A friend, a stay-at-home mom of a precious little girl, shared this on her FB page. It’s worth a read because Tacoma is so daft and Carolyn is so right.
Here’s what I’d like to add:
I second everything Carolyn said. The thing that non-parents may not understand is that you never have time. There is always another game to play, another load of laundry waiting, another boo-boo to kiss, another floor that needs scrubbed, another book to read, another thing to organize. This ‘me-time’ Tacoma thinks we have is carved out due to self-preservation. And when I carve it out because of pure mental and physical exhaustion, my first inclination is to read a book, watch a good movie, tend my garden, or workout with my Pilates videos, not to talk to someone on the phone.
I’m also a working mom, which means my interaction with my boys is limited to before and after work and the weekends. The most time I spend with them in the day is dinner through bed time. We typically eat dinner in the dining hall (perks of a boarding school life) or at church on Wednesday nights. Bath time and the bedtime rituals alone with two boys is a two-hour process each night. A small part of me would rather be chatting about the most recent book I read or trying something new from Pinterest, but the other part of me wouldn’t want to be anywhere else than talking, laughing, reading, singing, praying, and cuddling with my boys at night. That is our chance to be with them, teach them, instill our Christian values in them, share our love of books, history, and music with them, and love them unconditionally. So if I opt out of gatherings and events that take me away from them in the few hours a day I can be with them, I’ll not ask for forgiveness. I’ll know that I am a parent and my children are more important. Parenting changes your priorities in a beautiful and profound way.
I also find your use of ‘child-free’ troubling. If you recall, it used to be ‘child-less’. The past ideal was to have children, to be beholden to something other than yourself. There was a moral imperative to have children and raise them in a way that would contribute to the good of society. The concept of ‘me’ was diminished for the greater good. As evident in this letter, a shift is occurring. But I would caution you, Tacoma, just because you are free of children does not mean that that moral imperative ceased to exist. Your friend feels it and lives it.
So, Tacoma, anyone–stay-at-home parent, working parent, dorm parent, grandparent, etc.–who takes on that task of parenting with careful consideration, thought, and love has not chosen an easy job. They have chosen to be in the challenging and ever-changing position of making a difference in the life of a child and they deserve all the respect and support any of us can give.
That is all.