10 September 2009

Hard to believe: more complaining at CSPP

Whenever you read one of those inspirational bio-shorts about some wonderful woman of yore who had fourteen children and kept a well-ordered house and was her husband's dearest treasure, they all end roughly the same way: she never complained, but labored tirelessly at her work as ordained and blessed by God.

Really? She never complained? Ever? To whom did she never complain? To a person who, 200 years later, pieced together the sketchiest of 70 word biographical sketches from a book about the subject's famous husband?

There are also the sainted mothers in living memory who never complained. If I may say so, this is a rather silly assessment for a child to make. The main people in front of whom I strive not to complain are--can you guess? My dear children. Come to think of it, I can't remember my mother ever complaining. I can remember a few impressive outbursts at extremely trying familial moments over the course of my childhood, but I would not classify them as complaining. More like us rotten kids hearing what we deserved to hear for once (and that was my perspective then).

I marvel that I remember so few of these explosions, considering the amount of time she spent taking care of my three closely spaced siblings and me. But now that I'm an adult, she's been more forthcoming with her feelings on child care, and I don't feel quite so alone. :D I still consider her one of the least grousy people I know. (In case anyone is wondering, the persons to whom a mother is likely to complain are her sisters and friends who are also mothers, her own mother, and her husband. And, obviously, her blog.)

And what's complaining anyway? Is it complaining if a third spectacular excretory event in a day makes a mom want to cry, and the kids can tell? Is it complaining if it becomes observable that a 10th week of nausea is starting to get a pregnant lady down? Is it complaining to say that childbirth really, really hurts? Are the facts of a mother's life complaints in themselves, such that they should never be stated?

I'm a complainer, there's no doubt about that. But I don't think that if a pregnant mother or a mother of young children or a mother with little household help answers honestly when someone asks how how she's doing she should be painted as a bitter, closet feminist complainer. If you ask me what I did today, the facts are that I got hugs and kisses and sang songs, but also that my hands got really, disgustingly dirty and more than a few times I was discomfited by the thought that I've got an unpleasant day coming up a few months from now. It's just true. A mother's whole life is true, not just the romantic parts.


Dakotapam said...

I don't think Michelle Duggar complains...but something about her makes me doubt her sincerity. Me...I complain. I may not be proud of it, but I do. So there.

Marie said...

It's ok to complain... when you push a cart around with 60 ibs of children, plus the weight of two weeks worth of food, and 34 weeks of pregnancy, around at 3 different stores to catch the best deals, and one of the stores only accepts cash, and you're $10 short and have to put things back, and then your cart (it must feel so light after putting children into the car and unloading all of the food!) rolls into the parking lot, and your big pregnant body runs as it has never run before, but the cart still smashes into a car, and the car cart at the other store doesn't have seatbelts attached, so the children keep running out of the cart, and then one of the children's grocery store balloons pops and tears are endless, and then you load the last of the groceries into the car, slam the door shut, consequently smashing a can of tomato soup which explodes everywhere, and then get the children home, in high chairs to eat lunch while you unload the car, noticing that one of the five gallons of milk is leaking, and they promptly spill food AND drinks on the floor, and....

Yeah... that was my morning. And it's okay to complain. I still love Jesus, and am thankful to Him for eternal salvation, and that I didn't lose any children this morning and we will have plenty to eat for the next two weeks=) Now, I'm going to go try to find places for all the food in our fridge, while the children are *cross my fingers* sleeping!

Monique said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lisa said...

Marie - I am so sorry. God bless you. I know that's not what you were looking for but all I could think was darn it, I wish I was there to push the cart! :(

Monique - the part about paradoxes was especially poignant as I looked at your profile picture ;)

Gauntlets said...

Yes, because complaining makes it REAL . . . :D

Marie: That was multi-theatre combat! Good work, soldier. :D I wish I could have lifted those grocery sacks for you. Grocery shopping with kids is really, really hard, doubly so when pregnant.

Rebekah said...

I think Michelle Duggar might be, like, a genuinely good person. Naturally I can't expect to relate.

Marie, boo! :( Nice work surviving that one.

As a general rule, I would definitely list "uncomplainingness" as a virtue. But in all pursuits, those who aren't particupating are likely to misinterpret the commentary of those who are.

Reb. Mary said...

I think my favorite sentence here was the one Monique picked out.

Marie, I'm really, really hoping that the rest of your day was super-easy, at least by comparison! And I'm pretty impressed that you could slam the door hard enough to explode a can of soup. :)

Anonymous said...

Thank the Lord for friends who have been through what we are going through.

I have a complaint too, yesterday morning our refrigerator that is only 3 yrs. old was 65 degrees inside when we got up- thank the Lord it is still under warranty - but the repair man came and he said he has to pick it up today (Fri) because he can't fix it at our home and it will probably be next Wed. before it is repaired and back to us. Packing a whole refrigerator full of food into coolers is no fun. Then imagine children digging through coolers for snacks, milk etc. Now to survive with no refrigerator for a week with 7 children.

"It is, after all easy to discern the hand of God and to believe in His goodness when things go well. But it is hard, very hard indeed, to recognize His goodness and to trust in His provision for us when the bottom falls out of our lives. It's hard to see His goodness when we are surrounded by darkness. That's when we need the eyes of faith most of all, eyes that see HIm at work with us, bringing good out of evil and life through death." - John W. Kleinig (from the book "Grace upon Grace Spirituality for Today") - Debbie

Rebekah said...

Debbie! :( :( :(

Marie said...

Ok, after hearing Debbie's plight, my shopping adventure wasn't so bad! God speed, Debbie!

The rest of the day did go suprisingly well! I was so proud of myself for not breaking down in tears during the whole ordeal, that I was on top of the world=)

If only God sent us a list of our unrecognized blessings, we probably wouldn't complain so much!

Anonymous said...

The refrigerator is fixed and back! We survived 8 days living out of coolers and I still have a smile - we need to remember to Thank the Lord for the things we have everyday that we take for granted. Thank you for your prayers. Debbie