Dear Mom Friend (From a Non-Official But Possibly Surrogate Mom Friend),

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.


3 thoughts on “Dear Mom Friend (From a Non-Official But Possibly Surrogate Mom Friend),

  1. Mousey! So glad you’re in on the conversation! 😀 I agree – first that you would be/are a terrific aunt, and second that there have been so many different women who contributed to my “education” as a child, and I am grateful to them. Most of them came from our congregations. I can’t speak for everyone, but here are a few of the things that I appreciate most right now from ANY friend:

    1. Babysitting. If you live close to someone, offer to babysit once a month (or oftener, if you and your schedule can handle it). Babysitters are expensive and don’t fit in our single income budget. Plus, I get nervous leaving my kids with a teenager while they’re still small and truly need adult care. Even if it’s just for an hour on a weekday morning, going to the grocery store or for a run by myself is a treat. And it gives you a great chance to know the kids you love!

    If babysitting isn’t your cup of tea, come along on family outings to the Zoo or the park. Having an extra pair of eyes to make sure the kids aren’t drinking water from the duck pond or throwing rocks makes any outing more enjoyable, and you get to spend quality time with everyone!

    As far as getting to know the kids of your friends, the best thing you can do is be around. The more times children see you, the more familiar and comfortable they are with you. It doesn’t have to be long periods of time or special gifts or candy – children like it best when you get down on the floor to build a Duplo tower or read a book. They remember the time lavished on them.

    2. Emailing. Phone calls are great, but for this stage of life, they’re unrealistic (for me). Emails can be answered at any time of the night or day, they can take as much or as little time as you have at that moment, and they’re a good way to “check in” and let someone know you’re thinking about them. You can clearly ask, “How are YOU?”

    3. Help My Marriage By Letting Me Vent. There are some things you can’t talk to your husband about (or you can, but he just won’t get it). I’m talking about in-laws, weight issues, etc. Don’t be afraid to encourage me to come at a problem from a different point of view if you think I need it, but let me blow off some steam first. When I’m done, Give me a Godly perspective instead of a worldly one, or the one you think I want to hear.

    4. Hold Me Accountable. If I say that I want to read a book for myself, ask me the next time we talk – “So, did you read that book?” If I’m frustrated with my toddler’s tantrums and want to work on my own patience, ask, “How is your patience holding out these days?”

    I know these things would help me transition through any phase! Of course, in twelve years, I might add “Take Lily to do her driver’s training” to the list. 😉 Husbands and children are wonderful, but none of us can have our emotional and social needs met in a single human relationship. Thanks for coming alongside us!

  2. Hey Kristin, thanks for sharing! I don’t think that not wanting children makes a person less womanly or less-Christian or any of those things, although sometimes people give that impression. I certainly don’t think motherhood is the only important role for women! There are so many other awesome and important roles for women to fill – some of them difficult to take on with children. It sounds like you’ll make a great auntie! I bet your mom friends (and their kids) think you’re great. 🙂

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