As is usually the case, when someone goes on record, be it in a news article or in a blog post or some other kind of opinion piece, usually I think to myself “I should write something about that,” and by the time I actually do someone else has said exactly what I would have said. Usually at least just a little bit better than me. And usually it is Matt Walsh. Seriously, the guy is phenomenal.
A couple days ago a blog piece made a big splash by being a pseudo-feminist rant against stay-at-home-moms, written by a woman who is trying her best to be a caricature of combined liberalism and intolerance. The piece was titled “I Look Down on Women with Husbands and Kids and I’m Not Sorry,” and I would encourage you not to bother looking up the article because the title tells you everything you need to know about the article without having to give the woman extra hits on her blog.
As I said, Matt Walsh is a great guy who did an excellent job of addressing the absurdity of the piece. Not that it really needed to be addressed, I guess, if it is as absurd as it is. But in addressing it Matt spoke to the great value and legitimacy of moms who choose to take the quite honorable path of motherhood.
Since it would be sort of pointless to just parrot the statements he has made, instead I want to use this space to say this: I appreciate my wife for being a stay-at-home-mom. My two boys are amazing little people. I have a seven year old who thrives on responsibility, devours books (non-fiction especially… kid has facts), and has astounded me at times with his articulation of Scriptural truth. I have a five year old who just loves everybody (and he says so often), who can be crazy weird one minute and stunningly profound the next, who is sweetness personified, and who always comes back to how it is somehow always about Jesus.
They are awesome kids. And I know for a fact that it is in large part because of their mom.
Sure, they go to a good school that has developed some of what was already there. They have a dad who loves them and tries really hard. But most of who and what they are came from the person they have spent the most time with in their lives – their mom.
My wife is an intelligent woman and a capable teacher. She could have prioritized her career. She could have developed her potential and accomplished some great things. Maybe there would be a lot of parents speaking her name with appreciation. But she chose not to look for fulfillment there. From the moment we knew we were going to be parents, she was committed to being there with them every day.
Those were her choices. I didn’t force them on her. I didn’t ask her. She willingly devoted herself.
So what say did I have? What, trust my children to someone untried and untested? Let my boys be raised by someone who doesn’t even think like a boy? To a young lady barely into her twenties has trouble making up her mind about fast food? Put her in charge of making all the day to day decisions about what to feed them and how to care for them when they are sick and what to read and what to watch and how to potty train? Let her be the one to teach them manners and Bible stories and how to trust in Jesus?
Yes. Without hesitation. Because she is the right woman for that job. I have always trusted her to be the one to raise my boys. Like I said, I help. I do my part. I try to lead my family spiritually, and occasionally correct the boys on their manners. But she’s been the one doing the hard work of molding them for hours at a time every day.
She’s the one making sure in the morning that they have good breakfast. She’s the one who has to figure out how to keep them entertained without overusing the all-too-simple shortcuts of TV and video games. She’s the one trying to make sure they are learning and growing but still playing and having fun like little boys should. She’s the one coming up with at least semi-healthy (with my wife, usually more than semi) snacks and lunches. Then I come home, often for no more than an hour and a half before I have to go back to church for a meeting or a Bible study or whatever, and I disrupt the flow of things by just being another person there, then I leave and she has to deal with getting the boys ready for bed and tucking them in and dealing with them making noise or coming back down or being punks with each other.
And she is fantastic. She’s beautiful. She’s a really, really good mom. She isn’t perfect. Sometimes she’s not all there, sometimes the house is a bit of a mess, sometimes dinner just doesn’t happen (but that’s rare, because my wife rocks). But she is a great mom. From researching the safest car seats to looking up new cookie recipes that don’t have nuts to finding neat activities to engage the boys to planning meals for the week and beyond and getting the best deals on sales, she puts in as many hours as any full time job, and that doesn’t even include all the actual cooking and cleaning! Somewhere in all of that she finds time to do things like volunteer at church and other organizations, take care of her own needs, and give some of her time to me.
Things are changing. The boys are in school full time now. She’s substitute teaching and crossing her fingers about maybe looking into more permanent vocation. The stay-at-home phase is ending. The mom phase never will. She’s still a really good mom. She loves those boys, they love her, and I love her more and more every day for what she has done with them.
I don’t want any moms who aren’t stay at home moms to take away from this a judgment on your parenting. You made the choices you made for what were probably really good reasons. But in all honesty, I’m really glad my wife made the choice that she did. I would not have wanted it any other way.