Well, we have survived the weekend! Let’s see…there were three nights of waking up approximately three times a night to feed or change the infant. It took approximately 3-to-4 hours to get six ladies and one man dressed and fed before leaving the house in the mornings. My husband and I strategically planned to “wear the children out” during the day. We did not understand that we would wear ourselves out in the process and energize them (because they were so excited about the day’s activities). The Fourth of July Weekend 2010 consisted of one trip to the zoo, two picnics, one church service, one fast food run, one firework show, a lot of playing, feeding, and reading, with limited naps for the children (but not us). Long story short, I’m pretty tired!
The children rose early this morning and loaded the car for my husband to drive them back home. For approximately forty-five minutes (while my daughter continued to sleep), I worked in a quiet house with no children and no noise. I reflected on the weekend and the value that we place on our children.
I pondered that there are some women who are stay-at-home moms, and experience my weekend’s journey on a more permanent (long-term and full-time) basis. I have the upmost respect for them! I was also troubled as I thought about the increasing number of women who are forsaking marriage and childbearing to solely pursue professional careers. Please hear me out before you load up the comment section (which I welcome by-the-way).
I have worked for the majority of the time that I have been both, a wife and mother. I understand those major decisions are not taken lightly and are made for various reasons. I also understand the various dynamics and challenges associated with being a professional, someone who is active in church ministry, a volunteer, and a woman who is devoted to her family. I respect the women who walk this journey with me as well. Because I live the life of wife, mother, and employee, it is not hard to see why some women would desire to delay or even avoid this challenge for which many of us feel unprepared. Therefore, today’s discussion is not whether women should or should not get married, have children, or work outside of the home.
The better question is, “What are our priorities?” Bottom line: Children cost us. They have needs. If you plan to care for them – provide them with food and clothing (regardless of the quality) – that is going to cost you money. They desire your love, affection, and attention, and honestly meeting those expectations require the sacrifice of your time.
I have a very busy week ahead. I’m departing in the morning to head back to Washington DC for a week. I have a list of things to do before then, and I’m not even half way through it. (By the way, chatting with you was on the list.) Among other things, when I consider the care and attention that my own daughter needs, it would have been very easy for me to not impart into my sister’s children this weekend. As I reflect, I cannot think of a better way to have spent my time.
Children are very important (and even that is an understatement). We should place high priority on loving, nurturing, educating, and training our children. They will ultimately reflect what we have become as a people. In my early years, adults understood and valued the “It Takes a Village to Raise a Child” concept. As a child, I benefited from the teachers, mentors, neighbors, family members, and friends of the family who loved me and showed it by expressing interest in my upbringing. Therefore, I encourage you, all of you, to consistently invest in the life of a child (if not yours, then someone else’s).
Let’s be honest about it, does today’s American society view children as a Blessing or a Burden?