Today’s guest post and response to Dear Mom Friend comes from another college friend, Kristen Nielsen. Kristen is an academic with a passion for people. She has earned her MSW and MDiv from Baylor University and is currently earning her PhD from Queens University in Belfast, Ireland. If you enjoy reading her post, you should check out her blog.
Dear Mom Friend,
There are a lot of conversations which need to be had about single women and the Church. Even more conversations need to be had about single women, infertile women and even married women and how much of Christian vernacular is bent towards describing women as primary procreative tools and not really fully formed persons. I would love to have those conversations and you know I can work myself into a pretty good rant. However, today I’d like to ask you some questions.
I – as you may or may not know – do not really want children. Never have and am not sure I really ever will. If I find myself pregnant then I will be calling you in tears and asking you to help me create a new reality for myself but I think we both know I deeply hope that never happens. This is for a myriad of reasons – I’m not entirely sure I’d be that good of a mother being pretty high on the list. Several doctors have also expressed to me that my body may not be the most hospitable place. I am just about the least patient person I know and I really like my job. I think I was created by God with beautiful and gender-specific purposes to ask questions and challenge the Church and use my words to create a better tomorrow. I really don’t think that includes mothering children of my own.
But here’s the rub: I love you and your kid(s). My not wanting to have children does not mean I do not want to know or spend time with yours.
I want to know their quirks and their passions. I want to buy them books and take them on outings and give you breaks to be humans and not parents. I want to teach them songs and have special nicknames for them and I want them to know me as a safe person to escape to when they hit their adolescence and you are their worst enemy (I will, of course, guide them back to you in a timely manner). While I may not think I’d be a fantastic mother, I know I’d be a fantastic aunt.
How can I do that, Mom Friend? How can I be a safe person for you to both heave your kid on so you can go shower but also be the person who knows you really just want to have a glass of wine and watch Big Bang Theory? How can I help you make the transition from toddler parent to child parent to teenage parent? How can I help you maintain your identity as a WOMAN and as a MOTHER and as a WIFE? How can I be part of your parenting in the way I think the Church should be? Also, as an aside, I can only imagine this is not a picnic for your marriage. I’d like to be supportive in that way too.
I have an unbelievable set of parents. I mean, they are just unreal. Extended family? Also pretty fantastic. But I was raised by congregations. Women who taught me different ways to be women than my mom was. Men who showed me what to look for in bosses and boyfriends. Surrogate grandparents and crazy aunts and uncles. People who helped fill in my picture of the Kingdom of God in ways which have been irreplaceable. I, as your friend, would like to be one of those people for your kids. Of course, this should go without saying – but I’m going to do that as a single (maybe married) career woman. It would be delightful and really honouring if you could track with me as well. Facebook messages or wall posts are perfect. I know I live really far away.
Please let me know. In the meantime, I’ll be the friend who both passionately cares about your kids and your husband, but more importantly you.
Your non-official but possibly surrogate mom friend
Please leave your comments on the blog so Kristen and others can read and respond.