Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Excruciating Motherhood

Motherhood = Pain

That is not a complaint. It is a statement of fact. Love is painful because it is sacrificial. Just because something is painful, doesn't mean that it isn't also beautiful.

I've been pondering the pain of parenthood lately because I want so much to do right in the lives of my sons, but I know that I often make mistakes. There will be something that I do or say that will "scar them for life" because every child carries some scars into adulthood.

There is also a lot of pressure on parents, and the pressure grows into guilt on every single level. Every decision you make as a parent is closely scrutinized by others. No matter what you decide, there will be a group who thinks your decision is wrong. Not just the "big" issues, like discipline or education, but even the minute decisions, like the first taste of solids your baby takes (oh, yes, you think I exaggerate, but I promise you there are people who feel STRONGLY about that!). Breast or bottle? There are haters on both sides. To vaccinate or not? Haters. Tummy sleep or back to sleep? (There will be a law against sleeping your baby on its tummy before too long. Mark my words.) Is it okay to feed my child chicken nuggets? Am I a bad parent because I give tylenol to my child when he has a fever? Am I a bad parent if I don't? No matter what you choose, you will be judged by someone out there as ill-equipped to be a parent.

Not that anyone is fully equipped to be a wonderful parent... you aren't "born to be a good parent." Good parents are made. You learn by trial and error! Whew! That's not scary!

Mistakes in parenting are painful. The guilt associated with parenting decisions is painful. I have noticed (my husband says it's not the same for him, though, so maybe it's a motherly thing, or maybe I'm just weird) a phantom pain when my child is or appears to be in physical danger. Has anyone experienced this phenomenon but me? For example, if he is running and I can see that he is going to fall and scrape his knee, as he is falling, I feel pain in my joints (specifically, in my hip joints, oddly enough). It's almost as if time stops briefly, allowing me to feel his pain before he does. Sometimes, he falls and I've predicted his pain. Other times, he doesn't fall after all, and I feel sheepishly overprotective because of the sharp gasp I've involuntarily made.

Then - oh, then! - there is the emotional pain of watching these beautiful creatures grow and change and experience pain for themselves! I've not yet fully realized this heartache, but I've tasted it and even the small drops I've experienced thus far have sent me to my knees, thanking God for allowing His Son to die on the cross for my sins... for choosing the full extent of the pain of parenthood for my sake.

Yes, motherhood is excruciating, and I am convinced that the only way to make it through is on my knees!

My Sword, V8

"But godliness with contentment is great gain."
1 Timothy 6:16

As I seek to live a simple, quiet life, it is important for me to remember to be content. It is so easy, especially in our society today, to want want WANT WANT. Being content not only with what you have, but also with where you are in your life is not always easy. The grass isn't greener... we know that in our heads, but so often our hearts don't remember.

I was a working mom, and OH! How hard it was! I hated not being with my little love all day five days a week! Now I am a stay at home mom, and OH! How hard it is! I recognize that SAHMs have less time to themselves than working moms. A friend was recently asking me, "How do you like staying at home?"

"I love it," I replied.

"But didn't you like your job?" he asked.

"I loved it," I replied. And I did. I had the best job... it was a perfect fit for me. I got a lot of satisfaction from it. I enjoyed every minute of it and could have worked that job for the rest of my life as happily as could be.

"But you love not working?" he asked, as if he was trying to figure out how both could be true.

"I do," I answered, "Because as much as I loved my job, I love my boys more and want to be the one to take care of them. I will have lots of years to go back to work after they are grown. I want to enjoy this time as a mom as much as I can."

1 Timothy 6:16 is a good reminder to me of my own words on those mornings when the baby wakes up at 5:38am and I know my day is going to be LONG. This too shall pass, Amy. This too shall pass.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Do I Blog?

Someone said to me recently, "You blog, don't you?"

I was sort of embarrassed. My humble, little site of musings doesn't compare to the true bloggers. I started this blog as a vent to my musings... because sometimes I have something to say and I wanted a place to express myself. I knew some people would read what I wrote (mostly my mom), but I'm not writing for readers. I'm writing for myself. I could blog like the "true" bloggers, but I don't have the time to do that right now (maybe someday!), and I could never tie myself down to blogging on one "theme."

So, sure, I periodically post things to a little blog called Amy's Musings. But I don't really blog. And that's okay.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Unseduced and Unshaken

I just finished reading Unseduced and Unshaken: The Place of Dignity in a Young Woman's Choices by Rosalie DeRosset.

Every young woman should read this book. Parents of girls should read this book. In fact, any woman of any age could benefit from reading it.  This is an important book, written by a woman who not only teaches literature, but also counsels young women. She melds her knowledge of great literature with the practical problems of young women today to give lots of convicting food for thought.

The basic premise of the book is that theology should frame every decision that we make each day. Theology is defined as "knowledge of God and our opinions concerning God and man's relationship to God." DeRosset, a professor at Moody Bible Institute, asserts that so often we forget to allow our theology to permeate our lives and influence the decisions we make.

There is much richness here. I can't begin to describe all the thought-provoking concepts in this book. DeRosset talks about the importance of critical thinking, finding your voice (God created us as individuals!), knowing what you believe, listening to those who are older and wiser, traditions, history, and much more... of course, all of this is through the lens of literature! I know I am not the only one who gets excited about good books (although I don't know nearly as many voracious readers as I would like). If you love to read, you will love this book.

I really appreciate the honesty of DeRosset as she addresses the true issues at stake for young women today. She isn't afraid to talk about the nitty-gritty... there is no "glossing over" here. Something I've discussed with several friends lately is how there are some things that "NO ONE in the church talks about" and it NEEDS to be discussed! This book goes into those kinds of corners in such a way as to get you thinking. I'm not saying I agree with everything DeRosset says - on the contrary, I disagree wholeheartedly with some of it. However, I appreciated the opportunity to think through WHY I disagree. This book excited my intellect more than any I've read in a long while.

Just read it.

Update 7/30/2013 - I'm excited because I found DeRosset's recommended reading list! Also, although I haven't taken the time to listen to it yet, there is an audio recording of a talk she gave last year.  I'm linking up to Modern Mrs. Darcy's Best Book You've Never Heard Of post for this one! 

My Sword, V7

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
Ex. 14:14

I hardly need say why I chose this verse... there are so many moments in a day when I need to stop and be still and let the Lord fight the battle for me. Why, oh why, is surrender so difficult? For the last several years, it has begun to dawn on me that I am never without a battle of some kind. And if I am not actively fighting, I am losing. This verse will help me to remember that it is through HIS strength that I can fight, and not my own.