Last week I read two articles, each in a different magazine, about how to celebrate Mother’s Day all month long.
The first was “Thirty-One Ways to Indulge Yourself,” a day by day guide through the month of May, “because no one ever takes care of you.” I read through the calendar, at first smiling and sighing a little, but gradually growing more and more perturbed. The list included things like, “Hire a handyman for a day to do all those chores your husband never gets to.” “Go for a massage, at least a full half-hour appointment.” “Get a pedicure and buy at least two new colors of nail polish.” “Buy yourself a new piece of jewelry.” I added up the entire list—readers were encouraged to do it all—and even estimating low (like costume jewelry instead of the real thing), I came up with a total of nearly $1000.00.
A thousand dollars in one month would have made a mortgage payment, bought the groceries, AND paid the gasoline and electric bills when my children were still at home.
I am a mother--I understand that, as a general rule, mothers are overworked. I tell every young couple that they should realize from the get-go that every young mother is always tired from the double whammy of pregnancy and delivery, followed by the constant care of a little person who does not understand schedules yet, and every young father always feels stressed from the realization that he is now responsible not only for another body, but as spiritual leader of the home, another soul as well. In addition he is constantly bewildered by his young wife’s raging hormones, hormones she herself is disconcerted by and trying to control. This is the nature of the job you have taken upon yourselves. The whole process can be overwhelming. But no one has the right to bankrupt her family because she is feeling weary.
The other magazine article was deceptively similar. However, the words “almost free” and “for real moms” were also in the title. Rather than 31 items laid out on a calendar, one for every day of the month, it was a list of 23 to choose from. Evidently this writer understood that “real moms” have neither the time nor money to play every day. What did they include? “Free up the driveway and create some elaborate chalk art with your children.” “Catch fireflies, minnows, or other tinies in a clean jar; take a good long look and maybe a photo or two, then let them go.” “Declare a spa day with your kids, sipping smoothies by the (wading) pool, and giving each other manis and pedis.” “Draw a comic book together, then make copies so the kids can share them with their friends.” Are you noticing a difference here?
Now let me add this bit of information to the mix. One article was in Parenting. The other was in a quarterly publication put out for customers of the grocery chain Lucas worked for at the time. This is obvious, right? The “experts” understand that young parents first, live on a budget, and second, need encouragement and suggestions for how to spend more “quality” time (I hate that phrase!) with their children, teaching them such things as core values and priorities, and the other magazine was interested in boosting retail sales during a sagging economy. Wrong. Parenting is the magazine suggesting that all young mothers go out and spend a good chunk of the family’s income pampering themselves for a solid month. I am actually proud of Lucas’s company. If I still had children at home, we would have probably done quite a few of the things they suggested. The total cost for the whole list was about $10, and it also included some volunteer work.
Now is it any wonder that elders and preachers regularly warn the church about non-Christian counselors, therapists, and mentors? Is it any wonder that the average family is falling apart at the seams and couples are deep in debt? Can you understand why this is also affecting the church?
Parenting is a commitment just as much as Christianity is. God has entrusted precious souls to you, and He expects them returned in good shape, better in fact than when He gave them to you. A mother, or father for that matter, who folds when it requires sacrifice—major sacrifice—is not worthy of the name.
When you become a parent, it is surprising how fast the feelings overwhelm you. Love for your child is not just strong, it is fierce. At least it should be. It is exactly that fierceness that keeps you going when you lose sleep, when your body aches, and when your heart breaks because of the trials of parenting. Nothing in this world is worth losing your child or his soul. That is what the so-called experts need to be teaching us these days. We already have enough selfish people out there who want the title without doing the job.
Can a woman forget her sucking child that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb?…As a father pities his children, so Jehovah pities those who fear him…If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your father who is in Heaven, give good things to those that ask him, Isa 49:15; Psalm 103:13; Matt 7:11.