If you grew up in this culture, it is very hard to get a biblical perspective on motherhood, to think like a free Christian woman about your life, your children. How much have we listened to partial truths and half lies? Do we believe that we want children because there is some biological urge, or the phantom “baby itch”? Are we really in this because of cute little clothes and photo opportunities? Is motherhood a rock-bottom job for those who can’t do more, or those who are satisfied with drudgery? If so, what were we thinking?
Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.
– Motherhood Is a Calling (And Where Your Children Rank) (originally quoted by Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve)
While looking through the pictures here on our site and on our adoption profile, I realized: boy, it looks like we take a lot of vacations. I’ve never really thought of ourselves as carefree – trust me, Shirly is many things, but she is not one to throw caution to the wind (that’s my job!) – but based on our pictures, it looks like we play a lot. San Diego, Seattle, Disneyworld, Disneyland (twice), Europe…
.,.okay, fine, we’ve done our share of traveling. To be candid, it’s a lot easier to do when you’re childless. And as we’ve been married quite a while without children, we’ve been accustomed to being able to go and do without worrying about the logistical challenges that come with kids. However, when we become parents, certain things are going to have to change. What do I see going out (or at least having to seriously modify) when babies come into the picture?
- Financial adjustments. We’re really very fortunate: I’ve been gainfully employed, my long-term prospects are bright (as mentioned in my bio, I’m presently in the Executive MBA program at the University of Texas), and we’ve been conservative with our finances. We foresee no real financial struggle with Shirly staying at home full-time with our children and me being the sole breadwinner. However, I will be the first to admit that we (okay, I) eat out way too often. That will certainly have to change. There are other frills we may have to clamp down on as well.
- Schedule latitude. Honestly, right now I really have very little free time to speak of: my schedule consists of work, school, church and occasional sleep. I’m sure free time will become even more scarce with children. No more visiting friends or going someplace on a whim. We’ll have to make time for certain priorities (date night!).
- Childproofing the house. I actually hadn’t thought about this until just now, but this might be pretty time consuming. Frankly, certain elements of our furniture are not terribly kid-friendly. We don’t have covers on our electrical outlets. We have breakables that a toddler could easily tip over when they start learning to walk. We’ll have to get gates for our staircase. And I suspect there will be at least a few potential hazards we hadn’t considered.
- Media choices. Actually, this isn’t what you might think. We don’t really watch a lot of TV – in fact, we don’t even get anything beyond terrestrial TV (no cable or satellite). We follow the counsel of the Church, so I think our movie collection, such as it is, doesn’t really need pruning. What we don’t have, aside from a fairly extensive Pixar collection, is kid-friendly movies. Because you know what? While I’m a huge Pixar fan, I never cared for Cars. And frankly, I didn’t have much use for Frozen, either. However, I imagine that plenty of such movies will be acquired in fairly short order.
This is just a very short list of adjustments that await us when we have children. I’m sure somebody will drop a comment in the thread about something I totally failed to consider. The bottom line is that parenthood entails sacrifice. Bring it on. It’s a sacrifice that I am quite happy to make. Because sacrifice brings forth blessings, and we are so very desirous to experience the blessings of parenthood.