There’s yet another book out for women with the provocative title, Why Have Kids: The Truth About Parenting and Happiness. The feminist author’s title pretty much says it all. I quote from the Daily Mail article yesterday:
In an interview with UK newspaper The Times, Valenti says woman are bombarded with so much conflicting advice about child-rearing, much of which involves kids being the ‘centre of your universe,’ that the result is a state of near constant anxiety. (This is) the understandable outcome of expecting smart, driven women to find satisfaction in spit-up,’ she says.
It gets worse.
Co-founder of the Feminising.com blog, she also lists the on-paper drain kids place on their parents’ lives, including the long-term economic cost of having children and the inevitable effect a baby has on even happy marriages.
And then this:
Valenti says that she loves her daughter, Layla, very much but adds ‘I don’t see raising her as my life’s mission. I don’t believe that it should involve some kind of suffering or self-sacrifice.’
It’s difficult to know where to begin addressing this viewpoint. I don’t disagree for a moment that parenting, the way the secular world sees it, is problematic. Many mothers are motivated by the culture’s values and half kill themselves in giving their child everything that kids are supposed to get now, whether it’s umpteen extracurricular activities, the latest technology, the best clothes, etc. In addition, mothers are supposed to be successful in outside careers, keep a beautiful home, and on top of that, look “hot” at whatever age they are. No exceptions allowed. It’s a recipe for insanity. I agree.
But the real problem here is not devotion to your children! The problem is not the little ones! The problem in this scenario is the worldview of the mothers. Feminism is a joke. If the feminist philosophy was about liberation and freedom, how do you explain millions of mothers who chronically feel trapped and that they are failing everyone because they are trying to have it all? The answer to the problem is not embracing selfishness and refusing to sacrifice for your children. The answer lies in giving some things up, because those children are most important to you. But authors like Jessica Valenti don’t believe they should be. In her view, children are the problem.
I have been a mother for 25 years. I am 46, and have learned some things along the way—a few insights I have gleaned. The most important lesson is this: You find yourself as a mother by losing yourself. This creed will elicit gasps of horror from authors like the one above, but it is the truth.
Years ago, my son Samuel had a terrible time with out-of-control asthma. He was a highly allergic baby who tested as sensitive to nearly everything in the environment, which meant that when he had a cold, it immediately triggered asthma, because his bronchial tubes were already inflamed from other allergies.
In the first 5 years of his life, he was hospitalized over 30 times, once in the ICU. Every cold, not some, every cold, meant he ended up in the hospital. We watched the seasons change at Children’s Hospital on 7th floor back then. We knew all the nurses. We’d spend hours in the ER, and then they would admit him eventually anyway.
I used to wonder why this endless cycle had befallen my son, and frankly, me. Watching Sam scream through endless IV’s on a papoose board, endure countless pricks for blood tests, and go through endless breathing treatments, knowing full well we’d be back at the hospital in another month with the next cold, was extremely hard on both of us. I was 21 when Sam was first admitted at 6 months old. I slept at the hospital holding him on my chest many, many times.
But in those years I learned an important truth. I knew, even at that young age, that there was no more important job than what I was doing. I knew I was Sammy’s entire world of security and comfort. I would not and could not have been anywhere else but there. The world went roaring by on the roads outside the hospital, but we were locked in with each other in a little hospital room. Nothing else mattered to me but Sammy’s well-being and happiness. In the haze of exhaustion and worry of those years, I found out who I really was: Mother. Nurturer. Comforter. Weaver of the fabric of lives.
When my children stand at my grave, I will have done my job if they know, without a doubt, that they were deeply, wholly loved. That however imperfect I was, that I did not hold back to save myself. That I gave all I could. That I spent the love I had lavishly on them.
There are no guarantees that our children will be grateful for our sacrifices, take full advantage of the opportunities we give them or “turn out right.” But as a Christian mother, I have an ally in the fight. I have the help of a mighty God who hears my prayers and who may use my humble mother efforts years down the road in the souls and lives of my children.
The meaning in life is found in pouring out our lives on behalf of others, just like our Savior did. We won’t gain applause from the world with its tragically warped value system, but we will have had a life well spent in the eyes of our Heavenly Father. And our children someday will bless our memory.
Her children rise up and bless her. ~ Proverbs 31:28