Take a Tablespoon of Mommy Guilt…and VOILA!

By JMathis

Being a mom is inherently a lifetime of worry, guilt and walking on eggshells.

You have the world telling you that if your kid is not in gymnastics, ballet, soccer and swimming lessons (all at once), she’s doomed to be a couch potato…for life.

That if she eats a cookie everyday, she’s headed towards adult obesity.

That if she watches more than exactly 1.3 hours of television each day, she will end up being a violent member of society.

That if you don’t read to her at night, she’ll never do well on her SATs.

That if she isn’t being stimulated enough in daycare, you ruin her chances of getting into a good college.

As a mom, you hear fragments of these conversations in your head on a minute-by-minute basis, as you drive your kids to school, juggle a career, make them dinner, put them to bed.

So, you start developing your own rules. Rules that you think will churn out the perfect kid.

My rule was simple for my daughter: I’m not raising a princess.

This way, she’s guaranteed to go to Harvard on a golf scholarship, and become the scientist who cures Alzheimer’s.

As AbbyA would probably say, I was so determined to think “out of the box”, that by defining and limiting God, I just ended up being trapped in an even smaller box of my own making.

Fortunately for me, God had other plans.

He gave my daughter a daddy who daily gives her permission to be a soft princess who loves pink and the sweeter things in life. Who teaches her that you don’t have to scrape and claw your way in this world, and that you deserve to be treated by a man with utmost gentleness and kindness.

God gave her that balance so that her neurotic mother wouldn’t dictate to her the perils of being a girlie girl in the 21st century. So that I wouldn’t be allowed to dump a lifetime of my hangups, insecurities and psychobabble on her.

Fortunately for me, God had other plans.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. Isaiah 55:8

Princess, Get Out of the Box!

By AbbyA

Just to recap, JMathis quoted her husband yesterday.  “Every girl is a princess, whether she realizes it or not, and she deserves to be treated as such.”  The follow up to this comment is FEMINIST UPHEAVAL – – not by The National Organization for Women or your local women’s studies program – – by JMathis  herself.

We have all of these categorical boxes that we are in or want to be in.  Feminist.  Christian.  Post-Modern.  Politically Correct.  Professional.  Stay at Home Mom.  In a Relationship.  Married.  Whatever it is for you.  We are some of these things.  We strive to be some of these things.  What is it about the box?  What is it that fuels our desire for others to see us in a particular light?

Take JMathis.  The feminist within is cringing at the princess treatment.  Is she cringing because she really doesn’t want the royal treatment or is she cringing in fear of losing her kick-butt persona on the street?    Take me.  I really am good at what I do professionally – – God made that happen, not me.  BUT, put me around a group of stay at home supermoms and I automatically feel like a pathetic loser who is robbing her kids of quality time.  Or, take me again.  I have this really great partner who happens to not believe in God.  Put me around a bunch of equally-yoked couples and I feel like my relationship with God is being judged.  Is it harder to be who you are or harder to not be who everyone wants or expects you to be?

Let me tell you more.  I was in some serious bondage about the current state of my life.  Christian +Mom + Full Time Working + Recovering from the Real Estate Market Crash + Husband who thinks Christians are Hypocrites.  Staring at God with a blank face.  I felt left behind by my professional girlfriends who stopped working when baby #2 came along.  I felt left behind by my girlfriends who had the appearance of happy marriage and multiple kids.  I felt left behind by colleagues who could work without constraints such as heading out to pick the kids at 3pm or giving excuses for the noise in the background.  I really didn’t fit in anywhere.  Or so I thought.

Over a few month period, I met some really amazing younger women.  I met a coffee shop barista who was taking a semester off from college to work on her relationship with God and find direction.  I met a full time “house mom” for a bunch of pregnant teenagers in a group home.  She was deciding whether to stick with the group home or head out to Thailand to study to be a midwife.  I met a college softball player who was thinking about leaving for China to learn to teach English abroad.  Not one of these ladies made a big difference to me until I had met them all.  I was talking to my mom one morning as I aimlessly tried to find my son’s away football game field.  And, somehow, God, in a tender way, blew out my box.  He intended for me to see in these girls His passion and calling on their lives in out of the box directions.  He intended for me to see the value of a life that went in His direction.  This is the day that I stopped caring about what I looked like from the outside.

God is so out of the box.  His plans for each of us are so far and wide.  He intended for me to work and be a mom and stand for all of the other Christian mamas who are too afraid to admit their husband’s unsaved or their marriage is not perfect.  That is my box and there is no other box that my life would fit in.  We can’t live in glass walls.  Square pegs don’t fit in round holes.  We can’t thrive if we are starving for air in a life that wasn’t meant for us anyway.

So, JMathis, I love the feminist in you.  I love the feminist in you because you know that your political view doesn’t supersede God’s very specific and amazing plan for your life.  And, don’t get me wrong, pray for my unsaved husband!  At the beginning and end of every day, seek Him, know who you are in Him and live that out every second of every day until you see His very face.  For whoever loses his life for Him will surely find it.  Matthew 16:25.

Your Carriage Awaits, Princess

By JMathis

My family is inundated with girls. On my dad’s side, out of fourteen cousins, only two are boys. On my mom’s side, even though we cousins seem evenly split between the sexes, it is a roost ruled by aunts, with my three uncles coddled as princes by my mom and her gaggle of sisters.

Boys were so prized by my family and my culture, that early on, I felt compelled to be the son that my parents never had in order to appear that I had value, worth, and something of substance to contribute to society. In life, I played the role of tomboy well—I fished a lot, collected tadpoles, challenged boys to race me, and didn’t mind getting dirty. I hated makeup, dressing up and anything associated with being “girlie”. As I grew older, my best friends were guys, and I always looked to them as role models to develop my worldview, my sense of humor and my intellect.

One of these guys turned out to be my husband, who I just idolized (and still do) for his razor-sharp wit, sarcasm and the fact that he is “wicked smaaahhht” (as they say in Boston). From a biological perspective, I think I saw his brilliance and just knew that needed to be incorporated into my gene pool (hey, get your mind out of the gutter!). In him, I thought I was getting everything that I lacked as a “girl”—the skills needed to problem-solve, be analytical and the ability to take life by the metaphorical “balls”.

The interesting thing is, even though I spent my whole life trying to be a boy like my husband, the one thing he taught me was how to be a girl. Not just any girl, but a princess—even a queen. Yes, we fight, get on each other’s nerves and want to kill each other at least every other day, but through it all, my husband dotes on me hand and foot. Despite the fact that he may be a total neanderthal at times, he makes me elaborate breakfasts on the weekends, does my laundry (and really well, to boot—he hand-treats stains, separates whites from colors, puts delicates in a separate load and even folds my underwear!) and tucks me into bed by singing me to sleep.

My whole life, I looked down on other girls for wanting all of this and yet, he gave me the one thing I thought I abhorred…the right to be and feel like a princess.

Of course, you would think that I would bask in all of this royal treatment, but I actually fight it tooth and nail (even though I secretly love it), especially when it comes to how he treats our daughter. While I am hell-bent on raising a “tough girl”, he is just as determined to turn her into daddy’s little princess. For Christmas, I bought her a Black and Decker toolset, and he buys her a library of princess fairy tales. I buy her clothes in earth-tones and camouflage, and he buys her pink tutus and tiaras.

This causes me to jump all over him and scream, “Princesses don’t cure cancer! Princesses don’t care about math and science! Princesses don’t become world leaders! Princesses only care about their looks and boys!

And, what does he say in retort to my daily rants?

“Every girl is a princess, whether she realizes it or not, and she deserves to be treated as such.”

While the feminist in me just cringes at such a remark, the girl who is the daughter of the King of the Universe sees some spiritual truth in this statement.

While I lose tons of street cred in writing this (and you will never hear me utter this out loud with my lips), I think he might be right. Not in the Disney princess sort of way, but in the way that only God can see His creation, His church—as a bride, beautiful, majestic and flawless, worthy of honor and praise.

Ephesians 5:25-27

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Ladies, the truth is, you are princesses and you deserve to be treated as such. If you don’t see yourself as a princess, you’re not seeing yourself as God sees you. When you look in the mirror and can only see the junk-in-the-trunk and the not-so-perky boobs, you denigrate the image that God has of you as a woman—as a princess. If your boyfriend or husband cannot, will not or does not treat you with love, honor and respect, he desecrates the image that God has of you as a woman—as a princess.  

While you may never change how your family, friends or your significant other perceives or treats you, you can change how you perceive and treat yourself. If you see yourself as anything less than the royal priesthood that has been bestowed upon you, you turn your back on all of the blessings, opportunities and riches that God has planned for your royal destiny.  

You are a princess, and you deserve to be treated as such. You may not realize it and others may not realize it, including your own husband and kids. But, guess what? God realizes it, and He has from the second He laid eyes on you.

Embrace, treasure and cherish that you are royalty. 

Your carriage awaits, princess…

Psalms 45:10-17

 10 Listen to me, O royal daughter; take to heart what I say.
      Forget your people and your family far away.
 
11 For your royal husband delights in your beauty;
      honor him, for he is your lord.
 
12 The princess of Tyre[c] will shower you with gifts.
      The wealthy will beg your favor.
 
13 The bride, a princess, looks glorious
      in her golden gown.
 
14 In her beautiful robes, she is led to the king,
      accompanied by her bridesmaids.
 
15 What a joyful and enthusiastic procession
      as they enter the king’s palace!                                                                                         

16 Your sons will become kings like their father.
      You will make them rulers over many lands.
 
17 I will bring honor to your name in every generation.
      Therefore, the nations will praise you forever and ever.