Wednesday, May 19, 2010

We rarely let Joseph watch TV or videos. The one exception however, is when I cut his nails. I have found this to be a wonderful way to keep him distracted while I clip as fast as I can. He is just getting to the age where he actually pays attention to what is going on, and isn't too pleased when I turn it off. The last two weeks have been especially rainy and have really tested my resolve to avoid using the TV as a babysitter.

Last night, we were chatting with some friends and some of the events of my childhood came up and as we laughed over them, I realized something. Out of all the memories I cherish in regards to my upbringing, not one is connected to the movies or shows I watched. All of them have some tie to a loved one or beloved pet or place. As a stay at home mom, it is easy to forget amidst all the busyness of running a household, the reason why I  stay at home is for those unforgettable moments with my son, not so I can be productive and check everything off my list.

I have come to see the balance that can be achieved. Instead of sitting him down in front of the TV so I can get some things done, I am trying to involve him in the things that MUST be attended to. His sense of wonder is refreshing and offers me such perspective on the beauty of housework. He now will rush to the washer when it rings so he can help load the laundry into the dryer. One by one, he reaches in and pulls out each article of clothing so I can put it into the dryer. After the last item is out, he sticks his little blond head into the machine for a final check then squeals and claps for himself for a job well done. Although this whole process takes much longer, he is learning the goodness of work and I am learning the joy in the little things.

Besides helping with the laundry, he now sweeps, vaccuums and washes floors with me. The other day, he even put his leftover banana bread in some tupperware! I must admit, there are times my little tag along does try my patience as his helpfulness can be counterproductive. That is when I must remember how fortunate I am to be with him everyday and that he WANTS to be with me! My chance to influence him is here and now. I pray I don't waste a moment....

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Mother's Day

While folding laundry this afternoon I was listening the focus on the family's radio broadcast on Mother's Day. As each speaker shared favorite memories and lessons from their mothers and all the different ways they celebrate this day, I couldn't help thinking what a strange "holiday" this really is. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my mother and love being a mother and think all mothers are deserving of recognition for their incredibly difficult, important work. I get all sappy when reading through the Mother's day cards and love smelling the beautiful flower bouquets as I walk into the grocery store. My mouth waters to see the tasty celebration cakes in the bakery and Joseph waves to the balloons. All of this is wonderful, right?

But think about it a minute-does our culture really appreciate motherhood, really seek to promote this sacrificial yet rewarding vocation, or is this just another opportunity to make a buck? Is all this fanfare sincere and reflective of a culture which supports women in motherhood the other 364 days of the year?

I am not suggesting that Mother's Day should be boycotted, but I have come to realize the importance of being a witness of the gift of human life which makes us mothers and that we must make attractive to others the beautiful call of motherhood. When a women is expecting her third (or 4th or 10th) child and is congratulated in the grocery aisle, or is encouraged by her employer to leave the work force to stay at home with her new baby, then I'll know our culture has finally embraced the true meaning of Mother's Day.