Churches, let alone businesses, that actually support families are so, so rare. No wonder birth rates are dropping in the US, and no wonder women feel they have no alternatives. When taking a shower or keeping a child alive seems like a mutually-exclusive decision, those of us with babies truly look insane. I wonder if it’s not our own insanity so much as it is the insanity and disregard that our society hath wrought. It took this situation in my own life today to open my eyes to the struggle of (most often) mommas and families in our society (in a very, very small way):
Husband has been gone for the better part of two weeks, toddler is not real happy about that reality (let alone Momma), and six-months’-gestated baby brother couldn’t care less about the whole thing, he just wants to dance, and pump nauseating hormones around his momma’s veins all day and all night.
Said Momma has developed tension headaches from storing the stress of these weeks in her shoulders and neck. Our bodies hold on to stress and to emotion in all kinds of ways, and recognizing how it happens to you can be a key to “surviving well” (a phrase I trademarked with my therapist yesterday, because that is exactly what being a working mom with a toddler and gestating child is about).
Rather than suffering in headaches for the rest of the month during Husband’s absence, she took action: called up to get a massage post-haste. The only available slot was 7:15pm the next day — cue texting possible sitters. Telling the masseuse that I’d have to find a sitter before I could commit to the slot — tire screech — she said, “Bring him along if you want, I can set up the room with toys to keep him busy.”
This business will not only work out my tight tight tight muscles, but will let me *bring my child with me* while she does so.
My child exists (!) and (currently, as a two-year-old) needs constant supervision; this doesn’t mean that I must hide him away or pay someone to entertain him if I want to care for this swollen, achey body. My child’s care and my own health are not mutually exclusive. Reader, this was a revelation.
Caring for my family and caring for my body are not necessarily at odds.
All it requires — which, granted, is totally counter-cultural and requires a sea-change for society — is thinking of, considering, and committing to not just a Momma paying someone to work out tense shoulders, but committing to her whole family, in a way, committing to the health, safety, and thriving of the whole community, of which the business, the Momma, the traveling Husband, the clingy toddler, and even the gestating son, are all constituent parts.
Off to consider how to make my own spheres of influence, my church and my hoped-for yoga classes, to be truly welcoming to families, especially to little children (and their hard-working caregivers). Any ideas? Share below.