The Revolutionary Manifesto

For the three of you who read our pre-Christmas post I will be repeating myself here, but for the rest of you who apparently found celebrating with family, eagerly anticipating the birth of Christ to be more important than The Mommy Revolution, this’ll be some fun news.

This Tuesday (Jan. 13), Carla and I will be on Moody Radio’s Midday Connection at noon (CST). The Revolution has made it to Moody, people. This is big. You need to listen. You need to call in. And then you’ll need to report back to us.

But anyway, we thought in honor of our big, national Revolutionary radio debut, we really ought to officially publish the core values that the Mommy Revolution holds near and dear.

Up until this point, we’ve sort of alluded to them, but never really outlined them. Well, we outlined them many months ago at La Spiaza coffee shop in Wheaton, Illinois, while simultaneously irritating patrons because we kept switching tables as ones with better access to outlets became available. But, we’ve never made them public.

So, without further ado, here they are. What the Mommy Revolution is all about and what we believe—at least about motherhood. We want to know what you believe, too–about what it means to be a mom, about what you wish could be different, about your visions of motherhood. So please throw in some of your revolutionary ideas as well.

We believe that:

  • Both mothers and children should thrive in the parent/child relationship.
  • A women doesn’t stop having dreams when she starts raising children.
  • Women need emotional support from other women.
  • Mothers can do anything we want to, but we don’t have to do everything well.
  • There is something good to be found even in the most difficult parenting stages.
  • Motherhood is not as all-important as we think it is. We are one of the many factors that shape our children. We need to be the best moms we can be while recognizing that we are not the centers of the universe.
  • Parenting is collaborative, not competitive. None of us can—or should—do it alone.
  • Life is not all about you, but it’s not all about your kids, either.
  • Only mothers get to define what our motherhood looks like.
  • Motherhood changes who we are, but it doesn’t define who we are.
  • There is more than one way to parent well.
  • Motherhood is just part of a whole and integrated life.
  • A good mom provides food, shelter, clothing, love, support, encouragement, and all the honesty, wisdom, and kindness she can. Everything else—rides the to mall, attendance at soccer games, participation in endless rounds of Pretty Pretty Princess—is gravy.

We want to create a culture of motherhood in which:

  • Women make decisions that feel right for us and our families.
  • Good fathers are part of the parenting equation. That means they get credit for the work they do and the unique presence they have in the lives of our children. It means we stop believing they can’t parent as well as we can. Being revolutionary moms means making room for revolutionary dads. 
  • Women support each other instead of critique each other.
  • The fact that we have children doesn’t lead to assumptions about who we are or what we do.
  • Our decisions are driven by the emotional and physical well-being of every member of the family–not just the kids and not just the parents.
  • Our children are one of the many gifts we give to the world.
  • It’s okay to miss the way we lived before we had children.
  • Women are encouraged to figure out what we are passionate about and supported by our families and friends as we live out those passions.

Whatcha think? Agree? Disagree? Worried for our very souls? Please discuss.

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35 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Robyn on January 8, 2009 at 10:47 am

    I think that this is the best articulation of my own values and beliefs that I have ever read. Where do I sign up?

    Reply

  2. Posted by David on January 8, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Sounds good to me. Fix them typos and you’re rolling!

    Reply

  3. Posted by Heather on January 8, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    This is great. (two typos that I noticed…bullet 4 and 8 of culture outline.)

    Thank you Carla and Caryn.

    This is my biggie – “Motherhood is not as all-important as we think it is.” I’ve felt this for years, even before I was a mom. It’s important, but come on. 😉

    Reply

  4. Posted by Carla on January 8, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Didn’t you people read the one about not doing everything well?

    Reply

  5. And now we need a Typo Manifesto. If you see a typo, you must point it out exactly as to not drive the writers’ nuts. Even as an editor, I always hated those exercises where you had to find 10 errors. I could always only find 9. Too much pressure…. Now back to mom stuff!

    Reply

  6. Posted by Carla on January 8, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    I do feel the need to clarify one one the items up there. The point about fathers is not there to suggest that single moms better go get themselves a man. Rather, it’s there so that those of us who are raising our children in partnership with their fathers remember to make room for Daddy as it were.

    The Revolution is not just for married mothers and it’s not just for mothers. We know a lot of dads who are the primary caregivers in the family and we know they face a lot of the same issues and pressures women face as parents. We think that they can be an immensely helpful voice in this conversation.

    Reply

  7. Good points, Carla. Is it obnoxious to paste some of the Facebook comments I’ve gotten here? Hope not, because I’m about to (I kept the names off since I figured if they wanted to say so publically, they would’ve):

    “SO many good things in there! I kept saying (in my head, of course!) Yep….right on….how true! Especially liked the point “Motherhood changes who we are but doesn’t (or shouldn’t!) define who we are.” It’s very easy to get lost in this mothering business. And, for the record, I only found one typo. :-)”

    “Caryn, I love The Mommy Revolution and your manifesto and I want to tell all of my mom friends about it. Everyone’s comments about the “mom body” were interesting. I have tons of things I ponder about as a mom and one of these days I’ll have to chime in. ”

    “Well I have to say that this manifesto is marvelous and very healthy (and I have a maternal-child nursing masters and am a conservative Christian0…..and your manifesto far surpasses the nonsense of the True Woman manifesto.”

    Reply

  8. Posted by Cindy on January 8, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Love it, love it, love it. Didn’t even notice the typos, and I usually do.

    I like the part about mothers being supportive, not critical. I remember when I got my first son at 7 weeks of age, and a church friend had a six-month-old. She constantly was comparing their size and weight and developmental milestones! Only the beginning.

    It’s harder now that mine are almost grown. I see other people’s kids being successful on a grand scale and shrivel up inside when I think about the struggles my kids have.

    So I find your manifesto enormously encouraging.

    Reply

  9. Posted by April Grabanski on January 8, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    I am really enjoying these posts as well! It is wonderful to have some no-guilt words to read while doing the hardest job of my life. I’d always wanted children, and I’ve had a fair amount of experience working with them as a teacher, childcare worker, and children’s minister – but I never really had an idea of how hard mothering would be until I became one. I am often overwhelmed by my active, high-maintenance son and feel guilty for not absolutely loving every minute of parenting. It is good to know I am not alone in the journey of imperfect motherhood. Thanks for the encouragement!

    Reply

  10. Posted by Steve B. on January 8, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    Dude here, just wanting to say that all of the statements in your “manifesto” echo my own thoughts and beliefs about motherhood. I will however, disagree with the statement that motherhood is not as all-important as you think it is. True, you are not the center of the universe, but you are the center of your child’s/children’s universe. I have the rare privilege of spending a significant amount of time with our daughter each day and although we have a uniquely strong bond, she forgets my name as soon as mom walks through the door and for this, I could not be more thrilled. Let me close by throwing out a few ideas from a dad’s point of view:

    Wives have every right to expect their husbands to be an equal part of the parenting team and conversely, should not act shocked when they are.

    There is nothing more beautiful than a pregnant wife.

    Having children changes everything, but only for the better.

    Never underestimate your kids’ ability to adapt to your lifestyle.

    I will listen attentively to your Moody broadcast, but probably won’t call in, as Moody tends to screen their calls.

    Reply

  11. Posted by Cindy Schwerdtfeger on January 8, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    Steve, I have to agree that being a mom is very important and that we as parents are the center of their universe. If we don’t influence them with our values, they will take on values that we as parents may not feel appropriate. It is good for them to be around other values, but then we need to have intentional conversations to evaluate those values. I do have to say that I agree that moms can have dreams, passions and other roles outside of being a mom. For years, I felt like I was a bad mother just because I worked outside the home and my children were being raised by the daycare provider & not me. Thanks for helping validate my ‘other roles’!

    Reply

  12. Posted by Steve B. on January 8, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    Our daughter “did time” in daycare as well, and although it was a very positive experience, our daycare provider did not raise her, we did. We do what we have to do and I think that our kids understand that from an early age. My wife is in a “Working Moms” small group at church and it is crucial that she is able to share her struggle with this role with others.

    Reply

  13. I knew there was a reason I liked you gals! Good stuff. And maybe when kids are little we are the center of their universe, but the goal of parenting is to work yourself out of a job. I want to launch my kids into their own orbit–of which I hope I’ll always be a part, but my role will change over the years.

    Reply

  14. Posted by Stacy B. on January 8, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    My favorite line: “Being revolutionary moms means making room for revolutionary dads.” We tended to do everything “off step” of what was expected by pretty much everyone in our lives (married @ 21 while still in college, kids right away [bad medical advice], off to seminary with 2 babies, I worked full-time while Kerry attended seminary full-time).

    I have always said that my children are the best that they are because their dad was their primary care-giver when they were toddlers. We were fortunate to avoid daycare until the kids were 3 and 4 years old…and when they went, they knew exactly who “raised them” and who “taught school to them.” I have to say this – I don’t know how moms raise toddlers without a present male figure. I am far too emotionally drawn in (sadness, anger, pity, frustration) to situations to be able to deal with the toddler stage. Side note: we now have teenagers (the same ones who were toddlers), and they are starting to remind me of their toddler selves!

    Anyway – I have digressed. The point is this: Kerry and I didn’t divide up roles, we didn’t think anyone raised the kids alone, and we certainly are aware that it was a partnership. I can’t imagine it any other way; however, I watch it in family systems all the time, and it hurts me. No one is worse off than the kids in those situations, but both of the parents are missing out on a great partnership in the best “company” or “project” that they will ever undertake.

    Also – as an English teacher, I must say something about the typo issue: KEEP MAKING MISTAKES! 🙂 It gives those of us who can’t sleep at night something to obsess about. 🙂 [insert tongue against cheek]

    Reply

  15. Posted by Carla on January 9, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    This is a comment from our friend Heidi. I moved it from a different part of the site and have no idea how to make it show up here other than to cut and paste. But I thought Heidi had great things to say and wanted to make sure others got to read it.

    From Heidi:
    Submitted on 2009/01/08 at 2:53pm
    I was reading your manifesto and wanted to “talk” about something. While I agree motherhood “is a part of a whole integrated life” and “does not define us”, as a stay-at-home mom of 3 small kids at home (preschooler, toddler and newborn), motherhood DOES define me and it takes up most of my energy right now. I also just had surgery and am in a “Christmas coma”. I AM the “baby’s everything” – he wouldn’t survive if I wasn’t a Mommy to him right now. Most days I’m trying to keep my head above water and am jealous you guys have even the time to have jobs and “be something” besides a mom. That is great for you.

    I know this is just a phase of life and I know I can be more and do more, but right now I feel so “stuck”. I’m only doing the mothering “basics” and can’t even begin to figure out how I’d get one of them to a soccer game. In future blogs talk about this more so those of us who feel stuck can see the light. HOW do other moms with 3 kids at home do it?! Or are they feeling so sapped like me?

    BTW, I LOVE being a mom and while tired and “stuck”, I don’t think I really do want to do anything else right now. I just want to enjoy the time I have with them and work or “another me” will always be there again some day in the years to come. Do you guys (you personally) think it is OK if I am “just a mom” and maybe that is all I’ll ever be or hope to be for the next 3-4 years? I’m kind of getting a vibe from you that you might think I’m wierd or something if I do let my motherhood define me.

    Thanks!

    Reply

  16. Posted by Carla on January 9, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    Here’s my response to Heidi:

    Submitted on 2009/01/08 at 10:05pm
    Heidi,

    I can speak for both of us when I say we know exactly how you feel. We are both fried out, stressed out, and have day after day after day where we don’t know how we’re going to make it through the next hour. And we don’t think you’re the least bit weird because we love being moms, too.

    Two winters ago, when my youngest was almost 2, I felt as stuck as I ever have. It was a terrible five or six months of wondering if I’d ever get to make another decision for myself, if I’d ever get to finish a thought much less a project. I have had a child in the “under-4″ stage for 12 years and there have been days when I have forgotten that I ever knew anything else. Even now I don’t have plans or dreams because I can’t imagine having the time or the energy for anything else. But I feel like the fog is lifting, like the day is coming when I will have daily stretches of time when I can work or create or just think. That day is still a couple of years away, but it is on the horizon at last.

    I know Caryn has gone through the same kind of rut–and that’s what it is, a rut. In other words, it isn’t the whole path or even the bulk of it. It’s a stretch of road that’s bumpy and rough, but it really does get better.

    You’re right that it’s hard to be defined by anything but motherhood in the early stages of our children’s lives. They need us for everything and dictate pretty much every moment of our days. But the moms who seem to survive those years the best are the ones who remember who they are in the midst of all that need. That doesn’t have to be work. It can be watching a TV show you love or making sure you talk to your husband now and then or listening to your favorite CD once in a while. So the next few years might be all about motherhood for you and that’s wonderful because it sounds like that’s okay with you.

    Our hope is that every mom feels the freedom to do what feels right for her–whether it’s to stay home with her kids, work outside the home, or do some combination of both. What we want to push against is the idea that every mom has to want and do the same things. What we’ve found in our own lives is that what we want or need at one stage of parenting isn’t necessarily what we want or need at another stage. At the stage you’re in, all I wanted was a decent night’s sleep and a long shower. I still want those things, but I also want to use some of what I’ve learned over the last 12 years to help other moms.

    I hope you’ll keep reading and keep sharing your experiences with us. It’s wonderful to hear from you.

    Reply

  17. Carla and Caryn–way to go! It’s not always easy to articulate what you believe and have the courage to put it out there for public consumption. I think you are right on with many of these elements of your manifesto and look forward to seeing your revolution roll on!

    Couple of questions and comments:

    1. The only one of these points I found myself questioning was: “Only mothers get to define what our motherhood looks like.” In my own life, I cannot separate my own choices about motherhood from the cultural values and expectations that are inherent in my relationships with others, particularly with other members of my family. Their opinions are part of the mix and whether I always agree with them or not, I don’t necessarily think that cutting them out of the equation of my decisions is quite right either. So I’d love for you all to unpack this point a little bit. What were you intending, what is this point meant to help mothers guard against, etc.

    Regarding the discussion above about moms being the center of our kids’ universes, this is certainly true in our home even though I confess I sometimes wish it weren’t! It’s amazing how much more the kids will gravitate to me vs. their dad in any number of areas, for any number of reasons, even though they completely love and adore him. I agree completely with Keri’s comment that ultimately our job is to help our kids move to a place where we help them let go of us and hopefully embrace Jesus as their center of their universe. But in the meantime, how do we help mothers both embrace the unique role they play in their children’s lives, without becoming suffocated or stifled by that role? That, for me, is a constant tension and personal struggle I wrestle with. Can’t say that I have many good solutions but perhaps your revolution will help us find them out together. =)

    Reply

  18. Heidi: Ditto what Carla said. We would NEVER think someone is weird because she loves being a mom and is happy for it to define her. I love being a mom, and am happy on it defining me—or part of me, to a point. I think the main concern there is that the definition is your own, not loaded with unrealistic expectations or fakiness. But if it fits you and it works for you, awesome. That’s why we want this conversation going!

    Helen: I have to say that of all our items, the “only mothers get to define our motherhood” trips me up the most too! : ) Certainly, we believe that culture and non-mother-women and men should have bearing and influence on motherhood. Even on what makes a good or bad mom.

    But we included this because for far too long, mothers have been critiqued and defined and told what to do by—well—old men. And by people who don’t seem to approach motherhood with much empathy or understanding.

    So maybe that one is a bit over the top, but we just want moms to be back in the driver seat of motherhood. Make sense?

    Gotta run. Fighting kids in the other room….

    Reply

  19. Posted by Robyn on January 9, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    I think it is fine for Heidi to be “just a mom” for now, and for that to be her primary identity during this phase of her life. Someday, her children won’t need her as intensely as they do now, and she will probably want to (re)discover some other parts of herself.

    It’s a problem when stay-at-home moms who choose to define themselves primarily through their roles as mothers (and there’s nothing wrong with that) become so threatened by those of us who do not make that choice that they feel they must attack, belittle, and criticize us—and vice versa as well. That is why I think the Mommy Revolution is important.

    I’ll say it again. “The most important thing she learned over the years was that there was NO WAY to be a perfect mother but a MILLION WAYS to be a good one.” ~Jill Churchill

    Reply

  20. Posted by Heidi on January 10, 2009 at 12:16 am

    Just wanted to say ‘thanks’ for reassuring me I’m not weird. The whole “I’m just a mom (but lovin’ it)” thing is a soft spot for me right now b/c several close family members and friends have recently gotten higher education degrees in the past year and I have never been career-minded. It’s almost like becoming a Mom is finally what I’ve realized I was always meant to be. Your blog has been The Mommy “Revelation” to me. 🙂

    Reply

  21. Good stuff.

    I loveded that you mentioned Dads. I really think that some Mother’s make daily life more difficult by not handing off some of the parenting responsibilities to Fathers either because

    1)they think that Dad’s won’t parent as well or do things the way the Mother wants them done – at which point she just really needs to relinquish the idea that she is “right” and allow him to help, or 2)because Daddyo just isn’t as “hand’s on” as needed, which could actually be a result of number 1 – feeling left out of the game.

    I can honestly say that I think I’ve bathed my second child maybe twice in his 4 years. It’s Dad’s joy to do it. He is also the “middle of the night guy”, for I seem not to hear any crying after midnight . . .

    This is really interesting stuff. I’ll be keeping up with you!

    Reply

  22. Um! Where have you been all my life?! I am pretty sure you articulated my heartsong! I totally agree with it all.

    Thank you- thank you- thank you. I am onboard!

    You are going into my “favorites” on my blog.

    Reply

  23. Posted by Cara on January 13, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    This is very encouraging. I’m becoming a much healthier mom to my kids by realizing it’s OK for me to have needs and desires, too. I should take care of my kids’ basic needs, but it’s good for us all if I allow my wants to trump their wants once in awhile.
    I love the line about us being only one of many factors that shape our children. Books and magazines make it seem like every little thing we do wrong could drastically hurt our children, and it’s too much pressure. I would love to add something about how our children are also people and THEY affect US, too: for example, a baby that screams a lot affects a parent in a different way than a baby who smiles and coos and sleeps a lot (I had one of each). I don’t know how to put this succinctly, but it’s a relationship, and there is back-and-forth. We aren’t impervious to the way our kids hurt us or make life tough (or a joy).
    Thanks for the encouragement you are giving to many moms who want so badly to do well by their kids, but are overwhelmed by the pressure.

    Reply

  24. Posted by Dave on January 13, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    Another guy here … Carla asked for guy input, so now that evening devotion is done and the 7 younger children are in bed I have time to write.

    Plowing snow this morning, I caught Midday Connection and heard some things that I was (at first) unnerved by. I came here to find out who you are and where (figuratively) these ideas were coming from. I read the manifesto and comments. I do think some points could be clarified or refined. For instance (my wife agrees) we think “A women doesn’t stop having dreams when she starts raising children.” [but she must become willing to let her dreams slip to the bottom of the diaper bag] and, as you say: “Motherhood is just part…” [the 3rd most important part] “…of a whole and integrated life.” In other words – make sure priorities are in the right order – God first, husband second, mom-lings third, then careers, dreams, etc.

    RE: Heidi:
    We feel for her. She will be well blessed to concentrate on her calling to motherhood-hood. She should not feel “stuck” but rather consider herself “hectically settled”:) “Stuck” implies an unpleasantness that you want to get out of, or a place to be rescued from, But parenthood is a GOOD place to be confined to – one should never wish to be removed from it! God forbid! We pray that all parents embrace their calling in true Godliness and contentment. Do you not agree that children are not just blessings – they are eternal blessings and we have been given the great privilege of helping God to shape them for His service and His kingdom! “Just a mom”? Perish the thought! There is almost no job more important! Give it your all and God will give you all you need for it!

    I am privileged that God has paired me with a truly-Christian wife who is also the fantastic stay-at-home mom/teacher of our 11 children. When we got married almost 20 years ago (yes, I do remember the date) I was thinking maybe 4 children, while my lovely executive-assistant wife carreer-mindedly planned to have 0. We were taught after the birth of our second that this is God’s decision alone, and Julie’s change of attitude to submit to God’s will and let Him do our “family planning” compelled me to surrender my former plans as well. Submitting our lives to God’s will means giving Him control of our reproduction too. We neither try for children nor prevent them. -We still have dreams … but we learn that God has better plans than ours. We have been changing diapers now for 17 years straight – and counting!
    – But we are definitely not “stuck”. One can never be “stuck” in a Godly home!

    No offense to Robyn and others who “do not make that choice”, but parenthood is a divine calling whereas other careers are not – Parenthood is sowing eternal seed while other things are only temporary. Life is God’s show and He put us here to help build His kingdom as He guides us. More blessing to you if you can do more than “just mom-ing”, but please be sure that you give your family top priority. (I mean second to God, of course)

    A closing question: If you find time and energy for more, why not ask God to bless you with more children to raise for Him? How could anything else be more desirable than more eternal blessings in your home? We love the inward peace and joy God has shown us in blessing us so much. We pray you may find it also. Remember that God gives many blessings in this life, but children are the blessings you can take to heaven with you!

    (Sorry about the long-windedness)

    Reply

  25. Thanks for your windedness, Dave! Cool big fam you’ve got going on there!

    But, dude: Parenthood is the only divine calling? What?!?! Parenting is the only thing we do that “sows eternal seeds”? Huh?!?! You’ve stepped on all my Calvinist toes with that one. I mean, surely you can’t mean that. That’s just faulty theology there.

    You certainly aren’t the only one who feels this way, though. Hence, the need for the Mommy Revolution.

    Motherhood is an incredible calling for sure. And my kids are blessings beyond comprehension. But it’s not the highest calling and it’s not the only “career” with eternal value. No way. No how. And I’m pretty sure heaven will contain other blessings besides children. It would really stink for the kid-less saints…. Just sayin’.

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  26. Posted by April G. on January 14, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    Dave,

    Maybe someday my memory will fade, but at this time, “peace” and mothering toddlers doesn’t go together well. I used to want many children, and I have always wanted to stay at home with them, but now that I have two toddlers of my own, I am not sure I could handle that many children. I realized soon after my second was born that I could honestly not handle any more for awhile. I was always anti-birthcontrol, too. But for right now, having “only” two is one of the healthiest decisions I can make for my kids.

    As far as the idea of mothers having their own dreams – yes! I think there is a balance somewhere of caring for your own health as a priority. I don’t want to get in a fight over the order of priorities, but God first, husband second, kids third, my dreams last….doesn’t work for me. There is nothing left for me with that order, and an unhealthy mom and wife isn’t good for anyone.

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  27. Posted by Dave on January 14, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    Hey, Caryn, it’s your blog so feel free to bash me, but I’m sorry you misunderstood.

    I did NOT say parenthood is the highest nor the only divine calling – ‘course there are more: preaching, religious teaching, husband-hood, wife-hood – and childhood too – to name a few.
    The kid-less saints like Paul, etc. surely have been rewarded in heaven.
    We are referring basically to secular careers as not bearing eternal seeds – especially when they distract a woman from proper focus on the family.
    (So sorry to hear about those Calvanist toes – I pray God heals them.)

    Our windedness was simply intended to encourage Heidi and others to run with feeling fulfilled “just being a mom” and not be pressured by modern society to need more in order to be complete. God will see too it that we feel complete when we can say with a clear conscience: “Lord, I know You can and will help me do more if and when you want me to, but I will be happily content with this for now and will do my best to follow your Word in how I handle things right here.” (Phil 4:11-12 … I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content… every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry…)

    I read through much of your site yesternight till the wee hours (especially liked the Daddy Rev article) and, well, I guess I got the (wrong?) idea that you folks think somewhat this same way – (but with a slight flavor of a liberal leaning toward the “you-go-girl” camp.)

    Didn’t think posting would cause a stir, but apparently we will disagree more than we’ll agree.

    @April: We hear that a lot, and we have been there (hey, we ARE there) – for 17 years we’ve ALWAYS had 2 (or 3) toddlers around! – and remember I said that Julie wanted none… but we can vouch for the fact that if you sincerely give your misgivings to God, He can and will give you what you think you lack: i.e. patience, strength, stamina, health to bear and nurture more children, and yes, peace (even with toddlers). A good trade if you ask us! Remember Phil 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (My wife sometimes whispers this to me smiling while she’s in labor).

    We understand also that God’s priority order doesn’t work for anyone’s human nature, but that is the whole Christian ideal: denial of self, submission to God’s will, servitude, etc. (We were taught when we were little J.O.Y. = Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last.)

    What if Christ had said: “Father, you want me to be born in a barn, live like a pauper, and then be tortured and die for my enemies?! – That doesn’t work for me!” ? Give that some thought – then putting our dreams aside for a couple decades to nurture a plethora of little souls for His kingdom should be easy!

    Nothing left for you with that order?!? I’m (we’re) a bit offended at that! -Nothing?!? How about a house full of blessings; a full house of laughter and smiles at the Holidays – even with no company visiting; and later, in our old age, more beautiful memories than any sinful mortal ever deserves; and of course a legacy of God-honoring Christian attitude to pass on to those arm-fulls of children and lap-fulls of grandchildren?

    We say “My God! Oh PLEASE bless us with more of that!!!”

    Satan is the one that sows doubt, selfishness, and discontent in all of us – he does not want us to have more children because he knows we will raise them for God! Don’t let him get to you!

    (Well – my “fruitful vine” has a delicious dinner ready and all 10 smiling “olive plants” are gathered ’round the table eagerly (and somewhat quietly, even), so I’m putting away my soapbox now. =) Psalm 128:3

    -and Mrs. G., God gave you your former dream to have many children – don’t give it up so easily – Pray over it! Alot! (both of you) God WILL bless you for it! Guaranteed!

    Reply

  28. Posted by April G. on January 15, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    I have a lot of thoughts rolling around in my head, so I will try to articulate them as well as I can.

    For me, the Mommy Revolution is about being real and brutaly honest. Maybe not for everyone, but for (dare I say) most women, motherhood is a struggle and search to find what is best for ourselves and our children. From the moment I found out I was pregnant with my first child, I was torn. My children are certainly a high priority in my life, and I have sacrificed my dreams and financial stability to care for them properly in their young years. But, I disagree with the idea that a woman with children can only be “called” to motherhood. I have found great fulfillment and a sense of calling as a missionary, a children’s minister, and a teacher. After my first was born, I went from teaching fulltime to teaching part-time. My mother-in-law watched the kids while I worked. Caring for two toddlers became a little much for her, so I decided to stay home. At the time, it was an easy decision to make. I was not comfortable placing my children in childcare, and with my Christian-school salary I would have made virtually nothing after paying for it. But, the transition has been very hard for me. I miss teaching every day. What if my “true calling” is to be a teacher? If you were to ask my former students and coworkers, most would say that was true. I was good at teaching, I loved it, and I felt a sense of fulfillment and purpose I don’t feel in the daily routine of a SAHM. To be brutaly honest, I have never felt less fulfilled or “happy” in my adult life as I do now. Part of me believes I am doing what is best for my children at the moment, but part of me wonders if I am where I am really supposed to be. Maybe I was made for something else, and I am taking a break from that for now to do something else that is important.

    I completely disagree with the idea that Christians cannot be “called” to “secular” jobs. God absolutely places and “calls” people to positions of importance all over this world. We are called to be the light of the world, not to hid away in places of safety where everyone agrees with us. There are no “secular” jobs for Christians. We should be light wherever we go.

    Reply

  29. […] raised some important questions in the comments on the blog. One issue came up in Dave’s set of comments on this post–and we know it will come up again and again and again so we are going to dig […]

    Reply

  30. Amen, April

    “There are no “secular” jobs for Christians. We should be light wherever we go.”

    I once heard the following and took it to heart, “You are a disciple of Christ disguised as a __________”.

    For me, I am a disciple of Christ, diguised as a early childhood music educator . . . my “secular” job.

    Yes, if we are disciples, we will shine His light wherever our employment takes us.

    Reply

  31. Hindsight is 20/20. I’m now glad motherhood took me out of employment. There is still much to be revealed about His plan in my life, but He is weaving all the dreams I had before all together. All without having to compartmentalize who and how I minister to others. There is still a LOT to come together and it’s taken much longer than I had anticipated, but I’m starting to see a picture now… not too different than I had envisioned, but much more integrated with the rest of my life than I could ever have dreamed.

    Reply

  32. Posted by Robyn on January 16, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    It’s so easy to judge others, isn’t it? I hope I’m learning more and more as I grow to honor the differences among parents in general, and the members of the Body of Christ specifically, without imposing my own opinions on them, but I still fail all too often.

    Dave, I disagree with you, but you probably could have guessed that since you specifically mentioned me.

    My “secular” career as a public school teacher will certainly bear eternal rewards. I am salt and light. I am an important influence in the lives of my students. For some of them, I am the only adult in their lives who actually cares about whether or not they graduate from high school. Certainly my role as a mother is of vital importance. If we believed for one second that our professions harmed our daughter in any way, shape or form and that she required a stay-at-home parent in order to be happy and healthy, either my husband or I would resign from our jobs in a heartbeat. That is a determination that we, as her parents, have the responsibility of making. We know that God will hold us accountable for raising her, and we take it very seriously. But God has not called us to fulfill only one role (that of mother or father). And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

    There are MANY ways to be a good parent. Choosing not to use birth control, homeschooling, and forgoing a career are not the ONLY ways to be a good parent. There is nothing wrong with God calling a woman (or man) to be a “stay-at-home” parent. That is absolutely a wonderful thing that should be honored and valued. However, God’s callings are not “one-size-fits-all.”

    That, I think, is the point of The Mommy Revolution, and that is why I support it.

    One CERTAINLY doesn’t have to be a stay-at-home parent in order to be “truly Christian.” I’m not sure if it was your intention to imply that, but I think we should be careful getting into the territory where we judge another person’s salvation or faith.

    I don’t think that anyone can tell anyone what calling God has put on his or her life. That is something that only she/he can determine, through prayer and guided by the word of God.

    Reply

  33. Posted by Dave on January 16, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    Sorry Robyn.

    I did not mean to sound judgmental of your decisions – God’s Word alone judges all things.
    And I would never presume to judge anyone’s salvation.

    I didn’t mean it that way, but I apologize none-the-less.

    Please be kind enough to stop injecting “ONLY’s” into my thoughts where I did not put them.

    By all means, certainly, you run your life and family and career in whatever revolutionary way you see fit. I do hope that God blesses it to the benefit of His kingdom.

    I am just presenting another side of a many-sided coin.

    Reply

  34. Posted by Rita Ledbetter on January 19, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    I so agree with your revoltionary status!! I have done at least part time work all my married life. I believe children are a blessing ,and in natural family planning, and a host of what I now believe is patrioentric theology the theology is wrong even… though some of the practices and beliefs are right. Everything from Ezzo, FLDS, and the Institute for Basic life principles begin with this theology and then go way overboard I disagree with Dave on many points

    Reply

  35. Posted by Cheryl on January 21, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    Good Afternoon. It is fun to read the hearts of people being shared on this sight. I too feel that figuring out motherhood is a journey. Being a wife of 33 years, mother of now 10, and grandmother to 7, I have stuggled with the “motherhood” question for a long time. And how I would have answered it 20 years ago would be much different than I would today. While I feel ‘called’ to motherhood in a divine way, it is not as Dave would suggest. I am called to motherhood because that is what he empowered me to do as his disciple, not as a woman. I thought I would follow him as several other things (Nurse, Guardian as Litem….), but he drew (maybe dragged is a better term) back to this motherhood thing. Having said that, one of my greatest mentors I believe was divinely called to a life of working as a lawyer. Being gone long hours and missing many milestones of her kids life. You see for me, God’s calling is personal. While he made Ann a loving mom, he asked her to put her heart into her work with hurting people. He provided for her a network that celebrated and encouraged her children in ways no one person could! While she would love more memories, her children are incredible! I believe biblically speaking God calls us to a personal relationship. How I interpret biblical truth is from my lifes vantage point, therefore, it is right for me and only me. How God talks to others is between them and god as well. I wish we as Christians could truly get to the core of the Gospel’s mandates and quit trying to make everyone else see God and Biblical truth only from one point.
    Having gotten all of that off my chest, I have found great satisfaction in the journey! But believe me it has been very different from what I thought as I passed each milestone. I have been able to see people as I believe God sees them and have seen myself as He did and found the need to change. The highest calling for a male or female is to love and follow the Lord with all your heart – and that frequently means going to places you never dreamed and watching him work. Also (being a Ministers wife) I have found that God also asks of many of us hard things, which might very well include leaving your children in a daycare or tough school setting to head off to a job that doesn’t pay much, but what you bring to the job will be eternally priceless! I guess what I am trying to say is this – We have a great God who will take care of all the details of our life if we are seeking to follow him – no matter how they look to the world (especially the Christian one!)

    Reply

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