Letter to Christian Working Mothers

Yet, another article that is beautifully written has been marred by comments by the followers of God. The beginning of this article really spoke to me as a working mom and if you are one, you should read it. Here’s the perfect example of having agreements with those who are in the church about other things besides religion. 

However, there comes a side effect of the religious undertones of articles written like this. Marred in the comments are ‘well meaning’ Christian women who think they know what it’s like to be inside someone’s life. They use “God’s words” to make their veiled guilt-ridden comments and they use “God’s words” to throw a little judgement and a pinch of righteousness into an already guilt-ridden and emotional mother’s mind.

My heart goes out to those women who are shackled to the fear that their decision for their family is somehow inferior to those around them. This post is for you.

Dear Christian Working Mother,

I have known that guilt you feel. People tell you the guilt you feel is God’s way of telling you that you may be doing something wrong. Other Christian women are coming forward to tell you how your decision to work outside the home, may not be a good fit – and you shouldn’t ignore that guilty feeling in your gut.

Let me tell you something, ladies, working mothers feel guilt. It doesn’t matter if you are Christian or Atheist. It doesn’t matter if your child is newborn or young adult. A mother’s instinct is to care and nurture her child with her own two hands. To foster and delight in your child’s learning and teach your child the ways of your beliefs or non-beliefs.

We aren’t that different, you and I. The guilt a working mother feels, has nothing to do with religion. At the end of the day, the guilt you feel in your heart, those achy pangs of sadness come Monday morning has to do with being a mother. Carrying a child for 9 months gives you a special bond with that child – it’s a natural psychological response to want to be close to that child and have a hand in their daily lives.

Don’t let people use God to guilt you into doubting your decision to work outside the home. There are some, most likely just like you, who have no other choice.

Think for a moment, what happens if you give in to your guilt and you quit your job.

Will God put food in your child’s belly? Will He clothe your child and keep her warm from the coming winter fast approaching? Now you can hold your child in your arms all day long, but at what expense? Will you have a roof over your head? Will you have a car to drive him to all the playdates you so desperately want to attend?

I’m calling all Christian Mamas out there who work outside the home. I’m telling you that  you don’t have to feel guilty. This world is based in money. That’s an unfortunate fact and no matter how much you try, at the end of the day, your working puts food on the table and a roof over your child’s head.

It doesn’t mean you love your child any less. It doesn’t mean you are doing something wrong. It doesn’t speak to your greed or your priorities as a mother or a woman, it simply speaks to the necessity to do what is right for your family.

The harsh reality of this world is that it doesn’t matter if you believe in God or not. The bill collectors are still calling. The house payment is still due. The medical bills are still calling out to you from when little Johnny broke his arm last year. Those things are going away, it’s not by some miracle of God going to disappear.

I commend the writer of the original article. She has beautiful words for the working mother. All working mothers can relate to the feelings she describes. Her words are written more eloquently than mine are, because now, I’m more interested in giving you a real good shake.

Don’t let people guilt you. Don’t let people doubt you. Don’t let people tear you down.

And to those women who think they are helping by adding more stress and worry onto women who are only doing what’s necessary for their children and their family. Shame on you. You don’t walk in their shoes, don’t presume to know who they are. Just because you have been stirred with what you call the duty to spread God’s message, doesn’t mean you have to put it on the heart of a fellow woman already struggling.

At the end of the day, what does the Bible say Jesus preached? Love and compassion. Not guilt and judgement. Seek to find the same level of belief and standards you hold these women to. Seek to walk in the way that Jesus walked, or don’t say anything at all.

Working moms, of all beliefs and family dynamics. You are struggling. You are doubting. You are heartbroken. But remember this above all. You are important. You are loved. You are appreciated. Your struggles don’t go unnoticed. Your doubting has no foundation. Your heart will mend each time with the happy smile of your child when you walk through the door. Your heart can withstand, your child is learning valuable lessons from you. Teach your child the idea of standing on your own two feet, doing what is necessary, and caring for the lives you have brought into this world and keeping them safe, warm, and happy!

Let’s all give a little more compassion to our fellow mothers. Regardless of our beliefs. Regardless of our decisions. Regardless of how we raise our families. Regardless of how we got here, we are all mothers. Let’s stop this war against each other. Let’s stop the judgement and start appreciating one another. Let’s stop the guilt and start learning from one another. Let’s stop the advice and start listening to one another.

Let’s just be women. Caring for our children. Doing what is in our heart and our soul to do on pure instinct.

Love one another.

If You Are Against My Family, Are We Really Friends?

I’m so upset right now. I can’t decide what to do. I am posting this on Facebook, as I always do, so it’s possible that this person will see the post. I’m not really upset at the person who posted this, I’m more upset with the people she is associated with. I know her to be a decent and kind person. I know her to be a loving mother and a beautiful spirit. And yet, this blog post is something that she posts for the world to see.

The post itself makes valid points, and I don’t know the writer’s stand on Gay Marriage, it makes no difference to me. I think right now, I am more upset about one comment on my friend’s post. A comment that I would hope someone would stand up against. But, it won’t be me. Why? Because I don’t want to blast this friend’s Facebook wall with debates and hatred.

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But, the idea that this had to be said at all, hurts my heart. Make up extra rights?! Really? I’m so confused. I am literally appalled that my friend knows someone like this. She is kind and generous and loving – all the things that I was taught God wants us to be. And this person, whom I don’t know and have never met, shows me what the truth of the church is. What hatred is bred into the church.

I have to wonder, is my friend of the same mind about my family? I can’t bring myself to ask her directly. I can’t bring myself to post a reply to this comment. I want to think that she is associated with people of faith that loves everyone. That walks in the path of Jesus. The way Jesus walked.

How about, if you want to take ‘holy week’ to reflect on something, why don’t we remember that Jesus died for all our sins. How about we remember that Jesus loved the prostitute? How about we remember that God should be the only judge? Or we could remember that Jesus said to love thy neighbors? Love covers a multitude of sins? Or, if you like bible verses with actual locations in the bible, here’s one for you:

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I have never been one with strong opinions in the way the government ran things. I have never been one with strong opinions in religious politics. I’ll be the first to admit that when I went to vote for the first time, I didn’t even know the difference between being a Democrat or a Republican.

But, this hits home for me. I am taking a stand. I have, since done my research and this issue is not about religion, it’s not about politics. It’s about civil rights. It’s about humanity. It’s about fairness, equality, and justice.

I am standing here and challenging those who follow Jesus. I am challenging you that speak ‘the word of god’.

Live by the whole bible. Live by the whole word. I challenge you to re-evaluate your beliefs. I challenge you to look deep in your heart and decide where you lie. Do you lie on the side of fairness and love, as Jesus would have wanted? Or do you lie on the side of lies, hypocrisy and injustice?

So you say it’s not just religion. So you say it’s because children are better off with a mom and a dad. Let’s think for a moment about those children who have been left in a dumpster. Abandoned by their mom and dad. How about those children who were ‘accidents’ and unwanted. Are they better off with a mom and dad?

I think Punky is better off with the many Uncles, Cousins, and Grandpas she has. She is not lacking in male role models. (I hope they all don’t mind me putting them out for the public to see) I am proud that Punky has so many awesome men in her life!

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Do we take away the rights of Single mothers? What about the children who are being raised by their grandparents? Are they less cared for? Single mothers work their asses off. Single mothers are so full of love and life that I just can’t imagine why anyone would say those children need a dad.

Making up rights for my family?

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So, you don’t think it’s a right for me to be able to see my partner in the hospital as you can see your husband or wife? If I am lying on my death bed, my partner could be left with no solace in her grief because she couldn’t be next to me as I die. That’s a disservice to me and my partner. We have been together for 10 years. TEN YEARS.

But our love is not as committed as yours? Which one of yours? Your first marriage or your third? Our love isn’t the same as yours. For those who feel like this is simply a sexual thing. What goes on in my bedroom is really no one’s business, but we haven’t had sexual things as a focus of our relationship for years.

I love my partner the way anyone loves their spouse. She and I have been through more and weathered more hardships than most straight couples could weather in a year. We stand strong in the face of adversity. We don’t back down, we don’t break up.

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I like to think our relationship and our love is the true interpretation of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

Stop and think a moment about what will happen to your children if you were to die suddenly tomorrow? Would your child be in the care of your spouse? Of course, no questions asked. Mine will not be. My child is likely to be plucked from the only home she knows. The only family she knows.

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If I were to die tomorrow, my partner has no legal rights to her daughter. She has no legal standing to keep our daughter safe. Tell me that is better for our child’s mind and spirit? Tell me that my daughter is better off taken from the only parent she knows. The one person she loves more than anything and the one parent who has taken care of her, loved her, kept her safe, tucked her in at night, fed her, and comforted her for the entire year she has been alive.

Tell me she is better off in a strangers care. She’s not.

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Now, tell me where the rights are being made up?

My heart hurts. I am sick to my stomach. I have never been more passionate about anything in my entire life. My family’s life is hanging in the balance. My family is being affected and now, my mother’s instinct is on full blast.

I’m no longer worried about making friends. I am no longer worried about losing friends. I am no longer worried about offending people. I am no longer worried about being an outcast. I am worried about my family being accepted.

If you can’t get on board with that, I don’t need you in my life.

The Guilt of a Newly-Minted None

The foundation of being a moral person has always been about believing in God and following the teachings of the church. If you don’t follow the path Jesus walked, you are likely a heathen or a pagan or the unworthy of Heaven. Or, if you don’t follow Jesus and the teachings of the Bible, you are just lost and possibly weird, on the fringes of society and destined to be an outcast.

Heaven has always been the goal that we strive for in life. Be a good person, doing things in the name of Jesus and you will achieve your rewards in Heaven. We are told in order to go to Heaven you must be a good person. In order to be a good person, you must follow Jesus.

What if you don’t believe Heaven is the ultimate goal any longer? Can you still be a good person? Can you teach your children to be good citizens of society without using Heaven as the end goal? Can people be moral and decent human beings without getting anything in return?

I believe you can be a good person without the foundation of religion. However, as a woman who has grown up with the church and the teachings of the Christian religion, it is something that is hard to rectify in my brain. It has been so ingrained in my heart and soul that you can only be a good person if you follow Jesus. If you do what Jesus and God decree as correct and proper.

I have spent the last 29 years of my life thinking that God was the only way. That Heaven was the end goal. The only other option is eternal damnation. If you aren’t following God, you aren’t a good person, so you can’t go to Heaven, and therefore, you will burn in Hell.

Hell certainly doesn’t sound like a nice place to end up. When you look at the descriptions of Heaven and Hell in the teachings of the church, who doesn’t want to say they believe in God and hope that they will get to go to Heaven. By taking the belief of Jesus and Christianity on faith alone, it is supposed to safeguard them from the eternal damnation of Hell. Who wouldn’t want to do that?

Let’s not forget that Heaven is also a better alternative to ceasing to exist. When you die, you just are no more. I never really liked the idea of that happening either. So, what was the purpose of life? What was the goal? The end game? Ceasing to exist seems exponentially as harsh a fate as Hell.

So to alleviate either ‘negative’ outcomes at death, if we believe in God and the teachings of the church  or death will end much more pleasantly. I am sure I am not alone in this thought process. I am beginning to think this is how people get caught up in the beliefs and the church.

Looking back at this, the description of Heaven and Hell is more propaganda and fear tactics. If you don’t do what we tell you to do, you will be punished. If you do exactly what we tell you to do, you will be rewarded. Don’t question or you go to Hell. Don’t miss church or you go to Hell. Don’t forget to pray at supper or you might go to Hell. Don’t support gay people or you will go to Hell. Don’t be friends with Pagans or they will bring you straight to Hell with them.

A lot of fear goes into the foundation of religion. A lot of fear and ultimatums.  Fear and ultimatums lead to guilt. Guilt about doing things just right. Making sure you are following the faith perfectly. What if you slip up? You can be forgiven, but the people of the church may look down on you. You will be given a big heaping spoonful of guilt.

Like my previous post about Cults and Churches, the fear and the ultimatums and ultimately the guilt is what keeps a member of a church or a cult in line. It keeps the person feeling like they are a bad person if they don’t go along, if they don’t follow. The guilt can be enough to hold a person under the church or cult’s thumb for years and it is a form of brainwashing.

I came across this blog post recently and it made me think. The points are valid. How come our particular religion can be believed on faith, but someone else’s religion is clearly not correct. It’s not right and thus a fairy tale. All the creation tales in each different religion are similar yet, once you latch on to the one you like, it’s the only one. It’s the one that is supreme.

You can deny all others as false and ‘fairy tale’ but the one that you follow may sound similar, but it’s the only true one. You have reasons and rationale why. The brain has made connections on this that will allow you to believe that it is real. Why do you have all these answers? Because the fear and ultimatums and the guilt that goes with the teachings have given you all the answers you need to make sure you are properly educated in what to say and think. IE. Brainwashing.

Then comes a time when you doubt it. What if you doubt what you have always been told? What if you take a logical look at the things you have always believed and you put rational thought behind it? The guilt settles in.

What if I’m wrong? I am a terrible person for not believing. I should just have faith. God calls me to believe in the face of doubt. I cannot trust my own flawed judgment. I just need to put my faith in Him. Just follow the leaders of the church, they are the ones who have more knowledge than I do. I have to teach my child to believe as I have; otherwise she will go to Hell. Hell is a bad place. What if Hell does in fact exist? If you don’t teach your child about God, they will never be saved and you have condemned your child to a fate worse than death. If you don’t get your kid baptized, they will be eternally lost in the pits of Hell.

These are the thoughts that I still grapple with. I am beginning to realize that I am in fact an Atheist. I have tried to cling to the label of the lesser evil in society of Agnostic, that of someone who is spiritual and who is not sure what they believe. But, I do know what I believe. In my heart of hearts, I know that there is no such thing – there is no validity to the stories I have grown up with. I know in my rational mind that I don’t want to be putting my kid through the same fear and guilt that I am currently trying to dig myself out of.

I hold tight to the lesser label, a label that doesn’t really bring me peace of mind either, because it is less harsh than the reality. The finality of the whole concept. It lessens my guilt. It lessens the doubt in my doubt and the uncertainty. I am coming to terms with the fact that I was in fact brainwashed and I was conditioned with fear tactics and guilt to believe in something that can’t possibly be real.

It makes no sense to me now. I am trying to figure out why the concept of God and Jesus made sense to me before. A flowery story about a man who died for me and forgives me of all my sins. A story of redemption and of love and kindness. It made sense because it was about the good in people. It was about the rewards for being a good person. It was about being a part of something.

How come we can’t teach our kids to forgive our fellow human beings for their misgivings and their shortcomings. Can’t we teach our kids to be kind and loving to all those they come in contact with? Why does the basis of morals and the difference between right and wrong have to be set in the foundation of a religion?

Instead of guilt, I hope to give the facts. I hope to give the theories and the stories. As I learn more of the different stories and the different culture theories of how the world came to be, I hope I can pass on the questioning nature I have grown to possess and leave the guilt out of my daughter’s heart.