I am reposting this (along with all my previous posts from my previous blog-from 2013 and before). The first time I published this post, it was misunderstood by some people who I love dearly and are excellent mothers. So my disclaimer of all disclaimers is that any blog I write is never to attack a friend. Nor is it to vent in a passive- aggressive manner so that friends and readers speculate and wonder if I am referring to them. Every blog is written about things I am processing through or have thoughts on. Yes, I’m writing as honestly as I know how to–attempting to completely own my own feelings and not wonder excessively if I will offend someone. If I obsess, I promise you I will close my blog account. What’s the point of a blog if you spend your whole time worrying about peoples’ responses? So, if something I write seems insensitive, please–by all means feel what you feel. But I hope you don’t internalize it and stay angry with me. Chances are maybe it just “triggered” something in your own heart or experience with life. I have found that if I step back and get to the root of what triggered me, then it’s really not the person that pushed my buttons that I need to focus on. It’s that there might be an area that is wounded or vulnerable that needs to be addressed. So….read on…and I’ll keep writing!
There’s a picture in my mind. Dueling swordsmen. Think Robin Hood or The Three Musketeers. Only the two who are in conflict are my own dueling desires.
The desire for marriage and a family. Versus the desire for freedom. Ok, relax. Single hood isn’t freedom, marriage isn’t bondage. I know that. Obviously if you are married, you’ve crossed over into what I refer to as the “unknown”. You have more wisdom and grace than I do in this arena. I see dimly. My view of things is obviously single sided, pun intended.
I’m fascinated with my own dueling opinions and feelings toward marriage. On one hand, I greatly desire and dream of my life mate, a best friend to share the journey with. On the other, I’m so used to singleness and making choices that don’t involve another human being in my transient life that I wonder how easy it would be to lay down that ‘freedom’ to take on a different life altogether. Where it’s not all about me anymore. My direction. My dreams. My hopes. My path. Where it’s about us now. Don’t get super-spiritual on me. Jesus is my husband and God is my Father so, no, it’s not ever really just about me. But I’m speaking on the practical level of single life as opposed to married life.
I want kids of my own, but having lots of married friends I have witnessed many of the realities of parenting. Buckle up. We are going for a ride through the mind of your unmarried friend. If you dare to keep reading through to the end, you may find an honest friend who is being real to the core. Disclaimer: the writer’s intent is not to attack or to find fault. Do not read to put a “positive” or “negative” assessment on the writer’s words. Read for the pure enjoyment of being invited into the writer’s journey.
I love kids. I live for the quirky and even embarrassing situations they put us in. I should know having nannied much of the past 10 years. Classic example and a cute little story to go along with this thought:
Nannying: 3 kids. Driving them to the library for story hour. On the way there, 6 year old Parker asks me why I’m not married. So, I tell the kids that I’m waiting for God to bring me a husband. I didn’t know his little mind was pondering that until…
We get to the library and he excitedly introduces me to his friend’s dad. With all the innocence of a child, introductions begin: “This is my nanny Liz. (Head down and sad face). She doesn’t have a husband.”
Little people are entertaining. Precious. You never know what will come forth from their brains purely for our enjoyment and entertainment.
That said, dueling opinion now approaches. ON GUARD! I’m relieved that at the end of the day I can hand them back over to the parents. My mom friends say that once I have kids of my own I will feel differently. Hmmm….. (deep breath as I tread into dangerous waters). H-O-N-E-S-T-L-Y? Motherhood looks plain unappealing to me sometimes. I write that not out of cynicism or suppressed desires to be a mother myself, but from many hours of childcare and child contact. Exhausted mothers. Frustrations etched into the parents’ faces because the kids are running around like “Where the wild things are”, without clear healthy boundaries. Husbands and wives having infrequent getaway times JUST FOR THEM. Babysitters? Who are they? I have one friend who makes it top priority to have weekly date nights with her husband. I know because when I lived with her and her family, she made sure to get in at least a few hours every weekend, with Super Nanny Liz to the rescue. She also has interests and pursuits outside of her children where she employs her hubby to watch the wee ones or (novel thought), hires a babysitter. She is my hero.
I want to tell many of my beloved friends who are mothering, that they are allowed to make time for themselves. Nap times or rest times (even just an hour a day) is ok. Mommy is allowed to have mommy time. Mommy NEEDS mommy time. Mommy can get very ANGRY and impatient when she isn’t having Mommy time. I feel very jealous over my friends’ hearts when I see that they suffer needlessly because they feel they aren’t allowed to have time away. Without little Johnny and little Jane. I’m saying an hour. Just an hour. Money should never be an excuse, because we live in a day of “play dates” and moms can take turns watching each others’ kids. Or, again, babysitting. A lost art. It’s too bad I can’t make a career out of watching all your kids. You’re too spread out geographically=) I would gladly watch your children so that you can have time away. I recommended to a young mom recently that though finances are tight, there are creative ways to “pay” a sitter. Pay with an experience. A family trip where you include and bless your single sitter with time in a family environment. How about having your sitter who may not enjoy cooking (uh hum…that would be me!) over for a meal?
I should be clear in stating that the parents are the guardians and protectors of their children. This means, it is healthy and wise to monitor where your children are and who is going to be entrusted with their little hearts.
On the flip side.
Not everyone knows a super nanny. My friend Sue IS the super nanny, in my eyes. She’s not British and she isn’t televised, but she should be teaching classes on childcare, parenting, loving well, and boundaries. I wish she would. I would sign up for the classes and recommend it to other parents. But, since we don’t all have super nanny in our life does this mean parents don’t pursue things that will exclude the child in any way? I sure hope not. I am planning on regular times to get away with my own heart when I’m a mom. “Just wait until YOU are a mom, Liz! You’ll feel differently.” Um…I don’t think that’s true. I think I will want to have time to myself so that I have something to offer the little ones that I am nurturing.
I wholeheartedly and with great confidence can say that the moms I know who are pursuing the dreams of their heart may have more to offer their little ones because their own hearts are thriving. I have seen this in action.
I believe in babysitters. I believe in mother’s day out. I am a believer. Can I get a witness?
Not a criticism, just an observation: why as a single woman do I have all these creative ideas for how to secure a babysitter when I don’t even NEED one? ha ha…
Growing up, my siblings and I loved having babysitters. We would ask my parents to go out together so we could have the babysitter come. Those are positive memories for me. Playing outside. Making up games. Races on piggy back. Even if my brother ended up busting his two front teeth out. Oops. But lighten up people! Your kids are going to be ok. They need the adventures that mom and dad can give them by opening up other avenues and experiences. I felt secure when mom and dad would go out. I didn’t feel abandoned and neglected. Quite the opposite. I felt secure because they were taking time for each other and putting a value on their relationship. When mom and dad are connecting, the children are more at rest
Here are the things that make me cringe when I think about what I may have to experience in order to be a mom. Making 3 meals a day FOREVER or at least until they are old enough to cook for themselves. I don’t enjoy cooking. I will do it because I have to. And I guess if you love to eat you have to cook from time to time. Whining, having to be with that same little person day in and day out, complaints, feeling like life is good if you have 10 minutes to yourself in the bathroom (until they come banging on the door). Another thing. Why do children have a particular button that they rarely fail to push? This button is called “oh Mommy is on the phone now. I was happy playing or watching veggie tales. Now I’m not happy because Mommy isn’t giving me all her attention so I will fuss until she gives into me and has to get OFF the phone.”
Seriously, friends. Do people ever think about these things before the babies begin coming and the life of parenting begins? Am I strange to think about these things? Maybe there’s bliss in not having too much info in advance. I wonder if every single woman past a certain age with lots of contact with kids has wrestled with this. Numerous friends had their first “go” with little people when they started having their own. My experience is different.
I confess I am most entertained with the surprising direction this blog has taken. I think I may be getting to the meat, the core of why I wrestle with the idea of motherhood. It’s because I don’t see enough babysitting going on! HA! So, I’ve run with a few different tangents, but maybe my real issue is not wanting to give up my identity and my dreams and desires in order to have family. I want those things to feed my family. I want my dreams to inspire my children to dream. I don’t want to turn into a haggard and worn mother who loses herself. This is a cost I don’t want to pay.. My heart is too valuable for that.
I have babysat some of your children. I am now taking your pledges to baby-sit mine. (When the time comes). Make sure I have your current phone numbers and assurance that you will help make date nights possible for me. And please…give me comments that will encourage the half of me that would like to be a mom. Let me know what’s really so great about it, besides early mornings.