Sunday, December 13, 2009

Reflections of Parenting, Part 2

When I first began debating the option between staying in the workforce or going home to take care of my family, I found this article that was supposedly in Good Housekeeping in the 50s. (I really think this is a hoax…BUT…) It was called the Good Wife’s Guide and you can see a copy of it here or look it up. Believe it or not, I more or less subscribed to this philosophy. Well, there are few exceptions and it does make me laugh a little. It was against everything I was raised to believe, but it was what I felt was tried and true to help a relationship survive. I had no problem with showing my husband that he was important to me. Fast-forward that two years and here I am, a micromanaging, mother-first kind of person. Well, I’ve been working on that and you’ll see how throughout this post.

Going back to Rosemond. (Remember, Parenting by The Book?) His chapter on Parenting as One Flesh really brought me backs to the day when I said I was going to be the retro-housewife and the June Cleaver of 2007. After explaining how parents’ roles have changed due to what he calls Postmodern Psychological Parenting, Rosemond gets into the mother of the 50s compared to the mother today. The mother of the 50s just like the article said, was a wife first, parent second. Before Dad came home, mother would have tidied up not only the home, but also herself. The goal was to make sure Dad came home to the woman he married, not the housekeeper or his children’s mother. The relationship between husband and wife came first. He refers to creating a boundary around the marriage and the marital bed. With this being done, the parents operate with one mind when it comes to parenting issues. Now, however, parents are more likely to be one flesh with their children. (Leading to the so-called helicopter parenting I spoke of in Part 1.)

And, just a side note, look at how the role of the father has changed on television. Since the Cosby’s, what father have you seen that wasn’t portrayed as bumbling bafoon? With my sarcastic nature, I have realized how others could assume I do not respect my husband. This is something I have had to get in check. I have also made a conscious decision to NEVER allow someone to refer to my husband as my third child. He is not a child. He is the leader of this home.

When Rosemond started referring to “Til Children Do Us Part,” I could totally relate. He explained that a lot of couples become child centered after having babies. They pay more attention to the children than they do each other. Basically, they do all things with their children more than they do with each other. I felt, especially after one pregnancy, getting pregnant when I was still nursing and had a baby on my hip, nine more months of pregnancy, and a very difficult three months of depression after JJ, we were not going to make it. If we weren’t there already, we were definitely on our way to becoming two fleshes. The kids were the reason we were together; but then again, if had not been for the kids, we may not have had the problems we were dealing with. It was especially hard for me with the constant hormonal changes. It took a lot of soul searching and a lot of letting go of the babies to turn to each other again. Thank God we are there and willing to go even further if we have to. (Remember Mommy’s Day Out?)

I breathed a sigh of relief when I reached Rosemond’s explanation of “seasons” of childhood. It was a relief to know we were still in the Season of Service. My job was to be “checking, feeding, carrying, changing, comforting, fixing, fetching, and so on…” And good ol’ Nate was to be there to be my “parenting aide” to get through this season. It would have been comforting to understand that before all the problems! We are heading out of this season with one and still hanging in there with the other. For us, I think the major problem was when we were in the Season of Service with TWO at the same time. We were both emotionally, mentally, and physically drained. I also feel comfort now that Lily is heading out of the season of service; I am beginning to gradually introduce her to the fact that I’m not her servant for life.

It’s going to be hard in this world. The new “good mother” is to serve her child for life. I was just explaining to Nate how judged I would be for trying to instill independence at an early age with so many mothers going above and beyond the call of duty for their older children. I am ready to face whatever to increase the possibilities of having a child who becomes a caring, productive adult with God at the center of his/her life.

For those who don’t know, my thoughts of parenting have always been in line with John Rosemond’s, even before I read anything he wrote. I enjoy reading what he writes because it helps me to understand application a little more and I just love reading about parenting. To each his own, right?

How about you? How many of you feel your vows should have been replaced with “Til children do us part”?


mommycares said...

Good one on Finding Michelle - it helps a lot!

We clearly share similar parenting experiences and views.
I've been reading one that I'm hooked on -
I have a feeling you'd get a lot out of it.

Incredible job on your blog; keep it up.


Tracy said...

You say a lot of thought provoking things here in this post.

I was fortunate to hear a lot of good teaching prior to having children about the fact that the marriage relationship has to come first, even before the parent one. That teaching helped me in my decision making a lot.

Yet there is nothing that affects us like our relationship to our children.

Glad to read that you are recognizing that this tough season is temporary. I remember, actually only vaguely because that pre-age 3 time for my youngest two sons is a hazy memory (most likely due to sleep deprivation and exhaustion), how hard it was for me to have 2 that are just under 18 months apart. But now that they are in high school and only a grade apart they can relate in a really close manner.

Parenting is such a blessing and CHALLENGE. I think that perhaps God designed it this way to help us become less selfish. The same with the whole marriage thing.

Just yesterday my 15yr old son told me that he never wants to get married ever because girls drive him crazy. I talked to him a bit about how males and females are so very different in some ways and it makes it hard for us to understand each other. I related how I used to think that was the cruel joke of God in marriage but have to come to realize that the process of being in relationship, the opportunity to work to see things from a totally different perspective, changes me from the selfish person that I am into a better person.

BTW - I actually agreed with a lot of that old GH article that circulates too.