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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Are you "Mom-opic"?

I first heard that coinage a few months ago while listening to a panel discussion comprising women who couldn't and women who didn't want to have children. It was interesting to hear their perspectives so I decided to expand on it based on my personal experiences.

Let's start by breaking down the word. "Mom-opic" is combination of 2 words...I expect you can make them out. Yes "Mom" an alternate word for "Mother" and "opic" from "Myopic" which means narrow-minded and lacking in intellectual insight - in other (my) words "poor-sighted." Melanie (I didn’t catch her last name) who coined this word said she came up with it after observing how myopic a lot of mothers are; too many mothers, intentionally and sometimes unintentionally, believe that women who don't have children (yet) don't know anything (or know nothing) about raising children. It is such a sadly myopic view because some of these women have raised or supported others to raise children - say, their younger siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins, friends' children, foster children and the list could go on.

The other misconception, pun intended, is that Motherhood = Womanhood - nothing could be further than the truth. I'll delve into both "I-sight" issues with my insight, which some may say is too __________ - not sure how you'd describe it hence the blank space, so let's move on.

The fact that a woman doesn't have children (yet) doesn't mean that she's not a woman. She has the potential of becoming a mother, it just hasn't been realized. Some of them have very successful lives and can teach mothers a thing or two on how to raise children to be successful based in their "natural bent."* So assuming that a woman without children (yet) doesn’t know anything about raising children right is wrong. Yes, I know the first thing some mothers would say is "she doesn't know how it feels to carry and care for a child" or "she doesn't have that mother-child bond" and so on. Do you realize that sometimes, it's the bond that blinds us and puts us and/or children in bondage? I've seen too many mothers who believe that loving their children means leaving them to their own whims and caprices - with the (very, very lame, deaf and dumb) excuse that "he/she is just a child." The other viewpoint (pun unintended) is that with your first child, you're as clueless as you may think a woman who doesn't have any children (yet) is - you don't have any direct parenting experience as others may think (possibly wrongly).

I count it a blessing when someone, with or without children (yet), kindly points out my child's wrong behavior and possibly gives me a suggestion on how to deal with it - you should too. Any good mother will want what's best for their child(ren) - and sometimes God in His infinite wisdom sends His message through the most unlikely person or situation.

It can be tough to accept suggestions on discipline but the truth is if you love your child(ren), it should not be in word only - it should be in deed** too. Prov 13:24 is one of my favorite verses and The Message rendition of that verse is so easy to remember:
A refusal to correct is a refusal to love; love your children by disciplining them. (MSG)

Put differently, a refusal to accept counsel that will benefit you/yours is a refusal to love them.
Prov 12:15 says "Fools are headstrong and do what they like; wise people take advice." (MSG)

Another thing I’ve noticed is people with older children assume that they hold an exclusive licence to the knowledge of how to raise them and feel that if your children are younger than theirs, you can't have any useful advice. That's another type of Mom-opia which mothers need to be healed of. The story of Jesus teaching elders*** who had children comes to mind.

When we're inspired by God, we'll know things beyond our years and experiences - it's scriptural.
If you're a mother, pray that the Lord will send wise counselors your way...don't be Mom-opic. Another rendition of the popular Prov 22:6 says:
Teach children in a way that fits their needs, and even when they are old, they will not leave the right path. (ERV)
The operative words are "in a way fits their needs" not in a way that fits/meets their wants.

So keep an open mind and teachable heart and you'll be amazed how much better your life as a woman not just a mother will improve...and the positive impact on your family too.

May God help and bless us.

* Prov 22:6 - Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or bent], and when he is old he will not depart from it. (Amplified, italics mine)
** 1 John 3:18 - Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (ESV)
***Luke 2:46-47 - After three days they found him. Jesus was sitting in the Temple area with the religious teachers, listening and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and wise answers. (ERV)

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