cultivate (kuhl - tuh - veyt)
v. 1) develop 2) nurture

graft (grahft)
n. 1) transplant 2) bud 3) union

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Mommy (rose-tinted) Goggles

If you've been anywhere online this past week, you've probably seen the link for a video by The Skit Guys. Mom Goggles has gone viral on social media, as do most videos extolling the virtues of mothers everywhere. If you haven't seen the video clip (SPOILER ALERT), the helpless dads rush order Mom Goggles so as to survive a weekend with the kids while the moms take a much needed weekend getaway. These Mom Goggles supposedly reveal the secrets of motherhood, which include cheering on mediocre art projects, being overprotective, fearlessly changing the most putrid of diapers and expertly folding fitted sheets.

I score one out of four.

I don't pour on the compliments for scribbly drawings, I gag when I change especially pungent diapers, and linens go directly back on the beds after laundry day week specifically so that I don't have to fold those possessed fitted sheets.* So basically, I'm guilty of being a tad overprotective. Yay me!

This is where, just like Grandma's giblet gravy, the plot thickens. A lump-in-your-throat phone conversation brings it all the surface. It goes something like this "Thank you, thank you, thank you. How would we ever survive without you? We're all so undeserving of you. Crap the kids are destroying things again."

Well, you get the gist of it.

To their credit, The Skit Guys have produced some top-notch videos for fathers too. They have directly addressed the importance of a dad's role in family life, and even touched on sentimental and emotional moments for fathers (not exactly the social norm). And yet, in my admittedly limited perusal of their father videos, I didn't find a single instance where the woman expressed true dependence upon her husband, and apologized for not telling him enough how much she respects him and appreciates all that he does. I'd love to be proved wrong on this one, because The Skit Guys are doing important work and casting a broad net within mainstream evangelical churches. I'm just not sure that men need more reminders to lead their families, work hard, pray more, take the lead, sacrifice, oh and be a leader!

To summarize, inspirational videos to dads issue a call to rise to a new standard, whereas inspirational videos to moms issue a call to dads to rise to a new standard. I've already hashed out my feelings on The Battle of the Sexes (part one and part two), so I won't bore you with a rehashing. Suffice to say that with an over-inflated view of my role, I would do well to see a few videos reminding me that I'm not "all that" in the home. That I am fortunate to stay at home and should be thankful for a hard-working husband who makes that possible. That I need to be vocalizing my respect and appreciation. It's not wrong to call women out on our uppity attitudes; It's wrong not to.

For several years, the Social Opinion of Stay-At-Home Mothers pendulum swung toward belittlement and disregard (I've whined about my own experience with this). We've sailed right past the place of balance, and are camped out at the other extreme. Now motherhood is being heralded as the World's Toughest Job, complete with no breaks, no life, no food...basically prison life in Sing Sing in the 1800's would be preferable to the back-breaking work of staying at home with children.

In reality, there are hundreds of jobs that would be tougher for me to manage. Aside from occupations which are outside the realm of my physical capabilities, there are scores of jobs that I wouldn't last one day on the payroll.


Lest you think I take my parental role lightly...There is absolutely no other job that can slice me to my very soul. There is no other job where I feel my failure as acutely. There is no other job where the stakes are so high it leaves me on my knees, in His word, seeking counsel, and scouring resources. In that sense, yes, my job is incredibly challenging. However, this burden weighs just as heavily on working moms, and (GASP) dads too. True, dads may not ugly cry over daddy guilt or scroll through parenting blogs for creative discipline methods, but their burden is just as real, just as fierce, and just as deep.

So why, oh why, do we continue to tell mothers, "You are the pinnacle of all society. We salute you." and we tell dads, "Stop sucking. Oh, and lead your families, because it’s biblical." Perhaps it's time to stop swinging wildly from the motherhood pendulums and shift some of our focus onto the Social Opinion of Fathers pendulum.

Can we band together to begin the momentum?

Ordering Daddy Goggles,


*...which DO NOT fold flat "like a charm" so just WHATEVER Pinterest.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Yelling At Pregnant Women (and other such nonsense)

You know those moments that feel surreal, as though you're watching it in Jello time? Things like car wrecks, or watching your favorite coffee mug falling to the floor, subsequently smashing into a bazillion shards.* Or seeing grown men throwing temper tantrums on the playground. Yeah that.

Recently, a group of us moms invaded a nearby park. Now, I realize some of you just got a fresh dusting of snow (whatever that is), but we're a month away from flaming hot monkey bars, and only two months away from having our skin melt off if we remain outside for more than 1.3 seconds, so we're frolicking while we still can. Bless it. Anyway, the park. The moms. The scores of kids. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but I just assume that parks are a prime location for kids to be kids, and with that comes the typical kerfuffle between a couple munchkins, who are reveling in their barely-sanctified little souls. We've all seen it transpire, right? Joey threw sand directly in Susie's eyeballs. Katie was hogging the swing. Beth pulled Zachary down the slide. Blah, blah, blah. Then follows the Standard Parenting Protocol. Apologies are issued, kids are redirected, boo-boos are kissed, and so on and so forth. I'm not positive, but I think archaeologists have discovered Neanderthal cave drawings depicting these exact scenarios, because when it comes to kids, there is absolutely nothing new under the sun.

Enters Tantrum Man. 

There's nothing quite as sadly amusing and disconcerting as witnessing grow-ups indulge in a class-act conniption that rivals the toddlers at said park. 

After exhausting his cache of insults directed at my friend (who is apparently a no-good excuse for a mother. I did not know this!) and her son (who is apparently on the fast track for prison. You know, after Kindergarten and stuff), he decided her friends must be part of the problem. Apparently, by association, we were enabling her non-motheringness, and we must, therefore, also be welfare-abusing, soap opera addicted, lousy mothers. This was all news to me. My friend handled his tirade with more grace than I could have mustered, had I been in her shoes. After he huffed across the sand, I wanted so desperately to stalk over to him and give him a solid piece of my mind. After all, he had assessed my friend and arrived at his ridiculous conclusion all in the span of a few minutes. Impressive superpower. I wanted to tell him of her surprise pregnancy and how she endures severe migraines (so severe that surgery is in her future to address the issue). I wanted to make him feel guilty for making snap judgments, and insulting her so deeply**. 

And that's when I heard it.

Speak words of kindness.

Ugh. Of all the times for God to play that card. I double-checked my prepared speech. Nope. No words that passed for kindness. Perhaps if I smiled through gritted teeth, it would appear kind and sorta, you know, trick him. 

Are you not passing swift judgment as well? Are you not judging the whole based on a mere five minutes too?


"Sir, I don't know if you're just having a bad day, or what, but I hope the rest of your day goes well."

I wish I could tell you his entire countenance changed and that we had a little Come to Jesus moment,*** but we didn't. He saw an audience for the encore of his scintillating speech, and seized his fleeting opportunity. I walked away, lest I lose my salvation and have to go to Church Camp to find it again. Perhaps it made a difference to him. Perhaps not...

It's tremendously easy to retaliate by raising the drawbridge and hurling insults across the moat, especially if the entire village participates.**** It's much more difficult to open the city gate, and offer lodging to your enemy. However, if we spend less time judging and throwing temper tantrums, we may just discover new allies along the way. 

"If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone."Romans 12:18

Turns out, there's nothing new under the sun for anybody.

Paddling Across The Moat,


*Which you will still find remains of six months later.
**Despite the fact that I'm pretty confident she could have taken him. Never underestimate the power of a scrappy pregnant woman. 
***Complete with The Circle of Trust and six verses of Kumbaya.
****Please tell me SOMEONE is reciting Monty Python.