Q and A: Dealing with parental guilt, Bible translations, the cost of raising children, children banned from church small groups, and K-Dramas

4moms35kids-1 How do you deal with/ combat ‘Mommy Guilt’ / ‘Ovarian Guilt’?

It comes with the territory.  I will share that recently (as in the last couple of years) I have come to realize that expressions of Mommy guilt can make your children feel like they are unsatisfactory to you (which makes you feel even more guilty)- and that helps tone down at least the verbal expressions a little. I viewed “I have failed’ statements as being all about me, but of course, the Progeny see such statements as being all about their own inferiority, that I think I failed because they have demonstrated some shortcomings- and that’s not at all what I meant.

Use it as a tool to spur you on to do better, but do not let it become a chain that enslaves you.  That requires at least daily bouts of prayer and Bible study and a reminder that God chose you to be the Mommy, that He loves you and He loves your children and He is a merciful God.

One of the things I felt terrible guilt about as a Mom was that I made many mistakes as a young mother with the Equuschick’s health.  Because I was too polite to fight with our nurse receptionist at the doctor’s office and couldn’t put my finger on what was wrong, the Equuschick grew sicker and sicker for months- at 8 months weighing in at 11 pounds and 3 ounces (she’d weighted 13.5 pounds as an 8 week old).  By the time I pitched a fit, she was terribly ill and had to be hospitalized on antibiotics for a week- with IVs- for a UTI.  Meanwhile, my milk dried up and we had to switch to formula. If I’d known more and better, i could have prevented all of that.  Furthermore, we switched to soy because I thought that was better for her then tiny and fragile system, and I now know that was a dreadful choice.  And then we went to full dairy at 12 months even though she only weighed about 13 pounds and was still in 3-6 months clothing- the doctor told me her size was irrelevant.  But she developed a dairy intolerance that we didn’t handle correctly either, or recognize early enough.  And we thought she outgrew it, but it turned out she was deceiving us because she wanted to eat ice cream.  It’s always upset her stomach, she just didn’t let us know.  I feel horribly guilty about all of this.  She forgives me.  But I still feel awful.  One way I address that guilt is by not keeping quiet about my mistakes.  I tell people the benefits of breastfeeding of formula but I preface it by explaining- I was unable to breastfeed the Equuschick because I made some mistakes. I wish somebody had talked to me about this so I could have avoided those mistakes, but nobody did and I want to make sure nobody else has the same regrets I did.

Being young, dumb, and uninformed is not a sin.  Trusting your doctor is not a sin, even if he’s wrong.  Looking the other way for a moment and having your child need stitches because THAT is the moment he fell off his bike- that’s not a sin.  It’s not your job to be a perfect parent and to keep your kids 100 percent safe 100 percent of the time. It’s your job to do the best you can, and the trade-off for 100 percent safe is not worth it.  Wrapping them in wool and cushioning them from scraped knees, bumped shins, and even a few stitches comes at the cost of free exploration and even a little risk a glorious birth right and a great way for children to learn and grow.

Although, my son is 15, and I’m still trying to fit him into some cotton wool cushionings.

What Bible translation do you use: For personal reading, for study, for reading to the kids?

I personally prefer the KJV, and that is what I used with my oldest.  I figure if they can learn from that, they can learn from anything. It’s easy to go ‘down,’ not so simple to go up.  The KJV is also the only version that I know of that isn’t copyrighted.  I sometimes use the New American Standard as well.

Our youngest two use the ESV, and some of the older kids switched to that as well.

Be sure to visit the other Moms of a Passle of Kids=)

How do you afford so many kids?

For the most part, kids are not actually that expensive.  Trophy babies, yes, regular babies, not so much.  There are exceptions for babies with major special needs and medical expenses (our Cherub, our grandson Striderling), but mostly, children do not cost nearly what you’ve been told.

Things that make a baby expensive- aside from medical conditions:

Being offended by second hand gifts or yard sale clothes. You wear it once and it’s used anyway.  You’re washing them before the baby wears them, what is the big deal?  New stuff is a want, not a need, no matter how skeeved out you are by second hand stores.  That is totally a first world phobia.

A perceived need for trendy stuff.  The baby doesn’t care.

A perceived need for blow-out first birthday parties- if you love these and can afford them, that’s fine, but don’t pretend it’s for the kid. It’s all about you- the kid would have just as much fun with an empty box and a cupcake.

Formula. Yes, there are reasons why some women, sometimes, cannot nurse.  I was one of them for one baby, and that turned out to be self-induced although I did not know that at the time, and I wish I could turn back time and not sabotage the breastfeeding the way that I did.  Oh, well.  That is usually, but not always,  the case.  The Striderling couldn’t nurse because of the same reasons that meant he was fed through a g-tube (ie, a tube in his tummy) for the first year. His mom had never had a baby before and pumping failed her.  She kept him on breastmilk his entire first year anyway through the amazing and wonderful generous network of donors around the country and other amazing, wonderful people who often managed to shuttle it from one home to another across the states.  It was hard work sometimes- sometimes her stash grew dangerously low, but she kept at it.

Too soon with the baby food- Babies do not need solids as early as you think they do, and quite often early presentation of solids will result in allergies and expensive digestion problems later.  If you do need to provide baby food, you can make your own.  I did that with the first three babies, and with the last two I learned they don’t even need Mom to do that- if you eat healthy enough, just give them tablefood- mashed potatoes, green beans, baked sweet potatoes, cooked carrots, avocado, cut up meat very small, cooked squash, bananas, etc.

Diapers- both disposable and cloth:  I am shocked by the cost of the trendy cloth diapers these days.  I also don’t get the fascination with cloth diapers as some sort of badge of trendy crunchiness, either.  They are functional, not decorative for me.  We went with plain white pre-folded rectangles and diaper pins. I did succumb to two kinds of fancy diapers for one of my later babies, and I was shocked by how inferior they were.  Our prefolds were almost all free, too (used them with five kids), except for the one batch I bought at a yard sale for less than the cost of a box of disposables.  My aunt had purchased some from a diaper service in San Francisco for her kids, and since her kids are young enough to be my nephew and niece instead of my cousins, my aunt still had those cloth diapers around 1983 when we started having kids (there’s about 3-5 years, I think, between my cousins and my oldest child).  We were given a lot more, also second hand, by other friends with subsequent babies.   I have even used towels in a pinch- after all, if the baby has a toileting accident, what would I use for clean up?  A towel, so I used that sometimes for diapers, too.

Furniture?  We were given a crib, a bassinet, a playpen, a changing table, and a swing.  We used the crib for toy and blanket storage and we used the bassinet for occasional privacy needs since we family bedded- not with side-cars and so forth, but with the baby in bed with us.  I used the playpen for napping babies because it kept them safe from being stepped on by dogs and older children. =)  I almost never used the changing table and after baby 1, we did not have one.  I don’t even remember that we owned a crib with two of the babies, not even for toy storage.

Baby products: We made our own diaper wipes or used wash cloths. I used corn starch for baby powder, and used olive oil for baby oil (which is, admittedly, actually more expensive than mineral oil).  Coconut oil wasn’t around when I was raising small babies.

Toys? We made black, red, and white geometrical designs on paper using scissors, colored paper, and glue sticks, and posted them on the walls for baby to look at when they were too little to grab and eat them.  Although I am a total addict when it comes to wooden toys so my children had boatloads of blocks and wooden trains, as toddlers they preferred to make towers with my tomato sauce cans.

Maternity clothes?  My first pregnancy I owned two pairs of pants, one tan, and one dark brown courderoy.  I had one dress, and three or four shirts.  Half of those were gifts and the pants were both second hand.  I had one pair of shoes that fit (my feet swelled so much that they never fit again once the baby was born).   Did I get heartily sick of those two pairs of pants and that single dress? Oh, yes, yes, I did.  Hated the sight of them. Sometimes I even cried over my limited and not at all fashionable wardrobe.   Shrug. More clothes were a want and not a need.

I did spend a good chunk of change on a nice sling for our 6th baby.  Before that we used front and back packs we were given.  I had one with my first that worked well with newborns, too, although it was a little hard on my back.

More recently, one young mom  actually kept track of what they spent in their baby for the first year, and you’ll be surprised.

When they grow older and it’s time to homeschool, that needn’t be expensive, either.

 

Our church has a small group Bible study, but children are not allowed to come.  Babies over six months are not allowed to come- not because they distracting.  The church is theologically sound, but we don’t know what to do.  We won’t hire a babysitter, we don’t want to leave our baby. How would you handle this? 

I don’t have a perfect answer for you.  However, we have been through this at least three times.  (we moved a lot)

I don’t know if this would work for you, but for us, a church that dictates to parents that they must hire a sitter and not bring their children to a Bible study is not a theologically sound church.  The fact that parents are in charge of their children, not the church leadership, is a point of doctrinal importance to us.  Church leadership does have the obligation to instruct, encourage, and even rebuke us if we are failing in our role as parents by bringing up unruly children, but it is not their place to tell us to leave the children home with a hired sitter.  I have problems with this besides the basic issue of respect for the family unit:

It is insensitive to those who may be struggling financially and imposes an ‘accidental burden’ on families who may not be able to afford it.  

Some of us have very sound reasons why we are not at all comfortable leaving our children with sitters (and we do not all have the luxury of having trustworthy family members nearby). 

So, what we have generally done is amass our reasons why we believe our children should be with us, why we do not believe in age-segregation for the most part (including scriptures), and then we request a meeting with whoever is making this request of us, and explain why we are unable to agree to leave our kids with a sitter.

Then we offer alternatives- we can host a study at our house where children are welcome. We can start another small group that is open to anybody- families with kids, college students, the retired, single people, childless couples, whoever, and my husband can lead it or somebody else can if they prefer.  We can stay home, no hard feelings. We are open to other suggestions so long as they do not involve us sending our kids to one place while we study the Bible in another- not even another room.

Reactions have ranged from complete outrage and we were essentially outcasts from that day forward to keen interest because somebody had never thought of things this way before and several variations in between.  We’ve been told it is offensive to just stay home at the same meeting where we were told by somebody else it was offensive to bring our kids.  You can’t please everybody.  You just have think, study,  and pray very hard about what you believe and why, asking for grace in your communications, and make the decisions that are best for your family.

You haven’t reviewed a K-Drama in a while. Have you quit watching?

ani mnida.=)  I am still watching.   I’ve branched out a wee bit and tried some Taiwanese dramas, too, but I still like K-dramas better than any of them (I’ve watched a few Japanese and one from the Philippines) .  I am just behind on reviews, even my ‘shows I’m currently watching’ page is out of date- two shows on it have completed, and I’m watching two others- the newer still airing revenge drama Shark which I can’t entirely recommend, and the older rom-com Prosecutor Princess.  I am loving the older Prosecutor Princess- it’s mostly much lighter and funnier than I expected.  There’s a scene I’d skip in the first episode and one thread that deals very carefully with a child molestation issue- I appreciated the delicacy with which it was handled. This is really a total chick flick- I don’t think most guys would enjoy it, but the acting is stellar and the story is intriguing.

Dramas I’ve completed, recommend, and reviewed: see here.

Things to know when watching a K-drama

More Things To Know

Addiction, and why I like K-dramas

You might be watching a K-Drama if….

Where to get your fix: Sites where you can find subtitled K-dramas (and dramas from other countries, as well.

 

 

Be sure to see which questions the other moms answered:

Kim, at Life in a Shoe

Connie, at Smockity Frocks

And Kimberly, at Raising Olives

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6 Comments

  1. Posted July 25, 2013 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Something just as reusable as diaper pins and much easier to avoid stabbing yourself or the baby with: http://www.bumritediapers.com/Snappi_Fastener_Baby_p/snappi-baby.htm. (They cost a bit more than pins, but I managed with four–two of which I promptly lost–over four babies, usually having two in diapers at a time, and they lasted the whole time.) The other great thing about the plain rectangular diapers is that when they are done as diapers they make awesome rags for soaking up big messes, which you are likely to have for many years to come.

    It’s not the feeding the babies that concerns me, it’s feeding the bottomless pits that they grow into. :-) Occasionally I toy with the idea of only making food they don’t like to keep portions manageable, but it seems like it would be a bad idea.

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted July 25, 2013 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      I did actually reduce the number of times a month I was making a couple of things that they really adored, because they were over-eating those things. They are also allowed to eat as much popcorn as they want.

  2. Posted July 25, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    On the topic of mommy guilt over not being perfect, I was blessed to be able to attend the Hearts at Home conference this year. The very fitting theme for the weekend was “No More Perfect Moms!” Those seemingly very-together, perfect looking speakers spent time sharing many of their not-so-perfect moments. We all realized that none of us in that room was even close to perfect, but we all loved our children, and we were continuing to learn and do the best we could. I bought a t-shirt from the conference that says “World’s Okayest Mom.” It’s become one of my favorites.

  3. Katie
    Posted July 25, 2013 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    But who makes the popcorn?

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted July 25, 2013 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      They do!

  4. Posted July 29, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Yes. Thank you for firmly stating that a church that does not accept children for Bible study, or provide childcare as an option is not Biblical.

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