(I feel a familiar pang of guilt while writing this post. In effort to assuage this, please hear me. This post is not a case to feel superior nor make others feel inferior. It is a testimony from this side of the fence to critics everywhere that says, “Yes. I heard your complaint and, with careful thought, I have dismissed it.” Prayerfully this meager post can give light to the eyes of a critic and words to the feelings a fellow companion on this side of the fence may have.)
Before I was a Mommy, I was a stay-at-home wife. Before I was a Mommy, I tried to find fulfillment in anything others found acceptable. Starting my own business and trying to go back to school were popular with the critics. Although there were plenty of times when all I had to offer as reason for my worth at home was to be available to take care of our oldest son Anthony.
After I became a Mommy, I hated all the talk and having to feel like I had to fight and persuade others to at least understand why I stay home. (I guess before Jazmine came along it was easier for them to believe I couldn’t get a job?) I hated all the sideways talk. You know. The quick statements made by others who desperately need or want you to hear their reasons why you should do what they did instead. Unfamiliar with this? Let me give you some examples.
Critic: My child needs children interaction. I’m thinking: As if my child doesn’t get any? Critic: Aren’t there programs available for two-year olds? I’m thinking: As if I am only keeping her home because I don’t know of any programs I can sign her up for. Critic: I thought you were going to stop [breastfeeding]? I’m thinking: As if my decision to continue a while longer effects you personally. Critic: I didn’t know she could talk. All I’ve ever seen her do is sign. I’m thinking: As if teaching her to sign was crippling her in some way. Critic: Another man told my husband that I should get a job. I’m thinking: Why? So my husband can farm me out to work like you do your wife?
I could go on and on.
All of the hurtful things. I guess they weren’t hurtful as much as they were hard to hear. I wasn’t expecting the barrage of opinions and therefore was not prepared to answer them on the spot. Most of the time I sat there slack-jawed because I couldn’t understand why people were so vehement against my mothering decisions and our decisions on how my husband and I run our household. I was angry at myself for not being able to fire something back at them to hurt them as much as they tried to inflict pain in me.
I used to get strange looks when people saw me serve my husband. When I would make his plate before making mine in public. When I would check on him to see if he needed anything. When I prefered to be in his company instead of with the other women at a party. I guess I still get the looks now but I don’t care. Maybe I don’t get them now that we have a child. My attention is split between checking on a grown man and caring for a Mommy-I-can-do-it-all-by-myself two-year old. I guess that soothes them to some degree? Takes some of the sting my actions have on themselves? Lessens the conviction they feel and fight every time they see me doing something they themselves know full well they should be putting into practice too as a follower of Christ? Just a thought.
One of my favorite Bible stories the one about Abigail (1 Samuel 25:2-42). Her husband was rotten but through all the foolishness he did, which almost got them all killed, she continued to shine and do right by God. Abigail purred.
There is another Bible story of a man handling woman who had a man killed in order to get her husband to stop whining and moaning about some land he coveted. (1 Kings 21:1-16) His name was Ahab. Her name was Jezebel (1Kings 21:25). Beyonce’s song, Who runs the world? Girls., comes to mind. Right idea. Wrong power. Jezebel roared.
We have power! God-given power. We just have to put it into the right practice.