Saturday, August 27, 2011

"The Sisterhood of Motherhood" Friends or Foes?

  Well, it's been awhile since I have had a new post. We have had a busy summer here at the farm. Our garden did not have a great year, but enjoyed what we managed to get and of course enjoyed friends and family's "extra". There is nothing like the taste of summer in homegrown fruits and veggies!

   We got through all the college prep and planning for our oldest and he starts classes Monday, I can't believe I am the mother of a college student! We are in full swing with homeschooling our 10th and 7th graders now...oh how I hate to see summer end, but love getting new books and new office supplies and getting together with all my homeschool friends at our co-op.

   I have been thinking about the bonds we women have through the sisterhood of motherhood. These relationships can be so sweet, and honestly all of my mommy friends are fabulous, I love each of them. But I have noticed through out the years, that we can also be quite critical of one another. We all have our opinion of the "best" ways of doing things....and not only have those opinions, but are compelled to get others to share those opinions....Ladies, we need to be really careful here. There is a fine line between a helpful tip or advice vs. a word of advice with a critical tone that makes the hearer feel criticized. 

   I was a stay at home mom up until 5 years ago and felt judged sometimes by my working mom friends. I felt like they thought all I did was sit around all day, which is so far from the truth. I know some of my working mom friends felt judged by us stay at home moms because they worked.

  Let me just say, for our family, we wanted our kids to be at home with me when they were young, and we were willing to sacrifice by living on one income. We felt that was what God was calling US to do. Then when it was time to make the schooling decision, after a short 2 years in Christian school, we decided that God was calling US to homeschool. It was a temptation for me to think that if God was calling US to these things, maybe ALL should feel called to do the same....but I knew that some of my working mom friends really could not do the same...but I still watched others judge each other, and I hate to admit that I got caught up in it too. Then our lives changed...

   My husband was injured and could not work for 5 what? My kids were 12, 9,and 6 when he got hurt. I am so very thankful that my children were that old when I had to think about working, but it was really hard. I decided to go back to school and become a massage therapist and do medical message. I had seen the pain that my husband had dealt with all of his adult life and watched him recover from two surgeries and decided that I wanted to work to help relieve pain in peoples lives.

   Deciding to go to school was a leap of faith for sure. That year of school and the year of building the business was really tough. We had to rely on assistance and I remember feeling less than human because of it. I had people get mad that I got aide for my schooling. I looked at the aid as a provision from God because there was no way I could pay for it myself. I didn't get a free ride, I still have a student loan....We also had to go on food stamps...this is a tough one for me to admit, but that time we were on them there would've been no way to pay for food...When I was a young girl, my dad left and we had a period of not having much food, I didn't want my kids to be hungry, so I swallowed my pride for them.

   We also had to step back from doing things for awhile. People don't seem to understand why you can't go shopping, go on trips, eat out...there is that judgement from others again...

   God has been so good, he brought us through that hard period and are no longer relying on assistance even though it was another step of faith to get out of "the system" (if you've never been through the process, you just can't imagine) Anyway, we are doing well, my husband is working and my business has grown. While I would love to be able to come back home full time, I cannot. Maybe in the future, but right now it seems that God is still calling me to be a mom who works outside of the home.

   I need to not judge myself for that. I am doing the best I can. It is hard to juggle work and homeschooling, and people question how I do it all the time. Some people have had that critical tone though...that stings and I remember the fact that maybe I stung some precious mom at one time....funny how we at some point in life end up on all sides. God sustains us and turns the ugly into beautiful useful tools....

   Through my experiences, I have learned to see hurting children going through abandonment issues, feel the need to help with our churches food pantry to not see families go hungry( and not judge them for needing help), help to relieve pain in peoples bodies, and understand the hearts of both stay at home moms and moms who work outside the home. These are things I may not have ever understood the value in if I had not gone through these things...

   My hope in sharing all of this, is that we will stop the quick judgement that comes so easy, and look beyond to peoples hearts and situations...Moms, lets encourage and help one another and be on the same team instead of being divided by lifestyle...we all want the same things for our families anyway. Lets be real with each other.... ugly struggles and all. God has grace enough to cover all of us and we should try give others the gift of grace.

   I hope all of you have a wonderful supportive school year no matter where they go to school and am so glad to be a part of this "Sisterhood of Motherhood"

-Love, Allison


Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

Dear Allison,
Thank you for sharing your story. We are homeschoolers too in our eleventh year... It's true about how women can be so judgmental of one another and competitive especially when it comes to their children. And it can be so harmful too...
Great of you to shed some light and best to you in your new homeschooling year!

Cheryl said...

Beautiful, Allison! Enough said!! Just beautiful!

JNPmommie said...

Thanks for sharing! I think we are too critical of ourselves sometimes, too. I feel guilty that I work full time. Even though I do my job out of my house, I heap lots of guilt upon myself because I can't go without working, which is what I would prefer. Then when I tell people I work full time I say it with a sense of shame.

We sure could use each others' love and support through every stage of life, just like you said.

Love you Allison!!

Camille said...

What a lovely post Allison! How many difficult things the LORD has brought you through! And how Wonderful HE is!! How beautiful to read that through it all you praise HIM and look to HIM! What a blessing that is to your family. May HE continue to give you grace in all you do each and every day.

Many blessings to you!

Lana said...

You did what you needed to do for your family. Having an injured husband can be devastating. We had one friend fall and break a hip --- worked at a chemical plant in the area and three months later, if he couldn't make the climb on the ladder to the top of a tank, he'd be let go...he was still having trouble walking. It was devastating. Sometimes, we just do what we gotta do and it'd be great to get a bit of compassion for our situation. I'm glad you moved forward and took charge of the situation to get some more education that enabled you to do something valuable. It's great that your husband's situation inspired you to help others who are hurting.