Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Take a Break!

Please read past my next statement, it's not as bad as it sounds.  I think we may have overglorified motherhood just a little bit.  Now, allow me to explain.  I see often, especially on facebook, mothers praising their husbands for being a good father.  Sounds like a good thing, right?  Well, it is.  Everyone likes some praise now and then.  But here is my point.  I think that in the past several years, we have made parenthood to be this "mom is the main one in charge and the dad is just there to support us financially and fix things."  When I see things like, "My husband is the best daddy.  He took the kids here, and there, and did this and that, and didn't even complain."  All I can think is...okay, so he is really just doing what a parent does.  Mothers are expected to do everything: cook, clean, transport, help with homework, among many other family and household responsibilities, and we are expected to do it without complaint and with a constant smile on our face, even though sometimes we are so overwhelmed that we really just want to break down and cry (someone tell me I am not the only one, please).  But if the daddy does it for one day, he is just going above and beyond his responsibility.  Please do not think I am daddy bashing.  I AM NOT.  Daddies rock!  Mommies rock!  But you know what really rocks?  When mommy and daddy are a team.  Both mom and dad are equally parents of those kids, they should equally be able to handle the responsibility.

I can't wait to see the movie "Mom's Night Out"  because it just looks plain funny, and I get a little weepy from the previews and I am one of those sick people that love to cry in movies.  But here is what bothers me.  It makes daddies out to be idiots that cannot take care of their children. And I know the movie is fiction. I know it is not real.  But sadly, I think that is how we view daddies these days.  Moms seem to think that they are the only ones capable of taking care of our children.  That is just not true.
When I say that I think we have overglorified motherhood, I do not mean that we have made motherhood out to be more important than it really is.  Motherhood is one of the most important "jobs" anyone will ever have.  But you know what?  Fatherhood is just as important.  They are equal. And I understand the different roles of mothers and fathers.  When I say that I think we have overglorified motherhood, in our society, we have made motherhood out to be this sort of Wonder Woman who can do everything, be everything, and handle everything with no one's help, and never have a bad day.  That is just exhausting!  I can't do it.  I don't think that makes me less of a mother or wife.  I wonder if I am just one of the few who are actually honest.  What has happened in the process is that we have "dumbed down", if you will, the role of the father.  Mothers and fathers are equally capable of taking care of the kids. That doesn't mean they do everything the same way.  It just means they are both able.  If being a mother is one of the most important jobs, isn't it important to bring our very best?  Sometimes that means that I need to go and take care of myself for a little bit.  FORGET the idea that it is a selfish thought.  It is not.  Sometimes, we just have to rest, and take some time when no one is asking for something as soon as our rears hit the couch, or there isn't a little kid waiting outside your shower when there is a daddy in the living room perfectly capable of fulfilling that sweet child's request.  It's okay to take a weekend where you don't have to look forward to bedtime so you can finally relax a little.  Thinking that your house will crumble to the ground if you go away for the night, or that is being selfish!

 I came to this realization when Angelina was about 2.  I was in desperate need of a break.  So I went on a little mini vacay.  I had been training Angelina to sleep in her own bed and to be able to fall asleep without me there with her.  And it was successful.  When I got back, I found out that Ralph had laid down with her every night and my hard training was out the window in just a few nights.  But you know what?  We got through it.  I had a wonderful time, and Angelina is in no way scarred from that.  And I get away as often as I possibly can now.  It's okay if they eat mac & cheese and hot dogs everyday.  It doesn't matter if your kid misses his soccer game or a birthday party, or go to bed later than you would like and not have a bath.

Mommies, relinquish some of your control and relax.  Your husband is completely capable of taking care of your children for a few hours, and yes, even a whole weekend.  If they are not, then I just have to say it....It is all your fault.  Daddy may not do things exactly how you do them, but it doesn't matter.  The house may be a mess, their meals may not be completely balanced, but one thing is certain, daddy loves and cares for those babies just as much as you do, and he will keep them safe.  I think my kids really love it when I go out of town.  I think they just have more fun with daddy.   It will not ruin your children.  But an exhausted mommy who can never get a break because she can't hand over the responsibilities for a little while so you can get some R&R is not good.   Often, i can tell when a mother is smiling through held back tears.  I've been there.  It is an explosion waiting to happen.

Moms, I want you to take a deep breath and let it out.  We don't have to be everything to everybody at all times.  The truth is that we can't.  Are we to be servants?  Yes, we are.  But not only mothers are called to be servants.  Everyone who is a follower of Christ is called to be a servant, that means daddy too.

Philippians 2:14-15 is always a good reminder to do everything with a good attitude:
Do everything without grumbling or arguing,  so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”

But it is really hard to honestly do everything with grumbling when you literally have to do everything by yourself.  You can fake a good attitude, while internally, you are ready to burst.  Parenthood is a partnership.  You are both on the same side.  You both are always going to look out for the best interest of your children.  Embrace the different styles of parenting that you and your spouse have.  Be open to learn from each other.  Neither of you are the perfect parent, but together, you are both the perfect parents for your children.