Cultural Shifts, Our Minds, Our Hearts
and Christian Motherhood
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:23
Cultural shifts are interesting to me. So many times we just accept what we are fed. We don’t question it until one day, somehow our eyes are opened. For the past few years my husband and I have noticed that there has been a general trend in our society to disrespect men. Men seemed to be fair game to slander and mock. If you watch most TV shows you will notice this phenomenon – from Disney to Prime Time you will see dads and husbands who are the butt of the joke. The guy that never knows what is going on with an all-knowing and wise wife. Even in commercials, you will find the dad who is too out of touch to take care of his children. They are harassed and patronized by their wives and children. This has been going on for so long, a quick Google search will yield many results on this subject, including this article from CNN.
Fast forward to a few months ago when I realized how another thought had crept into our society and permeated it. This thought is equally disturbing, to me. It is the idea that children are a huge burden. The idea that you must not be right in the head to have more than 2 and to want to have a big family is positively outrageous. This idea was outwardly spoken to me as one woman asked if I was “feeling okay” because I had soon-to-be 6 kids. As if the decision to have that many meant that I was off my rocker.
It seems that this has transferred not only from the general population, but to Christians, as well. We seem to have openly accepted the fact that children are so much of a burden that many joke openly about vasectomies and birth control – even in church! This is unsettling to me, as it is opposes what the word of God says. “Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.” Psalm 127:3 This notion of children being a burden isn’t a new idea – it waxes and wanes through the generations and throughout time. Just recently, though, it has gained momentum. Now it isn’t just the idea of unwanted babies – but actually unwelcomed children.
It seems that more and more people are outwardly acknowledging that many people are using school as a “free” babysitting service – a vacation of sorts. A vacation from the burden that children have become. From the Staples commercial that features a dad shopping with his two kids for back to school supplies, the song playing quite loudly in the background is “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”. Or maybe the recent Kmart commercial. You know the one…the person in the ad tells the kids not to worry — that it is not a “back to school ad” but then goes on to say, “These are supplies that bring parents relaxation and freedom from entertaining their children.” It seems pretty blatant that the growing trend is the idea that sending our kids off to school is the biggest gift a parent could receive. To take it a step further, it seems to imply that parents don’t really want to be around their kids. Perhaps the burden of raising children has proven too difficult to our culture and getting a break for 7-8 hours is a blissful one.
So, imagine my even bigger surprise when my husband asked me last week if I had seen an article. This particular article was all about how hundreds of moms in a town in SC go out for drinks after dropping their kids off for school as a first day celebration. At 8:00 in the morning. That’s right. At 8 a.m. these moms are drinking. “The first cork is popped before 8 a.m. By 9, dozens of bottles have already clinked their way into the recycling bin,” the article reads.
As I read the article I couldn’t figure out if these moms were drinking to ease the pain of missing their kids or if it was more out of the joy of escaping their kids for a few hours out of the day. Only one of the moms was quoted as saying, “How do these people who send their children off to college deal with that? Because I just dropped my kid off at school and I’m gonna see him in a few hours, and I’m already struggling.” The reporter goes on to say, “For stay-at-home moms who spent the summer entertaining housefuls of children, it’s a celebration of sorts: The first time in months that they’ve had social interaction with other adults without a kid hanging on their leg.”
So as I continued reading, not sure how to comprehend that this wasn’t some sort of satire but a real article in a real newspaper, I saw the ending which left me almost falling off my chair. “Yeah, there aren’t going to be fresh-baked cookies for my kids when they get home from school today…Come back at about 2 o’clock, and you’ll get a whole different story from us.” I’m not sure how to even interpret this. This is real life. Our reality is very clear: women have become so filled with joy to not have the responsibility of their children rest on them during the school day, that the obvious choice is to go get drunk.
I understand that many encourage mothers to take “me time” or “mommy time” so that they don’t get burned out. This, however, seemed to be taking this idea a step too far. How have these beliefs crept in and made their home in our pews, among our homes, in our hearts? Then I open up the Word to Titus 2, and I read:
…Teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God. Titus 2:3-5
Everything feels upside down and I feel confused. Then I remember the words written in Isaiah, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness…” Isaiah 5:20 These cultural shifts happen right under our noses. We don’t see it happening and we might find ourselves swept up in it.
How have we accepted that children are a burden? How have we okayed the idea that we just need to get by. The idea that we should do whatever we need to, just to make it through motherhood. I’m not going to lie. Motherhood is hard. I’ve said it over and over again. We need to share our struggles, lift each other up in prayer – carry each other’s burdens! But let’s not accept this idea that we just need to wish away the hours until our kids are old enough to take care of themselves. That isn’t love.
Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” We should care about one another enough to rebuke them when their ideas do not line up with the Word of God.
With each generation, there will be shifts, like waves in the ocean. Rise above them. Let’s not fall prey to false notions and beliefs that leak into our society, but let’s be wise and prayerful, discerning of the truth.