"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.