04 May 2008

Casuistry: mess vs. crying

Which is worse: leaving a pile of dirty dishes on the counter or letting the baby cry while you wash them? (Assume the baby is not hungry or in other serious distress, he just wants to be held.)

8 comments:

The Rebellious Pastor's Wife said...

I always try to opt for leaving the dirty dishes and holding the baby. After all, I sometimes need to be held even when I'm not hungry or my diaper needs changed ;)

In fact, those are often NOT reasons why I'm upset and need comfort.

Heidi Heidenreich said...

Without question, hold the baby and forget the dishes. The dishes will still be there when baby is calm. Babies don't cry unless they need something, so why make them suffer. Also, they gain security when their needs are met....dishes don't!

Reb. Mary said...

Is there such a thing as a baby who doesn't want to be held all the time? We haven't had one of those yet...and the housekeeping is indeed suffering. Of course, the housekeeping suffered even before we have kids; now I just have a better excuse :)

Rebekah said...

There it is in writing, world. It is totally legitimate for my house to be a mess. Thank you everyone.

Pr. H. R. said...

This is obviously a mom/dad divide question. I let them (note the plural) cry and get the dishes done, the lawn mowed, the car cleaned out, the game watched, Rush listened to (turn it up) etc. They get over it.

If only mom knew the tears that were shed - and how quickly they really do stop - when she goes off shopping on Saturday. . .

+HRC

Pr. Conner said...

ditto Pr.h.r. Round these parts we call it "man parenting." Let those babies cry (they'll get over it)! I've got work to do!

Gauntlets said...

I do the dishes. And she cries. And when I'm done with the dishes I pick her up.

And then we're both happy.

Chapter Two: When they're under six months old, don't do dishes. Use paper plates. Carbon footprints be darned.

The end.

Erich Heidenreich, DDS said...

Well, this man-parent doesn't let his babies cry. I'm surprised at you two. Shame on you!

I agree with the mothers on this one (especially my wife). ;-)

But I will certainly agree that children often cry more with their moms around. But I believe this is simply because they know she's there and are communicating to her that they want what only she can give. And I don't mean milk. I mean motherly love and security.

Dad won't become that special until they grow a little more, but I still try to give them as much of that love security as I can when mom's not able to.

Dads - Keep one of mom's recently worn shirts around for those times when babies can't seem to be consoled. Put it over your shoulder and hold your baby close to it. It works sometimes.

Ladies - I suggest you get a little sign like we have on our wall that says:

EXCUSE THIS MESS

Some houses try to hide the fact that children shelter there.

Ours boasts of it quite openly. The signs are everywhere.

The smears are on the windows, little smudges on the doors.

I should apologize, I guess, for toys strewn on the floor.

But I sat down with the children and we played and laughed and read.

And if the door bell doesn't shine their eyes will shine instead.

For when at times I'm forced to choose the one job or the other,

I want to be a housewife, but first I'll be a mother.


This sign isn't as much for visitors as it is for a reminder to you of your primary calling as a mother. It is this sinful world of 2.1 child families that makes you feel guilty about having a "messy house"!

Yes, Rebekah, it is totally legitimate for your house to be a "mess". Mother is much a higher calling than "cleaning woman."

Perhaps you've read my post on Lutherans and Procreation about "conflicting absolutes". Well, a messy house is definitely the lesser evil when compared to a child crying out to be held and getting ignored.

Oh, and the wives' tale about children becoming spoiled rotten because you held them too much???? Forget it! It just ain't true! My children are among the least spoiled you'll ever meet, and they got held PLENTY!