Friday, August 12, 2011

on being educated and a Mom

This chap was talking to me the other day; he's in his late 50s I suppose, and he started telling me about his daughter and how ridiculous she was being. She has a university degree in English and Psychology, he said, and she was wanting to be a designer! Shaking his head, he said, "Can you believe that? What a waste!"

For a moment I just stared at him. Then I replied, "I'm also a graduate. And I'm a fulltime Mom. Do you think that's a waste too?"

He looked at me in disbelief, and then he laughed outright. "Good grief!" he said. "What did you spend all that time studying for then?"

He then asked me incredulously if I'd ever "worked" at all (of course I had; perhaps he thought I was foolish and lazy). And again he shook his head, appalled that I'd given up my highfalutin corporate career for something as mindless as motherhood.

We weren't in the best of environments for any in-depth discussion, but I was seething. It wasn't the first time I'd heard this sort of thing, and I know he isn't alone in his beliefs. I still remember how, long ago, when my Mom told my aunt that I'd quit my corporate job to be with my kids, my aunt had said, "Isn't that a pity. Whole university education wasted".

Well, I don't know where to begin on this; I'm not the most eloquent of persons, and when it comes to something this sensitive, I'm apt to feel overwhelmed. But what I do strongly believe is this -- motherhood, or parenthood, is one of the hardest, most challenging jobs there is, and one can never be educated enough to be the best parent one can be.

Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying one needs a good education to be a good Mom. What I am saying is that a good education is never wasted on a woman who has chosen fulltime motherhood as her career.

People who say that education is wasted on fulltime Moms seem to have the idea that Moms don't necessarily need to be educated. That Moms don't need to have their brains and intelligence honed and applied the way a doctor or lawyer might. That motherhood is some sort of easy, mindless activity.

These are often the same people who think that climbing the corporate ladder and making heaps of money is the be-all and end-all of a successful life. That, to them, is the real point of getting an education. They don't value education for its own sake -- the cultivation and broadening of one's mind, the reaching of higher levels of understanding and insight, and hopefully the bettering of one's self.

And they're often also the ones who let other people parent their children.

I believe every parent has a moral obligation to actually parent -- to positively raise and mould the next generation.

Does spending quality time with one's child – playing with them; listening to them; disciplining, encouraging, nurturing; drying their tears; making their childhood as happy and fulfilling as possible; teaching them not only their letters and numbers, but their values and beliefs as well – does all this seem less important than what some banker or high-end executive does?

And does doing it 24/7 -- as opposed to 9am to 6pm, 5 days a week (not forgetting lunch and tea break, and every other occasion that allows for skiving or zoning out) -- seem less challenging?

I think every child deserves to be in the care of a parent who not only loves them and is there for them, but also isn't dumb. Raising a child to be an upright, caring, confident adult -- a positive addition to society and the world -- is not a job for dimwits.

I pray daily for God's help to be a good Mom, because goodness knows I've seen more than enough of what happens to kids who grow up without one. Am I sorry to have given up my highfalutin job, with all the perks and prestige? No, no, never. While certainly the most exhausting job I've ever had, it is by far the most rewarding.

The Bible says, "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" (Prov 22:6).

And again, as author and psychologist Dr James Dobson wrote: "What a price we pay for the speed at which we run. Most of us remember these last 12 months as a blur of activities. There is so much work to do, so many demands on our time. There is so much pressure. Meanwhile, what should have mattered most was often put on hold or short-changed or ignored altogether.

"Millions of children received very little love and guidance this year from their busy parents. Husbands and wives pass like ships in the night, and our spiritual natures languished amidst over-crowded schedules and endless commitments".


Kris said...

hear, hear!! I get that a lot too... whether openly or subtly. I must constantly remind myself that ultimately, we're responsible for our own children, not another person. even if the alternative caregivers are grandparents. no one can be held responsible if our children turns out to be any less that what we or God expects our childrent to be. also, let's not forget that we're answerable to God as to how we bring up our children.

actually, I also get a lot of pple thinking and sometimes, outrightly saying that SAHMs are aunties. worrying over their groceries shopping and screaming at their kids in pyjamas and rollers in their hair. *roll eyes* I always feel like its condescension on their part but it comes out through words and ideas like this.

Amy said...

Amen! As one who takes care of a lot of children with parents in the corporate world, or children of doctors, lawyers, etc. I can with state without a doubt that staying at home with my children was the best, most valuable, most difficult thing I have ever done! I am priviledged to be with the children I teach every day, but there is no substitute for a caring, intelligent mom or dad...You are 100% correct, if you ask me! :o)

justine | lovemaki said...

beautiful post!


teri said...

i'm in agreement with you here! as a formed hedge-fund analyst turned stay at home mom and designer!


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