I had an interesting conversation today. I was standing at the counter checking out, for once all alone with no children in tow, when I mentioned that I had 5 children. I cannot even remember how the subject came up but the woman behind the counter immediately responded with, “You have 5 children? Do they drive you nuts?”
Now, as anyone with more than two children will tell you, it is not at all unusual to get surprising and varied reactions to the subject of children and family planning. Nonetheless, I was thrown off by her question. “No,” I answered quickly, “I love my children.” But then, as I thought about it for a second, I had to admit, “Well, there are moments they drive me nuts, but overall I enjoy my children.” I wanted to be completely honest.
She looked at me quizzically and maybe I should have let it drop at that but I continued, “My children know their limits.” I told her.
“Oh, so you rule with an iron fist,” she said knowingly, nodding her head like she got it now.
But as I thought about that, I felt the need to speak up yet again. “Not really. I don’t have to most of the time. They are just pretty good kids,” I told her.
“Well, I guess you do look like you’ve got it altogether,” the woman conceded (an interesting comment on its own considering I did not have the children with me), “Lots of people these days are not too happy with motherhood though.”
Since that conversation this morning, I have thought about her observation. She is right, of course. A lot of people are unhappy with motherhood. Children are seen as burdens, not blessings and having 5 (or more) of them sounds like torture to some people, I guess. None of this is really news to me, but hearing someone admit it so casually as if it is no big deal was upsetting. It has really caused me to pause and think about this world we live in, and the negative attitudes that pervade it.
There is SO much I could say about it all. I could go on and on about how people are so misguided, how their priorities are skewed, and about how worldly wisdom has ruined family values in this country. I think I will try to keep my mouth shut about all that this time though……
Instead I will just pray. I will pray that my example and witness, and that of other strong Christian mothers, might be enough to convince others to take a closer look at their own attitudes and priorities. I will pray that God will enlighten the minds of those mothers who are not too happy with motherhood and help them to see the gift that their children, and their responsibility towards them, is.
Maybe, while I am at it, I will also say a prayer of thanksgiving. It is such a privilege and a blessing to be a mother. Though it is not always easy and my children do drive me nuts occasionally, I am grateful to God for the gift of motherhood. Unusual as it may sound, it is a something I really am very happy with.