Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Contemplating the big "M"

Motherhood.

The GGB is not -- I repeat -- not pregnant ... yet.

Hubbykins and I will probably start trying later this year, and I'm on prenatal vitamins to get my folic acid stores high and my iron levels perky. I turned 38 several days ago, and by cracky, I'd like to have kid #1 before I'm too far into my 40s.

My "mommy radar" is starting to come online. I'm mentally designing the nursery. I'm browsing Web sites of baby names. I'm smiling secretly at funny stuff like this. And this is just cool.

But I'm also terrified.

I'm terrified of becoming one of those mothers: the "super moms" who are just so damn fascinated with spawning and their spawn that they make everyone else nauseated. The narcississtic ones who romanticize their "precious angels" ... right into anger and rebellion.

Orthodox Christian writer Frederica Matthewes-Green said it a whole lot better than I can:

There must have been something wrong with the Fifties: they led to the Sixties. The kids that grew up in those tidy two-parent homes weren’t out of their teens before they began doing all they could to overthrow that wholesome security...

Though there are many factors, one short response might be: children received *too* much pampering attention. This sounds impossible in an age when millions of children are aborted, abandoned, and institutionalized in faceless day care. But there are two different traditional approaches to childrearing, and they have widely differing results.

In the Fifties an attitude toward childhood bloomed which had first sprouted in the Victorian era. In this view, childhood is seen as a carefully delineated, circumscribed experience; it’s almost a physical place, a playroom stocked with toys, where precious children linger all a long golden afternoon. Adults look on with wistful, vicarious pleasure, fawning over the tots and shielding them from the harsh winds of the cruel adult world. Adults place a high value on preserving children’s "innocence."

Sounds like the numerous unflattering definitions of "soccer mom" at Urban Dictionary.com.

Okay, so how does white, Christian, middle-class, suburban me avoid the "soccer mom" mentality? I like what Matthewes-Green had to say about Proverbs 31:

... responsibility mothering includes setting an example of full-fledged adult womanhood... While time spent cuddling and playing on the child’s level is an indispensable source of fun and security in a child’s life, a mother must also prepare her children for adulthood, not life-long childhood... [She] sets her kids an example of the "virtuous woman" of Proverbs 31, busy with home management, hobbies, and church ministries; she may even find it feasible to keep her hand in a career while caring for small children, by working from home or keeping on top of continuing education opportunities.

Preach on, sistah. And thank you for putting your finger on something that's been bugging me a LONG time.

1 comment:

Rich said...

I am married to a spiritually wise, politically astute and intellectually formidable woman. :-)