As a mother of six, I know what it’s like to want a break from little people. I know that full body sigh that emanates from your very core, compelling your neck to fall back and your eyes to close as it spreads into a full slow neck circle mixed with audible sounds escaping from within … especially noticeable right after dropping off your children or waving goodbye to them as you make your way elsewhere.
I also know that children – our own children – begin with us and adjust best when nurtured into a strong family unit. Why has society been allowed to take the mother’s natural, innate role to care for and protect her children and reimagine it as a preference or choice dependent on how the woman feels? Notwithstanding psychological or criminal issues – which make up a very small percentage of expectant mothers – moms have nine months to prepare to do the job they signed up for when they chose to become pregnant. So why the free pass to push off that responsibility – our offspring – onto someone else?
Is it fair to say that any baby or child that spends more waking hours with someone else than with their mother is being raised by others? Is it fair to say that any mother that spends more hours doing something else, like work, hobbies, entertainment, than she spends with, in, or around her own offspring is not the one raising that offspring? Longer school days has added to this problem of society raising our children, and so too has materialism, the blurry lines between want and need, and culture’s definition of poverty and success. Believe me, as my husband supported our family of eight while I stayed home with the kids, we very quickly learned the difference between true necessity and “that would be nice to have”.
So, when I say it is our jobs as mothers to be the main and majority caretaker of our own children, it is not without careful consideration of what that entails: the never-ending workload, the diligent teaching and training, and the myriad of sacrifices. Of course, as our children become teens, their needs change; but, that doesn’t negate their need for parental supervision. In fact, some may argue that the teen years are precisely the time when parental influence and presence is most needed.
Think of it this way, if someone saw a toddler or preteen wandering about or left home unattended, they would be more inclined to investigate to be sure the child was safe and supervised. The same is not true for a teen. Teens can too easily be overlooked with the assumption they or their parents know what is happening in their lives. Neighbors, outsiders, and onlookers are far less likely to inject themselves into the life of an unknown teen. Therefore, the onus is left to the parents to personally supervise or enlist others to assist in doing so.
You can’t be on both sides of the fence: what is in our bodies is our choice, our responsibility, and ours alone. Yet, many of those same babies are given over for up to 10 hours a day to be someone else’s responsibility instead of the mother’s. Is that reasonable? With much privilege comes much responsibility. With a child comes many sacrifices, including your time, feelings, money, possessions, goals, and aspirations. That’s just the way it is. If you’re not down with that, maybe having children should not be on your bucket list.
No one said it would be easy. In fact, most say the very opposite. Yet, every day over 10,000 babies are born in the United States, with well over half heading into daycare within the first 8 weeks of life outside of the only person they’ve ever known. What does that say about our society and the value we place on babies and families. Have mothers been devalued to the point of becoming optional, interchangeable, and easily replaceable? Is the family still the basic building block of society?
On a regular basis, turning your newborn over to daycare is done as a foregone conclusion. That’s just what you do. If mothers knew they would have to be the one to care for their own children for the first year or two or three, would that change the number of births or pregnancy terminations? If mass daycare and mass abortion were not booming, money-making industries, do you think people would give more thought to whether or not to get pregnant and have a child? Do you think people would attempt to plan out their lives differently?
#notAfraidToThink #strengthenTheFamily #motherhood