After.

Friday, April 5, 2013

"After the kids grow up, then, life will begin!"

"I couldn't WAIT for mine to get out!"

"Got your hands full, eh?  Must drive you nuts bringing them here!"

Take your children to the grocery store with a great big smile on your face and see how people respond.  I even had one lady suggest I must be on medication to be so happy while shopping with three kids.  But, that's the society we live in.

Kids are an inconvenience and all the real living happens AFTER they're gone.

Am I too bold to suggest there is a sort of cultural norm encouraging parents to loathe their children? To hate the commitment they require?  To selfishly state how annoying and burdensome they are to 'bring' everywhere, like children are some kind of heavy-weight package?  To want to shove them out of the way and just get this 'kid' thing over with?


After working at a grocery store for 6 months, I can confidently say, most people dislike their children.  Period.  If they don't completely dislike them, they sure make it seem like they do.  They carry this "after kids, my life will be better" mentality and they wear it loud and proud.  They believe the lie that their children are a big fat hindrance, and this attitude festers deep in the soul of the parent and bleeds all over the hurting family. 

I heard it in my co-workers and I saw it all the time in the customers who shopped with their children.  They speak to their kids like they are less than human.  They shove them around and lie to them and coerce them into obedience through less than loving means.  They tell them, 'shut up', and 'just close your face', and 'will you just leave me alone?' and 'get away from me!'  and I've seen and I've heard it all.

I've even had parents openly criticize their children in front of me and full line of customers.  Like a Dad who proudly announced his teenagers were 'brats' as he pointed a thumb at his three kids next to him, "After these guys grow up and get out, THEN life will begin!" 

His kids looks bewildered, unsure of how to respond to their Dad's open hatred of their existence.

There it is, folks, after the kids, then, somehow, life will be better!

Another day, I stoop low to a boy with a sad, solemn face.  His mother is indignant about something or other that seemed pointless to me at the time.  I crouched and looked up into his hurting eyes.  "Hey sweetie, do you want a sticker of a car?"  He lights up.  The mother grunts.  So many mothers who are angry and reluctant to show tenderness to their own flesh.  My heart turns inside of me.  He takes the sticker gently and whispers, "thank you".  I smile at the mom while she grimaces back.  She grabs her son's tiny hand and yanks him away.  He glances back and I feel my eyes well up.  Again.  Again and again, my eyes welled up at how parents treated their precious children.

This is the world and guess what?  If you love your children and enjoy spending time with them -  you're a freak.

This world is flip-flopped upside down friends, and no wonder we feel like fish out of water.  I actually LOVE spending every day with my kids.  I love going to the grocery store with them and I love going for ice cream with them and I love stopping in at the market or bakery with them and they are never a burden.  They are a part of me.  We are not perfect, but we are one.

Can I just say, children have an equal right to be in a public place... just as equal as every adult there.  And it really upsets me when people assume that I hate my children.  They make comments that take my breath away and suggest RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM that my children are a big fat pain in the ass.  And to that, I will proudly announce that "I LOVE being with my kids!  These guys are awesome!"  just to hush them up and assure my kids they are indeed, wanted.  Yes, so, so wanted.

We talk about how generations ago, children were to be 'seen and not heard' and how ridiculous that was!  But friends, we're living right smack in the middle it still.  Nothing has changed in the grand scheme of society.  If you're a home educator, I'm sure we get the best taste of this.  Every single time I bring my children somewhere during the day, I get the eye brow raises, the rolls of the eye, even the shaking heads.  As if our children are completely imposing by simple being present in society.  How dare they!?  Shouldn't they BE IN SCHOOL!?   And our kids, they're GOOD kids.

But they ARE kids.  And that's their fatal flaw.

Because they didn't get the memo that life, well, life happens AFTER kids.  
And WITHOUT kids.

I refuse to surrender to that destructive mentality.  I not only refuse, but it gets me pretty riled up. (Can you tell?)

We are called to be light, friends.  We can be light in this world, by treating our children the way they deserve to be treated.  With tenderness, love, kindness, understanding and respect.  Not like we're pushing to get to the 'AFTER kids' stage of our life.

And if you see a Mother who is loving every moment with her children, tell her.  Compliment her children.  Show her you appreciate seeing a parent who is actively living out acceptance and life-giving love towards her children.  We all need a little hug of encouragement.

As I often say, there may never be an 'AFTER'.  And what we do in the now hugely predicts what
 our after looks like.  I want to paint a picture of deep rooted friendship with our children and family bond that transcends all other earthly things.  With grace, I pray, we can all achieve this in our families and be a shining example of Christ's love in this crazy, crazy world.


Written for Five Minute Friday.




31 comments:

  1. Wow. I choked a little reading about that little guy.

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  2. I absolutely love this post!

    We take our children nearly everywhere with us and it seems we are constantly given snide remarks about it. Oh, how people are missing out on really showing their children that they are gifts from God if all they ever know is that Mommy and Daddy are burdened with them!

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  3. I agree - it makes me sad to read Facebook statuses of our public school'd friends who are eager by day 2 of a holiday to get their kids back to school because they are going crazy or don't want to commit to their kids.

    But, on the other side of the coin.... at the grocery store.... it CAN be stressful to take a group of kids to the store, especially when they are young. After having a particularly challenging store visit, the cashier isn't likely to see me radiating the best parenting smile and skills when all I want is to get home before I burst. I'm sure there have been plenty of times when the cashier thinks I am crazy lol.

    Nice post. :)

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  4. This is terrible! :( I see it, but not as often as I'm not in front of it as often. We should light up the world and make the other parents feel like they are the ones who are crazy for taking their children for granted and quite literally disliking them.
    I adore my children and feel terrible when I snap at them (ahem...which is why I am writing an entire eBook on the subject).

    Thank you for sharing this...for writing it for others to see. I often wonder if parent's realize the sharpness of their words and how badly they wound.

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  5. I am sorry to say that I see it too and it really bothers me. I LOVE being with my little man, life is just so exciting and magical with him. I am trying hard to slow it all down, to make it last longer...it is just all so amazing right now.

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  6. I love this! I have three under three and lets be honest, they are a challenge. But they are good kids who love to do things with me. And I take them to the store even when I don't have to because we like to do things together. I frequently get told "You have your hands full!" or some variation of how insane I am to not only have three little ones but to take them places with me. But I love having them with me. They are my pride and joy! Sure, I get weary and need a break from time to time but for the most part I can't imagine not having them with me. Doctors appointments they come along and I feel like I have to apologize even though I really shouldn't. I had one doctor REFUSE to see me for my appointment because I had my older two boys with me. I haven't gone back to that specialist. I also get a lot of comments about how I am "getting it all out of the way at once." But that's not my desire in having them close in age. I wan them close in age for a variety of reasons but a huge reason is because I wan them to be best friends and to enjoy life with one another. Anyway, my littlest is hungry. Time to nurse and snuggle my little guy. Thanks for this post!

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    1. It's nice to see someone else in my boat! My oldest is going to be four this week and I'm due in less than four months with number four. I love having my kids close together, but get very tired of all the comments. I can't go anywhere without hearing them. It is very difficult to go out places sometimes, but we do it anyway - sometime because we have to and sometimes because we want to. Yes, I get tired, but I wouldn't trade my kids for anything!

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  7. I love this! I have three under three and lets be honest, they are a challenge. But they are good kids who love to do things with me. And I take them to the store even when I don't have to because we like to do things together. I frequently get told "You have your hands full!" or some variation of how insane I am to not only have three little ones but to take them places with me. But I love having them with me. They are my pride and joy! Sure, I get weary and need a break from time to time but for the most part I can't imagine not having them with me. Doctors appointments they come along and I feel like I have to apologize even though I really shouldn't. I had one doctor REFUSE to see me for my appointment because I had my older two boys with me. I haven't gone back to that specialist. I also get a lot of comments about how I am "getting it all out of the way at once." But that's not my desire in having them close in age. I wan them close in age for a variety of reasons but a huge reason is because I wan them to be best friends and to enjoy life with one another. Anyway, my littlest is hungry. Time to nurse and snuggle my little guy. Thanks for this post!

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  8. I love this! I have three under three and lets be honest, they are a challenge. But they are good kids who love to do things with me. And I take them to the store even when I don't have to because we like to do things together. I frequently get told "You have your hands full!" or some variation of how insane I am to not only have three little ones but to take them places with me. But I love having them with me. They are my pride and joy! Sure, I get weary and need a break from time to time but for the most part I can't imagine not having them with me. Doctors appointments they come along and I feel like I have to apologize even though I really shouldn't. I had one doctor REFUSE to see me for my appointment because I had my older two boys with me. I haven't gone back to that specialist. I also get a lot of comments about how I am "getting it all out of the way at once." But that's not my desire in having them close in age. I wan them close in age for a variety of reasons but a huge reason is because I wan them to be best friends and to enjoy life with one another. Anyway, my littlest is hungry. Time to nurse and snuggle my little guy. Thanks for this post!

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  9. I hope the 'after' never comes. I hope they keep dropping in like they do and bringing the grandkids. I hope they keep phoning and eating my food, and messing up my living rooms and bathrooms. Motherhood never ends and I am so glad.

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  10. Such a beautiful post! And a good reminder to all of us to be kind always (even while shopping.)
    --Gena

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  11. Yep! My husband and I marvel that *we* are the weird ones.

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  12. This is what teachers deal with everyday—broken children who need to be loved. And who will show them that love? Thank you for showing kindness to your own children and to the children of others.
    Even before I had children, I felt it was my calling to be the "neighborhood mom"—the mom that would love all of her children's friends as their second mother. I grew up seeing most of my friends treated horribly by their parents, and it just continued the cycle of embitterment and selfishness. But when someone shows kindness to another, it gives everyone hope. This is why foster care is so dear to my heart, too!
    Thanks for sharing.

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  13. well-said. heartbreaking but true. May God be glorified in our parenting the blessings He gives us.

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  14. wonderful! I wholeheartedly agree with you! Even though I struggle mightily with impatience toward my children when I'm tired, they truly are a blessing and my life would be greatly impoverished without them!

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  15. Wow! I'm the mom who cried every September when my kids went back to school. I really missed them and the fun times we had. Now they're all grown with families of their own and I'm living in the"after". All I have to say is thank God for grandchildren, because "after" is more boring and lonely than I imagined.

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  16. Beautifully written! Thank you for so boldly standing up for your family and for your children. It always hurts a little, when I go places with my 6 kiddos, when I get the comments like "you've got your hands full" or worse, "are they ALL yours?!" I never know how to react! But I've started just saying, "Yep, isn't it great?!" I love that you say that you love being with your kids and that you think they're awesome.

    It is so sad how so many parents can barely tolerate their kids. In many ways, I don't blame them as much as I blame our society as a whole. With so many working parents, broken families, the powerful influence of the media, and physical and emotional abuse, it's no wonder that people don't even know HOW to be good parents or HOW to love their children. It is up to those of us that do (or I should say are trying our best and educating ourselves!) to lead others and lift them up. Thanks for the great post!

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  17. While I appreciate your comments about the trend in our culture to view children as a burden or a hindrance, I think your discussion here contributes to another destructive cultural trend, that of parent shaming. Self righteously calling parents down based on observations in the grocery store demonstrates an unfortunate lack of empathy and imagination on your part.

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    1. I'm sorry you feel that way. I really hope you've been able to read more of my posts and see that this isn't the case at all. I'm not trying to shame parents in any way. I'm simply bringing to light the truth. I have heaps of empathy for parents. I'm usually the one walking over to the Mom with the crying kids to ask if she's ok. I get it. I've had my 'moments'. Especially in public places when the kids go nuts. What I'm talking about is deliberately treating children poorly. Making intentional statements about our children that are destructive and demeaning. I don't just see it at the store, I see it in every walk of life... Much love to you.

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  18. I'm with you. It breaks my heart, especially when they express their distaste right in front of their children.

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  19. Beautifully said.

    As a former home school mom (both children are graduated) I LOVED EVERY. SINGLE. MINUTE. I had with my children. Every single one.

    Now that my children are grown, I miss them. Terribly. Cherish every moment you have with your kiddos. You never know when you might never see them again.

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  20. This is what I constantly have to remind myself. When I feel resentment rising up I immediately repent and submit to God's peace in his perfect plan for them as his children in my care, and his plan for me as their ordained mother in his care. Selfishness is the opposite of Christ. I intend to exemplify Christ in every season. I praise God for my children-they color my world with Joy and thankfulness.

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  21. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for writing this. I am a mom of 6 beautiful blessings but sadly have been guilty of speaking harshly to my children, or treating them with disrespect. This post has reminded me who exactly our children are. They are God's. I am only a steward of His life that He has given me to protect, teach, love, and take care of. Thank you for your love and honesty in this post.

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  22. This is exactly how my mother is. I'm now 32 and my brother is 34 this yr, and all we heard about in our early 20's was how great her life was now that she had the house to herself, -she said it TO US. - and sh would go on about how poor so an so's son has gone back to live with them at 25 "just when she thought all that hd finished."

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    1. I'm sorry to hear this. Love to you, friend.

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  23. This is exactly the opposite of how we are raising our kids, in the middle eastern tradition, they re everything to us. My mother thinks it is excessive, that I give in all the time and that I should be smacking my daughter more. Perhaps I don't just make rules for the sake of winning though, and perhaps I see my daughter's heart rather than stomp all over it. No day is easy and I'm not perfect, but I try to be there for her as a person, a mother who knows that she is a gift from God. Not someone in the way until my home becomes my own again. It's our home, and I hope she lives with me as long as I can get her to!

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  24. I absolutely *love* this post and needed it today. After a rough day with the kids, I felt myself becoming resentful with my children. But OH what a BLESSING they are and this post totally reminded me of why I stay home. I really love snuggling with them and playing with them and conversing with them in baby babble and so on and so forth. :) Thank you Cassandra. Amazing Post!

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  25. thanks for sharing - it's so important to see our children as a blessing! As a mom of five, I'm all too familiar with the "hard days"...but we MUST remember that our calling with them is eternal!! We have to remember the big picture, not all the little messes!

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  26. I love reading your blog! I need to add you to my list so that I don't continue to miss posts! Anyway, thought-provoking post...and in so many ways sadly true. Something for all parents - Moms AND Dads - and even anyone around kids to think about: words and actions do hurt even if in passing.

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