The Mini-Rant: Raising An Inconvenience?

Okay, I know I am grumpy.  I have been coming off of Congestion and Throw-Up-Food-Poisoning-Land and am Permanently Residing in Perpetual-No-Sleep-Babyland, but boy,  have I got a small rant to get off my chest today.  And this is not directed at the wonderful, thoughtful mothers who read this blog!  Thank you to all of you who are working so hard to do the best by your children; my hat is off to you all.

But here goes:

Why is it we act as if having children is such an inconvenience?  I have a friend, one of the consultants over at Christopherus (www.christopherushomeschool.org) who has a great quote from somewhere that goes along the lines of, “You are not raising an inconvenience; you are raising a human being.”

So far this week I have heard the most horrifying stories about mothers who feel essentially inconvenienced by their babies and small children.  Small baby not sleeping through the night?  Hire a small cadre of nurses to help you sleep-train that baby.  Don’t want to have your newborn baby dependent and attached on you?  Don’t breastfeed, and get a nanny for that small baby even though you stay-at-home full-time.     I have more cases, but I will stop there.  In all the cases I have heard the mothers made comments such that breastfeeding was inconvenient and that the baby’s sleep patterns needed to be adjusted because they did not want to be up during the night.

(By the way, the above situations are all composites of things I have heard from varying sources the past few months and do not represent any one situation or mother or family.) 

The point is this, though.  Mature love and parenting involves you putting your child’s welfare ahead of your ownI have said it before, and I will say it again: children are messy, noisy, learning, immature.  They don’t sleep like an adult, they don’t reason like an adult, they take a long time to mature and develop (and 7, 8, 9, 10 year-olds are still little!  So I am talking 21 years of growth and development!).  They get sick, they laugh and cry at the wrong times, they fall down, they fight with each other and with you. 

They are also wonderful.  They will show you a spiritual world that you may have forgotten existed.  They will say the funniest things.  No one will love you like a sweet child

Adjusting to having an infant can be challenging; it can be difficult.  I am very sympathetic to mothers needing support and help.  The choices we make in these early years set the foundation for discipline, for the school years, and later for the teenaged years.  It should make one stop and at least consider different choices rather than just decide on something because it is easiest.  You cannot take your “before children life” and just add children and stir.   Having children should change your life, don’t you think?

As mothers and fathers, it is our privilege and our responsibility to provide our children with a childhood they hopefully won’t have to recover fromNo matter what we do, our children will go their own way as they mature and grow in early adulthood.  But, it is our job to give them the footing to start.  It is our job to guide.  And I don’t know about you, but the development of my children’s  physical, emotional, academic and character is worth me being inconvenienced any day or night of the week!

This is why I encourage you all to have a vision, to have a plan, to find joy in the small tasks of being a homemaker, to have a sense of humor to take parenting seriously but not to take your child so seriously, and to think about how you make the most mindful decisions for the WHOLE family.  Being a great parent and a mature parent does not mean there are no boundaries between you and your child or that all of your needs should be put on hold.  It is also your job to show your children what a loving marriage looks like, how women need friends and how we all have different interests and needs outside of being a mother. 

But it does mean that raising your child should be a wonderful journey with the best intentions for your child in mind.  Even if it requires a bit of sacrifice.  The best things often do.

On that note – Live BIG and love your children!

Carrie

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26 thoughts on “The Mini-Rant: Raising An Inconvenience?

  1. Great Post today Carrie! My husband and I talk about this several times a week — we’re constantly shocked at how many people around us seem “inconvenienced” by their own children.

    We went out on a date earlier this month to see the newest Twilight movie. Our children (ages 3 and 7) obviously stayed home with their grandparents to be baby-sat while mom and dad had a few hours of grown-up time. While we were sitting in the theatre watching what we consider to be a grown-up film and movie trailers, we were shocked to see three different mothers arrive to watch the movie with their small children in tow (all younger than my oldest) One of these mothers had a very little girl in blinky sneakers (I’m guessing 3-5 years old?) with her that she sent out to go to the bathroom by herself during the middle of the movie because she couldn’t be bothered to get up and accompany her own child to a public restroom in a very large, very crowded movie theatre. I was so upset I almost got out of my own seat to go have a word with her, sadly, it would not have done any good — She was busy feeding a super-size soda to her 1/5-2 year old son.

    Wish I’d had a copy of this blog post printed out in my purse to hand to her as we left the theatre!

  2. Boy did you deliver a serious reality check to me today. My two year old has been really tough lately, has always been “high need,” which is incredibly rewarding but oh-so-exhausting.

    I didn’t realize until I read this, but this is the attitude I’ve been taking… which I’m sure has been the real creator of our recent battles.

    So, today I took a nap instead of sitting on the computer during hers, have taken some deep breaths, and am treating my daughter like a person again :)

    • Aw, Kendra, please be kind to yourself…It is easy to get there, and raising a toddler is tiring! I have some great back posts for you about Parenting Exhaustion and toddlerhood stages…also one on parenting the high-needs older child..You might have to use the search engine to find them :)
      Many, many blessings!
      Carrie

  3. Carrie,

    Like MaryLea, my husband and I discuss this frequently. We, too, are astounded by how so many parents we come in contact with seem completely inconvenienced by their children. Independence can’t come soon enough for so many.

    And while I agree with you that “girl time” is so important to keep us sane, I find myself increasingly frustrated and appalled by the sheer number of women who choose to take “girls’ weekends” (or even vacations) that are reminiscent of what a college spring-break trip would be like. I’ve even heard of one who was anxious to get her baby weaned before she went so she wouldn’t have to worry about pumping while she was gone. Like I said, I’m all for a “girls’ night out” or something similar, but what I hear is the kind of stuff that the “What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas” commercials are all about. And the little ones suffer separation from Mom.

    Sorry to rant on my own, but this is a sore subject!

    • I agree with you, Anonymous! I think these girls weekends and things are things to wait until your children are older. Sorry, just how I see it. Children are only little and wanting mommy once. It really is only a short time until they can be shared with others. :)

      Many blessings,
      Carrie

  4. Here Here!

    Having just been told that I shouldn’t let my two week old son ‘ruin my life’ and I should just leave him and my three older children with an unknown baby sitter so I can attend a wedding that children are not invited to because ‘children shouldn’t change your life’….

    Well lets just say I am so with you on this… my children changed my life totally…. every one of them… for the better!!!!

  5. I miss those “middle of the night” evenings snuggled closely with my little boys nursing. I still have them in my bed Sasha almost 8 and Sania 5 and they do wake up for water ever now and then and of course those warm cuddles.. I still bath with them every night..

    I love that fact that we live on a farm and I don’t have to worry about how much noise my boys make, they have all the freedom they want.

    These are special times,, that pass by way too fast.

    Well written Carrie.

  6. I started to type but just deleted a specific story of one parent’s rant against her children and kids in general that occurred in front of my youngest, who’s four (you never know who’s reading here…. :). But suffice to say I was shocked she held her own children in such contempt and that she would toss off her remarks while my child was listening.

    My three kids are very close in age, and the youngest has several life-threatening food allergies, so “inconvenienced” has been my middle name for a long time now. I’m no saint, and I do my share of complaining and self-pity. But I just don’t get parents who speak of their children as though they are obstacles to getting on with “real life.” Why, oh why, didn’t they think things through before having these kids in the first place? And if the reality caught them by surprise–as did my child’s food allergies–DEAL with it!

    Again, not trying to get on my high horse, because it’s not all sunshine and rainbows in my home. I just worry about the impact of this selfishness–because that’s what it is, pure and simple–on our children’s generation.

  7. I wholeheartedly agree! I get so frustrated and even disgusted with conversations about “can’t wait until summer is over because I can’t stand my kids” and seeing kids in baby buckets for literally hours without being held!
    Don’t have em if you don’t want to raise em ;)
    Thanks for a great post!

  8. Thanks so much for this post. So many days, after the kids are in bed and dishes are done, I come to your blog for something, maybe inspiration, or just something to help me feel better about my role as a mother to my children. So many times you give me a new way to look at things, and I thank you. :)

    Lately I’ve been feeling totally drained and I keep trying to think of ways to be more positive, and all I end up wanting is…I don’t know. A day off? :) haha. I still nurse my 14 month old every 2-3 hours, so I know a day off won’t happen for awhile, but still, it is good for me to be reminded that this season of my life is so important, especially to my almost three year old and my one year old.

    Thanks Carrie.

  9. Hi Carrie
    I so agree with you.
    And my heart breaks for the children who must sense this feeling of inconvenience.

  10. Hi Carrie

    Love your post! Your thoughts are needed! My children have never been an inconvenience. However, My children will not let me leave them for one second, especially my 4 year old. We have stayed 1 night a week for the last 3 years at grandma and grandads and yet she still will not willingly stay with them or in fact her father. She loves these people dearly, but just won’t let me go out on my own. These people are all very upset and put the pressure on me that she should be able to be left with carers that love her. They are kinda saying that this is my fault.

    Now I’m not talking about having ‘girls nights out’ but general day to day shopping and errands, which you strongly suggest that little children should not accompany you. My daugher is a real handful taking on these trips and occassionally it would be nice to get these errands done on my own.

    This also means that in 4 years I have NEVER had a break from my kids and boy I could really use a half day at the beauty parlour to get my hair done and generally get myself presentable again!

    What do I do? i have tried everything imaginable for her to stay with grandma and let me tell you that grandma is really special and has lots of great ideas. So do I just walk out the door and don’t look back while listening to the intense screaming? Or do I continue on this path and someday it will all end?

    I love spending every day and every minute with my kids, but I really do need to have a little time to myself….what can I do.

    Thanks

    Vicki

  11. I spend my days with the most amazing and wonderful people in the universe, and they want nothing more than to be with me.

    realizing this has helped me navigate trying times and focus clearly on what is truly important to me and what can go undone.

    ps. being the only one with children in many of my circles for many years, I’ve missed many weddings, showers, and graduations, I’m sure these women will understand as the years come one and they have little ones of there own.

  12. Oh it is so refreshing to hear someone else articulate so well what I believe to be true. It’s very hard to always be the ‘odd Mamma’ in the room. Every once in a while, while discussions of CIO methods or nannies or kid-free partying (one recent one; plastic surgery to get a pre-baby body back!) swirl around a room, I wonder why I fight so hard and make thing so ‘difficult’ for myself.

    Then I look at my little ones’ upturned faces and feel their small hands and I remind myself that I’m not really being inconvenienced by my children; I’m being blessed by them. I have to believe that I somehow have my eyes wider open or something because the picture just looks so different to me than it seems to to others.

    It is a lonely feeling, though, so I’m glad you are here.

  13. This is a great post. My sister and I have totally different styles of parenting…and as such, we don’t have much in common to talk about (we aren’t that close anyway)

    I’m so tempted to forward this to her…but I don’t think she would even read it. LOL

    My husband and I talk a lot about this…it’s hard, but so rewarding.

    Emerson (3) was 7 weeks early and a HIGH needs baby. Nigel (~3mths) is soooooooooooo different wow!

  14. Vicki

    it isn’t your fault…some kids are very attached to their mama

    my 3 year old won’t willing stay with papa (cries when I leave), but will stay with the nanny…I think she likes women care givers. And papa is great and she loves her papa

    I have no advice…but this too shall pass (I say that a LOT)

  15. Beautiful words Carrie! You always put into words so well what is at the core of all of our hearts :) Thank you for this wonderful post :)xxx

  16. Thanks for your kind words, Carrie. I’ve actually been reading back through some of those posts already, as I’ve been going back through your “tags.”

    I’m amazed at the quantity and quality of the writing you’ve produced since the beginning of your blog!

  17. I’ve been thinking about this, Carrie. I find all of this outrageous, but then I see small doses of “inconvenience” everywhere. I read the comments that people write on your postings and it seems like a lot of parents struggle with enjoying (really enjoying) their children. A mom recently said to me that she kept her 2 year old son home from daycare the other day only to remember why she put him in there full time: he exhausts her. I said to her, yes, of course they’re exhausting, and they’re so lovely, too. And I wanted to say to her that she’s also missing out on so so much. You’ve probably written about this (I’m also thinking of that post titled something like “Help, I don’t like my child right now.”) We as parents are in a different life cycle, particularly those of us in our 30s or 40s with young children, and not everyone can easily become synchronized with their children in varying life cycles or temperment. I wonder if you might eventually have some thoughts on this: how to help parents who struggle to connect with their child. Perhaps we will hear from you on this when you start talking about “Hold On To Your Kids.”

  18. It took me a while to finally sit and read through my blog roll on reader. After reading this post, I knew why it needed to wait. Today I felt as if I was constantly correcting my boys and feeling a bit defeated. Something needs to change, because I am spent… that is what I said to my husband and then I thought, we created them! Where did we go wrong?

    In reality, nothing is wrong, they are children, small children growing and exploring their personality within our family walls. They are doing what they are supposed to do. I am doing what I am supposed to do, check my parenting and figuring out what needs to change to accommodate their growing needs. Thank you for this post. I was reminded this is a process with a greater vision ahead for our mother earth and we are all working towards the greater good!

  19. Pingback: The Second and Third Nights of Christmas: Sacrifice and Generosity « The Parenting Passageway

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