My husband and I were enjoying dinner at a restaurant one evening while our six-week-old daughter slept in her carrier. I noticed two elderly ladies seated at the table next to ours were admiring her. One spoke up. “Enjoy every stage of her childhood,” she began, and I waited for the usual “because they grow up so fast,” like so many others had said to me since her birth. Instead, the woman went on, “because each stage is worse than the one before it.”
I wasn’t sure how to respond. What a negative thing to say to new parents!
I wish I could say that was the first and last time someone has been so disagreeable when advising me about parenthood, but it wasn’t. In fact, from the moment I announced to coworkers that I was pregnant, I’ve heard one disparaging thing about children and motherhood after another. Almost everywhere I go, I notice that children are seen as a nuisance. We live in a society that sees having more than two children as a financial and emotional drain. Abortion on demand is viewed as a necessity. Even our president has said that he wouldn’t want his daughters “punished with a baby” if they became pregnant before they were ready. Our culture’s mentality that children are a burden is evident.
As moms, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. When you take your kids to the grocery store, how often do you hear, “Wow, you have your hands full!” or, “Just wait until they’re teenagers!”?
I’m ashamed to say that I used to laugh and go along with this kind of talk. I’d agree with a chuckle. But lately, I’ve been reconsidering this approach.
After all, don’t the Scriptures speak of children as a blessing and a treasure? You’re probably familiar with Psalm 127:3: “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.”
And didn’t Jesus welcome the children? “Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, ‘Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.’” (Luke 18:15-16).
God created us in His image, and He has designed childhood as part of His perfect plan for humanity. When He came to die for us, He came as a child. Clearly, He prizes children. And if God values them so much, shouldn’t we?
Now, I’m not saying that it’s never okay to admit that we’re having a rough day, or that we’re struggling with our role as moms. We should not try to portray our children as perfect, because they aren’t. However, we can choose to be honest while also valuing our children with our speech.
Living as Christian moms means being radically different than the culture around us, and the way we speak about our children should be no exception. As mothers who want to honor Christ, we should talk about our children the way God’s Word talks about them: as precious gifts who bear His image.