Archive for the ‘Scandal’ Category

The Mom-Heart Connection

Caryn: So a couple weeks back, I became That Mom. You know, the one who gets screamed at by another mom because she did something horrible and irresponsible and caused a huge commotion? That one. That was me. I’m still reeling from what transpired. Here’s the story:

Our dog hates other dogs—or most other dogs. And our dog escaped the back yard by slipping past my son who was closing the gate and she ran down the driveway. My son caught her, but she ended up seeing another dog across the street and slipped out of her collar and went after the other dog. A dog that was being walked by a nice couple and their two preschoolers tucked into a jogging stroller.

We discovered this all happening when the entire neighborhood erupted into screams. So, my husband and I busted out of the house (yes, we were inside while the kids played outside) and dashed across the street. Rafi tried to grab our bitch by her scruff and I somehow remembered learning once that to break up a dog fight, you grab a dog by its two back legs and pull. I did that and it worked.

My husband took our dog back to the house while the other mom screamed at me: “Why would you have your dog out without a leash?” “Why would you let it be out there with the kids?” All these sorts of things flying my way.

I stood there and kept saying “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.” And tried explaining that the dog escaped, etc. But she didn’t care. It was terrifying. Her kids were scared. Her dog was potentially hurt (she wasn’t thank God. My dog apparently just likes really rough play). And I got why she was screaming at me. I would’ve been screaming at her had the tables been turned.

After she finished screaming, I did something weird: I hugged her. It was either that or ask her if we could pray and I thought hugging was the least weird. She hugged back and I could feel her heart racing against my chest. I’m sure she could feel mine too.

It turned into an actual sweet moment shared between two moms. It was like—at least from my perspective–our hearts beat together, almost understood each other.

Maybe that’s too dramatic, but after the hug and after my husband went out to help find their dog (who had run away, of course), and after we paid for them to take their dog to the vet to make sure he was okay (totally fine, just shaken) and after I wrote a big apology note and sent flowers, we’ve now had a couple of nice email exchanges.

We’re not friends now or anything, but I like what’s transpired—we both related to each other as mothers—understanding each others’ mom hearts and we’ve come to a place of peace out of chaos.

Anyway, it sort of gave me hope for the future of the world—if we put moms in charge and all try to solve problems from our mom hearts. Maybe some day we’ll find it, the Mom-Heart Connection? The lovers, the dreamers, and me…. So to speak. Whatcha think? Ever had this weird connection?

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.

Caryn the Controversial

Carla: Well, it looks like our little Caryn went and got herself a controversy (see the comments for the previous post). It all started when she was interviewed here.

Then, as things do in blogland, one click led to another and a reader found Caryn here. And Scott, while we’re always happy to have new readers, I have to say, I am totally with Caryn on this one.

I don’t know of anyone outside of the most conservative of Christian movements who believes that God “calls” us to spank our children. But that’s the only interpretation one can come to if one believes in a strictly literal understanding of the Bible–again, an understanding held by a very small minority of Christians. So for the sake of clarification, here’s where I stand on spanking: It’s an unnecessary and potentially harmful form of discipline.

I have dear friends who spank and I don’t for a minute think they are terrible parents. We have spanked one of our three children exactly once and haven’t felt the need to do it since. But as a rule, I don’t believe spanking accomplishes much of anything. It’s certainly not the only way to alter a child’s behavior. It doesn’t teach them anything that can’t be taught through other forms of discipline. It does nothing to shape the character of a child. There might very well be times when it truly is the only way to deal with a child’s behavior, but I think those times are few and far between.

I’ve worked in the Christian parenting field for nearly a decade and apart from Ted Tripp and a very few others, I don’t know of any Christian parenting “experts” who would say that God “calls” us to spank. Some of them believe the Bible allows for spanking as a form of discipline, but most stand in the “rod as metaphor” camp that holds the language of the rod to mean that parents need to guide and correct their children as a shepherd guides and corrects his sheep. As with every Bible reference, it’s important to look at the whole of Scripture to determine what a particular passage has to say to us. If one verse a parenting philosophy makes, then we don’t really need the rest of the Bible, do we? So, looking at the whole of the Bible, it’s pretty clear that it consistently refers the rod of the shepherd as an instrument of help, of gentleness, of loving guidance. I mean, “thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me” doesn’t really work if the rod is an instrument of pain.

Okay. That’s enough from me. Caryn? Got any more radical liberal insight here?

Caryn: What I love most about being “controversial” is that if you knew me (which Carla does) you would realize how ridiculous this is. That such a nice sweet woman like myself would be so often a rabble-rouser. How do I do it….? I believe, in all honesty, it’s part of my calling. I get to be crazy and radical sometimes and yet I come in this nice “white bread” (or “Polly Purebread” as I was once called by a-jerk-of-a-former colleague) Conservative, suburban package.

I mean, get this: The reason I’m anti-spanking? Because I SUBMITTED to my husband. Honestly, when I first became a mom, I could see good reasons to spank (on occasion) but my husband was TOTALLY opposed. And I “submitted.” I don’t know what Mark Driscoll and the Mars Hill Seattle folks would say about that (but I DO hope they say it here!).

All this to say, well put, Carla. Nicely done. Ditto. And great work with that Psalm 23 bit (that is where that’s from right?). Seminary did you well, my friend.

Carla: For an excellent understanding of “the rod” in Scripture, check out Ryan’s comment in the previous post. It’s a wonderful explanation of this metaphor.