My Mother Doesn’t Live In Town

Segantini_Le_due_Madri Like millions of other women, I don’t live in the same town as my mother. Some women have bad relationships with their mothers, and so living in another town is a relief. But for most, living in the same town as your mother means you have local encouragement and help from someone who has known you for life and loves you anyway.

Part of me wants to address the issue by saying to myself, “Boo-hoo, stop it with the princess-martyr complex: ‘My mother’s not in town so I can’t go shopping by myself, nap, or get my nails done every Friday’.” Continue reading

Mommy Guilt and The Cross

wall Is there a mother out there that doesn’t feel guilty about her mothering? Maybe most of it, maybe some of it—all of us are committing or omitting things that make us feel guilty. When you know that a dependent person whom you love is counting on you for pretty much everything (from food to medical care to memorable holidays), it brings the weight of responsibility and the burden of imperfect performance.

But I’m not sure that sin is the cause of most mommy guilt. Continue reading

What Are We Teaching Our Daughters?

200px-Knitted_pinksquareMaybe I’m not reading broadly enough, but there seems to be a heavy emphasis in the reformed community on passing domestic skills on to our daughters. Many authors and bloggers stress that, along with the quiet and gentle spirit, we need to be enabling our daughters to be fabulous homemakers. Now, that’s great. This generation of young men just might have wives who are Martha Stewarts from day one. That’s a blessing for those husbands.

But for mothers, the pressure to teach our daughters how to budget like Dave Ramsey, clean like a Dutch housewife, and cook like Julia Child seems to be mounting as the church recovers a high view of homemaking and motherhood. Homemaking internships with older women, books on money, and classes on crocheting are strongly encouraged; mothers whose daughters are “behind” in these areas carry an extra burden of mommy guilt. Perhaps this is especially true amongst home schoolers. Continue reading

Infant Graves

lily of the valley 2“[N]ever better, than at the grave of those little ones do you understand that quiet disappearing, the snatching away of the fieldflower in the grass… just lifting up its colourful little head above that grass. And the wind came from the desert, carrying the breath of death. And under that touch it succumbed. The little head bent itself; the colours paled; the forms melted. And so it disappeared, to leave behind nothing but a hovering image, and round about it memories at play…

It was a coming to go; an appearing to disappear. And so they die away by the hundreds and thousands, those little darlings, known of God, but passed unnoticed by men… The dying of these little ones is therefore so rich in significance; you miss so much, when you pass lightly over their mysterious disappearing. Continue reading

At Home And Loving It

IMG_5674As full-time stay-at-home mothers, we don’t have the most glamorous careers. It’s behind the scenes, mundane, and sometimes hard to enjoy. A book I was reading had an example of how hard it was to be a stay-at-home mother: “It’s so boring!” the woman said. Boring? Tiring, I get. Frustrating, challenging, occasionally menial and repetitive, but boring? If you’re a stay-at-home mother and find yourself bored, invite your pastor’s family over for a 5 course dinner on Saturday. It will make Thursday and Friday interesting. If chronic boredom is a struggle, start a business, buy a puppy, or begin homeschooling.

But boredom isn’t what most stay-at-home moms struggle with. Continue reading

A Mother’s Work

Ernst_Lindenbauer,_1936 Wanting to be a horse was probably a mommy low point. Not just any horse, mind you. One of my kids was studying the Lipizzaners in Vienna’s Spanish Riding School; as I helped with some research, I found myself envying the horses. Not only do they live in a historic building in a European capital, but they also do nothing beyond go for long walks and occasionally jump to live orchestral music. They are taken care of. Totally. “I could live off of apples and oats,” I told myself. When my husband came home from work, I announced my new career plan. The pressure of constantly caring for everyone else’s needs made me lose focus.

Mothers need breaks now and then. But even more than that, we need perspective. And that’s easy to lose when the dishes are piled up and the baby won’t stop crying and the toddler refuses to be toilet trained. Continue reading

Minding Our Own Reproductive Business

9 monthsA couple weeks ago I talked with some young mothers about inappropriate questions that they have had to answer. I’ve had the same questions, and though answering them has not caused me any grief, they easily could have. Questions like, “Are you pregnant?” “Do you guys have a hard time getting pregnant?” “How many kids do you want?” “Is this one a surprise?” “Why don’t you guys have (more) kids?” These questions are different than learning how to think through an issue like family planning by asking someone for their thoughts. Genuine learning questions are in a separate category.

But inquiring into very personal matters out of curiosity, a desire to know, an inability to make conversation on other topics, or as a misapplied expression of care, is a bad idea. Such questions, and any like them, are ones that only very close family and friends should ask, and even then with caution, forethought, and not in the church foyer. If you are not a very close family member or friend, it’s a good idea to stay away from this topic. Why? Because: Continue reading

Evangelical Yummy Mummies

So, reading the Telegraph’s article on Cherie Blair’s speech, as well as Life Site News’ reporting on the same talk, I couldn’t help thinking that one of us – me or Mrs Blair – is living in a bubble. Am I so isolated that I’m not aware of the gaggles of adults, raised by stay-at-home mothers, who are aimlessly wandering the streets, trying to carve out lives for themselves with no preparation, education, or motivation? Am I completely blind to the “danger” of “being the best possible mother” by “putting all effort into [the] children”? It’s possible. After all, I don’t move in circles inhabited by adults like Bertie Wooster or Madeline Bassett. It must be scary. Dangerous, even. Continue reading