Friday, August 5, 2011

Do I REALLY Need A Village?

"It takes a Village to Raise A Child"- I have no idea where that quote came from- but I started thinking about it and over analyzing it (as I do best) today. At work, (and just about every day), I overheard a couple of conversations between a couple of moms. They all had between 2 and 3 children all ranging between 3 months and 4 years. They were all discussing how impossible it was to raise kids "alone". I'm not speaking of "alone" as a single mom- I'm speaking of "alone" as in "no hired help". They all had a nanny, or 2, and one of them had a nanny about to leave- so was moving her mother down here to replace the nanny, to the point of buying her mother a huge house so the kids could stay there a couple days a week. Here's the part that really made me go "huh?", these were all stay at home moms.
THEN, one of my coworkers has started working as a "therapist" for a 14 year old autistic boy. She's a bit frustrated with the mother, because the mother has no agenda for her son except to keep him busy and out of her way. Everyone, except the mother, has trained her and worked with her on how to connect with the young man. When asked a question about her new student, the mother instructed her to call one of the former therapists for answers because she didn't have time.
It really got to me, when I observed a mom and dad sitting in the lobby at work, watching their Nanny participate in a "Parent & Child Class" in the gym with their little boy. The dad was very frustrated that his son kept coming to the windows banging on it for his parents to come in with him. The dad finally, reluctantly, went in when the mom refused- then stated to mom, "Fine- but next time you have to- isn't this what we pay that woman (the nanny) for?".
Okay, I'm sure you've guessed by my "tone" that I think this is all a bit outrageous. I'm sure there is some truth to the "village" training our children- but it truly comes down to MOM and DAD- not the therapists, nannies, grandparents, etc. We, as parents, have the responsibility to surround our children with the proper people and influences- but it is OUR responsibility to raise our children.
Many families have both parents working, Lupe and I are now one of those, but it is still our responsibility to make sure our children are okay, respectable, stable, loved, and adored. I wish some of these parents could grab hold of how precious time is, and what I wouldn't give many days to just sit and be with my girls and not have a caregiver experiencing "my moments". I couldn't imagine letting someone else bathing my girls and putting them to bed every night.
Don't get me wrong, I do understand the need for a certain degree of assistance- especially when you're working. But, parenting is a gift that requires time- regardless of how much money you have. Even when you're a working mom, it means, even more importantly, that the time you do have with your children is  precious. I truly think, that even if I had $100's of $1000's to spare, I would still be the one to do everything for my girls (outside of a date night and night out, of course- and probably not the ironing).
There's a certain pleasure that I get from caring for my family. Even the cooking, cleaning, laundry, vacuuming, and ironing- there's a certain joy that comes from that- I am taking care of my family and providing for them in more ways than just a title of "Mom". I almost felt sorry for some of these other women that obviously do not know that joy- or that they do not even strive to obtain it.
I hope I do not sound judgemental here, it's not my intent. These other women I spoke of, are very wealthy, and obviously had more than enough money to hire as much assistance as possible. I can't say whether they really needed the assistance or not- but I do wonder if they are robbing themselves of many moments and memories.
As a Christian, I have learned that my first ministry is to my family.  Our "Village" is created of our church family and leaders, grandparents, aunts & uncles, Godly friends, teachers (that we have prayed in)- and most importantly Lupe and I- and we orchestrate "our village" to nurture our girls in the ways God has instructed us.

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