Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Devotional Parenting

As Tom and I walked hand-in-hand to the grocery store last Friday afternoon, I knew that we were in fact on a date. This because we were by ourselves. It occurred to me that running errands with your spouse while the grandparents are at home with the kids constitutes an actual date when you are someone who "practices devotional parenting".

Since I began writing this blog, I've been asked by a number of people what I mean by "devotional parenting" as mentioned in my profile at right [text changed 9-18-09]. One friend even Googled it, and much to my happy surprise, came up with nothing. So folks, you heard it here first!

I came up with the term a while back when I began reconnecting with many old friends on facebook. I found myself describing my life as a SAHM (stay at home mom) who had "surrendered to motherhood" (a term introduced to me by a teacher at a parents' group). I explained that becoming a mother had been a monumental task for me, and that for Tom and I, our children are the center of our universe. Therefore, we make choices that allow us to spend as much time as possible caring for our kids.

You see, not long (hours maybe) after Valerie was born, I knew I had quite clearly discovered the meaning of life. Life for Life's sake. We are here to make and love babies. It's not a religious view. It is more evolutionary than anything else. Perpetuation of the species. Simple.

"Practicing devotional parenting": I use "practice" because it sounds almost like following a religion (see entry 4). I use "devotional" because I am totally devoted to my kids. Just about everything Tom and I do is in some way, if not directly, related to the well being of our children.

Our date last Friday was the first time I had been away from home without the kids in over three months. I had that feeling, at first, like I had forgotten something. Like, was I missing my purse? My keys? My left arm?? Yes, I start going a little nuts when it has been a while since I was out alone. Tom does take the kids out for a couple of hours now and then, but I usually stay home on the couch and try not to notice all the ten thousand things around me that need to be tended to, and instead relax with with some chocolate and a Neil Finn album. Or nap.

It might be different for us if we lived closer than 5 hours away from family. The only people who have ever babysat our kids are relatives. We don't have the means to afford a nanny, nor do we want to take the chance on hiring a babysitter whom we simply do not know. We are the ones who look after the kids. All the time. Mostly me.

To "practice devotional parenting" by always being there for my children is my choice. (It also involves breastfeeding and co-sleeping and renting vs. owning a home, and myriad other things, but those are other stories.) I spend the bulk of my energy on my kids. "Me time" (and "me and Tom time") is at night when they have gone to sleep, before I decide I really must get to bed before 6 a.m. hits and it is time to start all over again. I do have other aspirations and dreams for myself, but I have accepted that this is just how it is for now. And I love Valerie and Andrew so much, I wouldn't have it any other way.

4 comments:

  1. I agree with the no means for a nanny and I'm not letting my kid hang out with someone not family. I think you may have hit on something here...perhaps in a few months when Mike and I need a date we can trade....I'll watch yours, you watch the baby and we can all have lovely dates in your gorgeous neck of the woods while we know our kids are with family! ;)

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  2. I guess I don't practice that, I'm definitely into the me time. Gotta surf! But I remember when both my kids were in the first two years of their lives I didn't surf much.

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  3. I am glad that your coined the term "devotional parenting," Sarah. I think you really have something and should publish some articles about it. Your writing is not only vibrant, but so useful!

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  4. Wow. This sounds like my life too!

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