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We Good Christian Mothers

April 21, 2013
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“Oh my goodness gracious, you write a blog?!” A long forgotten acquaintance from college smiles at me in line at the grocery store. She holds a Starbucks cup in one hand, her red manicured nails wrapped around the cup. Her nails glare at me while we make meaningless chatter. “I have a blog too! Isn’t it fun?” she beams. I try really hard to match her enthusiasm. I can’t do it. I think I’m just staring at her. Awkward.

Of course she has a blog.

I force myself to ask her about her writing. You know, it’s just a place for me to share my thoughts. I force myself to ask her about her baby. Isn’t motherhood just the most incredible Godly calling? I force myself to listen with interest as she shares her thoughts on childbirth. Did you have a midwife? We labored at home and delivered with a midwife – it was incredible. I smile while she talks about the all-natural-homeopathic-homeo-everything-save-your-baby-and-the-rainforest-too cleaning products she uses. It’s really just about the best for your baby, right? I ask her questions about her homemade baby food. We have the best farm fresh produce around here, don’t you think? I try not to laugh as she tells me about the joys of cloth diapering. It was hard at first, but I’m so glad we stuck with it. Our conversation carries into the parking lot where we finally steer our shopping carts in different directions. We load up our cars and close the doors. Finally. Thank God.

Of course she has a blog.

I’m secretly pissed that she has a blog. It seems all good Christian mommies have blogs right now. And all of their blogs sound the same. The. Exact. Same.

I’m stewing as I drive home. Nothing this acquaintance told me is bad. In fact, it’s all really good. She sounds like she’s doing a good job and enjoying being a mother.  She sounds really happy. She sounds conscientious about her parenting choices. Good for her.

But she also sounds like a stereotype. A stereotype that I dread becoming, that I dread Christian women becoming. Everywhere I turn I feel like I see the same women – the other half of the evangelical power couple – and I can’t help but wonder if this is the standard for Christian motherhood. Make your baby food, do the Bradley method, cloth diaper, and write about it all in a blog with nice Christian words and nice Christian encouragement. Forget about sharing the real challenges. Forget about discussing the balance of work and motherhood, of sex and a baby that doesn’t sleep through the night, of finances, of the resentment women can secretly harbor toward our spouses, of getting to church when it’s our baby’s nap time, of actually seeing our friends, etc. etc. etc. Can we talk about that? Can someone pray for me over that? For the love of all things, can we ditch our MOPS meetings, go down to a local bar, and throw back a few beers while laughing over all this wonderful chaos?

I have a blog. I am a Christian. I am a mom. But I don’t think I fit into this blogging-Christian-Mommy stereotype.

I try to make my own baby food. I try really hard. I steam and I bake and I puree all weekend – only to put the spoon of green beans or sweet potatoes or oven-baked-oven-broiled-oven-mushed-Mommy-labored-on-this-for-hours-so-stinking-eat-it food in my son’s mouth, and watch him spit it right out. I freeze it, thaw it out a week later, and try again. He spits it all right out. He grimaces as the spoon comes near. He throws a lock-jawed hunger strike every time he even smells a trace of squash. He decided he loved sweet potatoes, only to violently throw them up two hours later. So yes, good Christian mommy, I’ve made my own baby food. Let me know your tips on how to get your baby to eat it.

I want to confess I haven’t stepped my foot through the door of our church since our son was born. True story. Not even joking you. I can’t figure out how to do it. When G was a newborn I was living in such a fog storm that I didn’t even think about going. Then he got older. Then came the not sleeping through the night. Then came the we’ll-take-sleep-whenever-he-offers-it syndrome, which meant sleeping during the day any time he/we could. We eventually found a little nap rhythm. A precious, sacred (albeit delicate) little nap rhythm. And you want to know when the naps actually occur? Right smack in the middle of Sunday morning church hour. 8-10:30am. Such a blissful time. The church bells ring in our honor. I wish I could get there to hear them live, I really do. But my baby is sleeping. Finally stinking sleeping. We opt to stay home.

I was the only mother who failed to bring in Valentine’s cards at daycare. THE ONLY MOTHER. Everyone else brought cards and lollipops and Cheerios for the other 4 month olds, but I didn’t. I figured babies didn’t do Valentine’s because they’re babies. They’re babies. But somehow I failed to show the love that day because my son had a completely stuffed bag and I had neglected to return the kindness. Christian. Mommy. FAIL.

I work full time. I mother full time. I sing praise songs with my 7-month-old while he gets dressed in the morning. His daddy and I put our hands over his head every night and pray together before bed. As much as I can, I talk to my son about Jesus and faith and loving other people more than you love yourself. And I try to make time to write about it on my Mommy-blog.

Friends, parenting is hard. Raising up a child in the Godly ways he should go is even harder. Let’s talk about that. Let’s be honest with ourselves. Let’s dispel the stereotypes that surround Christian women because, let me be frank, I think we have more to offer than that. I think we can do better.

I would be remiss to not mention some women who already do this. They are good, honest teachers, and women I respect. Please visit their words:

Three Crazy Munchkins

Momastery

MODG

 

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. April 21, 2013 11:34 am

    beautifully honest–absolutely love this — reality is real no matter how much others try to cover it up — by not telling the truth we present a false story — you are not doing that–good for you!

  2. April 21, 2013 12:06 pm

    Ugh, babies SHOULDN’T do valentines. They should focus on their over more, babylike pursuits, like being adorbs.

  3. cvheerden permalink
    April 21, 2013 1:12 pm

    Yeah!I I actually stopped doing stuff as soon as I saw it was a stereotype. Used to read Kathy Reichs crime novels, and after seeing a few desperate looking ladies reading them in waiting rooms etc, I dropped that author entirely and f. ound some more unknown “future big things” to read … There is so much comfort in the world wide motherhood club, but some stuff is really annoying. Thanks for sharing the same thoughts I always have hahaha!

  4. lacyblaine permalink
    April 21, 2013 6:25 pm

    Sub “good Christian mother” for “good Christian wife”, and BOOM. This hits me exactly where it hurts. I’m tired of perusing pretty marriages on the blogosphere, and I’m tired of holding mine to the same impossibly high standard. Thanks for your honesty!

  5. Sarah permalink
    April 22, 2013 6:47 am

    Sweet Lauren – please give yourself a break and make your life as easy as possible! Disposable diapers are the best thing you will every buy, Earth’s Best makes baby food that they LOVE, and I never went to Church during nap time either! God will forgive you and your baby will still be wonderful!!

  6. Cassie permalink
    April 22, 2013 2:27 pm

    YES. I’m glad it’s not only me who resents the beautiful-christian-newlywed-mom-pinterest-blog. Lauren, I can’t wait to get back to Boston and go to the bar with you…or at least a “family friendly” restaurant where we can order wine. 🙂

  7. April 22, 2013 5:39 pm

    I loved this entry!! And the fact that you don’t fit into that mold will keep me reading! Personally, I think it’s nuts to take Valentines cards to a daycare for babies. That’s nothing more than a status thing, maybe to see who spent the most money or worked the hardest to handmake the prettiest cards. That the babies couldn’t care less about. Unless they taste really good.

    That third from the last paragraph, though, the one about you and your husband putting your hands on your baby’s head and praying for him, that one took my breath away. That’s, what good parenting is all about. Hang the Valentines. Give me prayer and faith any day over homemade baby food. If that’s the measure of parenting, then my wife and I are failures, too. And maybe we are. But both of my kids know Jesus. Is there really anything else that matters?

    Cloth diapers. Pft!! 😀

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