight from God, I think!). Andrew asked me to sleep in his room. He was upset and having trouble sleeping and as we were cuddling I told him we could say a prayer for God to help him sleep and not worry. About halfway through my prayer, he was snoring softly! It was one of those magical mommy/son moments I will never forget :)

  3. OH, and Julie is the best mom. I want to be more like her!!

  4. Shannon, you are one of those moms that gives me courage as well! And I love all of our conversations on the topic! I often think of you and Julie when I get the "there's no way I can do this" feeling. :)

  5. Can I just say...AMEN!

    As another "non-Mom," I completely agree.

    My other biggest gripe? Women who have children and suddenly forget who they were before they had kids. As in, "we can't talk about anything other than motherhood and its many joys and difficulties. Your problems and/or interests no longer matter to me."

    Also, women that refer to their husbands as "Daddy" when their kids are not around? Creepy.

  6. thanks for the link, janie. and for sending your sis over to my blog to offer some good advice. [though i've not responded to her comments yet and it'll have to wait -- bc i'm going to bed now.]

    i don't think i'll have any problems with disciplining baylor. EXCEPT i've already noticed when she does something that she might not should do --but it's really funny -- i have a hard time not just laughing and giving her a hug. she's just so cute. [i say about my own child...]

  7. If you respond to Julie, I will probably need to tell her to go read it. She's not really much of a blog reader - but I told her she was featured, so she came to read. :)

    The real point of my entire blog was to bring up the child bashing and complaining about motherhood I hear all around me. I just wish those women would think about some of the things they post, write and say because many other women who aren't moms yet are reading that. What kind of example and precedent does that set?

    As for discipline - I didn't really intend to touch that one. I just had some articles and that post so it got mentioned. I usually leave that one alone - especially since I am not yet a parent.

  8. Somehow, I am a few days behind on reading blogs!!! I just now read this post, and I LOVE it!! I agree with about everything you have said, and I agree that Julie is an amazing example of a loving, Christian wife and mother! I am sure that because of your love, kindness, humility and discipline that YOU will be a great mother one day too! :)

    I get SOOO irritated when my Facebook newsfeed is loaded with complaining in general--especially about things that people don't even have control over--but it makes me SO mad when people complain publicly about their husbands or children.

    It would be silly to say that tough, 'I-want-to-complain' moments don't happen, but for people to instantly run and tell their (5000 facebook) friends instead of praying about it and handling it privately and getting over it is insane. This is such a tool that Satan can use-to think that something that I have said publicly will affect how someone else thinks about my husband? Or my kids? Or to chance that my husband or kids will one day read what I thought was important enough to publish one day and it will hurt them to know that I felt that way and told everyone else about it too....

    Anyways...I loved this post, and I agree that no matter our role in this life, as a daughter, aunt, friend, mother, sister, wife, Christian, etc, it's so important that we control our hearts and our minds and our attitudes...and our tongues.

  9. Great post, Janie! You will make an awesome mama some day and, yes, you've had some amazing role models in your life to show you the way.

    Just curious ... was Brett a camp friend or Auburn buddy? I've started following his blog from when you referred to him a few posts back.

  10. Thank you for commenting, Stacy! I was a little nervous about this blog getting current mothers angry at me - but it is really a plea to ask them to THINK about those of us following in their footsteps one day! ;)

    Hi Mrs. B!! I sure do miss you! I've been thinking about my Jenks Ave peeps a lot lately! Brett was a camp friend, although he did go to Auburn, just not when I was there. He was also in China while I was there, just in a different city. I guess I've known him since I was 14 or so. Great blog, huh. :)

  11. Jane, it's a brave post and an important topic. It's great that you are thinking about it already and that you have alot of moms as role models already too. Motherhood is the toughest job on the planet! Having a great support system (husband, role models, and friends who listen) is essential.