You should get a TV
Written by Claire McCann
It’s true, I am having our 5th child in August and our oldest child is 6 years old. We are the family that gets endless stares when we go out to eat. People say things like, “Oh my goodness are these ALL yours?” Or “you really have your hands full don’t you?” Then comes the statement that we hear at least once a week. "Do you know what causes this? You guys should get a TV!" The reply lately has been something along the lines of, “well you know we like other things a whole lot better than TV." Sure enough as they hear these words their face turns beat red and they walk off in disbelief or shame, I really can’t tell the difference. I'm not sure if this is the correct response to have (probably not but it makes me feel good) but the truth is yes, we love each other, but we also really love our kids and our big family.
Everywhere you turn people want you to know how you could have prevented those children, why they wouldn't have had them like you did and how awful your life will be when they are all teens. Though it may be unspoken, the role of motherhood in our culture is often looked down on as a rock-bottom job for those who can't do more. Anything and everything you want to pursue in life is said to be worth more acclaim than this role of mothering. The low value on a child's life has even led some to believe an unborn baby is not technically a "human" and can therefore be murdered legally. Children in our culture rank lower than pursuing your dream career, achieving the perfect body, constantly upgrading your standard of living and even sitting at home doing nothing if that's what you want to do. Do we have to live by culture's definition of children and their place in our lives?
I am convinced God has a unique calling for each person and don't worry it doesn't have to include having 6 pregnancies in 6 years. Instead, each scenario is different and challenging in its own way. Whether you have 1 or 10 kids, parenting is HARD! Most issues come when people judge others based on their own life experiences and not in light of God's individual calling for that person. If we could learn to encourage others in their risk to follow the Lord's calling, as it lines up with God's word, and embrace the counter-cultural idea that children are a blessing, regardless of how they came about.... what would our relationships look like?! Like instead of all the division that comes from essential oils vs medicine, organic vs conventional, and home school vs public.... why can't we choose to do what God calls US to and celebrate what God calls OTHERS to? What if we took it a step further encouraging those differences and learning from them? It seems the most difficult thing for mom's today is to parent without comparison.
The so called "Mommy Wars" are absolutely waging war but the casualties are your children. When motherhood defines our identity we cannot help but crave approval from others like a prego momma craves pickles and ice cream. We then compare and subconsciously rank ourselves against every other momma to see who we are better than and who trumps us. What does this do to our ability to parent well? It only robs you from the joy in it. When we see another momma succeed at _______ then we automatically feel like we are a failure and totally ruining our kids. Or if we can be honest with ourselves, think about how we celebrate when we see some other mom struggling in something that we succeed in easily.....how wicked we are!? How wonderful it would be to walk in freedom from the chains of comparison and "Mommy Wars"!!! God defines us all as equal children of His and that is where we must fight to find our identity! Not on what we have done, will do or what our children will do but on what He has done on our behalf!
Now lets be honest, we will fail at this parenting thing many times throughout the process because we all are sinful beings who at times will act in sinful ways. SHOCKER ALERT: I yell at my children from time to time and struggle with feeling the need to measure up to someone else in my quest for being super mom. WE ALL FAIL! The most important step is to first admit it! This is why we need a Savior! The beautiful thing that happens when we admit our struggle and run to Jesus is He begins turning our failures into an example of grace for our kids. I can now tell my children " I am sorry mommy yelled at you baby. Mommy sins and needs Jesus just like you do! God is faithful to help us with our sin if we ask. Will you forgive me as I ask Jesus to forgive me too?" What a beautiful and humbling example to our children of what grace looks like!? Then we can be partners in grace with them and extend that same grace to them in their failures. See how God works everything for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. (Rom. 8) Even our embarrassing sinful moments. Lets not feel the need to act like we are super mom.....I'm absolutely certain she doesn't exist.
Be encouraged in the day to day struggle to do this parenting thing well! It is the hardest and most sanctifying thing I have ever done but it is well worth the cost! There will be a day when my everyday mothering race will be over and I am certain I will never regret the sacrifice of laying my life down (oftentimes second by second) to love, train, discipline and encourage each child I have in the ways of the Lord. Partnering in grace with them as sinners both needing a Savior is a high and weighty calling. May we embrace it! May we gladly let go of the perfect appearance and perfectly organized home to hear the sweet laughs and enjoy the crazy loud moments. Joyfully give up your perfectly shaped body for carrying another who will be your legacy. Graciously instruct your children as your Heavenly Father graciously instructs and forgives you. Desperately seek the Lord in the many moments of failure and frustration because He alone is faithful and able to carry your burdens. Motherhood is a high calling.... it's really a calling to come and die to yourself. The beautiful thing about God's story is that He is the Resurrection and the Life as we lay our life down for others.
John 12:24-26 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.