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Location: Allentown, PA

I'm a Christian wife and a mom to three daughters and two sons. I'm a member of the board of directors of EmPoWeReD Birth. In my "spare time" I'm a doula, and a certified childbirth instructor.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Embracing Motherhood

As the mother of 4 small children, I'm pretty busy. The kids make messes. They can be trying at times. But I guess I just don't understand the fascination that the American Christian church has with separating mothers and children.

I mean this with all due respect...but when one balances the amount of activities where families are separated into age classifications in church as compared to those where full family participation is encouraged, the scales are sharply tipped to "division." I found it refreshing when I joined a new church about this time last year and was told that children were expected to worship with their parents on Sunday mornings. But then I've been puzzled when I related this to other moms in the church, and they stared at me blankly and said they'd never been told anything like this.

A common theme I hear in "parenting" advice is "date night, date night, date night." Couples must get away for the sake of their marriage. Church bulletins commonly advertise events "for moms only," "for couples only, no kids please."

I've even been frustrated to find that as I helped to start a local chapter of a national organization that is supposed to support mothers in their godly calling, most of the "support" given to the mothers has NOTHING to do with being a good mother. I've learned make sure I decorate with items in odd numbers, even numbers aren't as visually appealling. I've learned that integrating seemlying unrelated bits of knowledge is one of my spiritual gifts. I've learned that apparently it is too difficult to plan an "outside of the regular group meeting" social activity that involves even husbands, let alone children.

One time I asked my grandmother about this. She managed almost 59 years of marriage. Not all of them happy--every couple has their struggles. They even had a brief separation while they adapted to the change of my grandfather being retired. But she and my grandfather loved each other deeply. Her response to the concept of a "date night" was that this was a luxury that she and my grandfather rarely had until after their children were grown and out of the house--so that would be after over 30 years of marriage because their 5 children have a broad age range. Even as a mature couple, she commented in her reply to me that one of my cousins had been over that day, and the 3 of them had cleaned out the basement. And she felt that she'd built more lasting memories, strengthening of her marriage and general family ties in that day of "work" than she could build in several dates.

Do I have any solutions? I don't quite know. I'm going to be talking to the leader of lay ministries in my church about where I can best serve in ministry...but I'm seriously thinking that a new ministry of some sort that reaches out to families would be good.


Blogger Delk Family said...

I have four children also. But there is a 9 yr age difference between the two sets. I had not intention of my children being so attached to me! They couldn't be left alone without crying for many years. And I found I really enjoyed it! We've always wanted our children to worship with us. As an older mom, raising my second set of little ones, I now see exactly your point about division. My favorite times are when the family is together. I'm so happy more moms are embracing this idea.

7:38 AM, October 31, 2012  

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