What responsibilities do I have being a Christian and a mother? Indeed what responsibilities do I have generally as a parent? If I am serious about mission does it have to start in my own flat? How do I support my daughter in the development of her faith without imposing my faith system on her? Should my faith / our faith have any place in the boundary setting which takes place? How do I avoid giving her my prejudices? How do I teach her to respect alcohol and sex but at the same time to see them as things to be enjoyed if sensibly used?
These are all questions I face as a Christian mum, (even if the relationship between Third Party and myself is more Saffy and Eddy* then smiley Christian stereotype sometimes). * If you are too young to understand the Saffy and Eddy reference remember Wiki is your friend.
Anyway, where are my thoughts going on this? Well first off being a mum is a calling. Not an automatic one because of my gender but one I happen to have because getting pregnant happened when I was married. God gave me the responsibility (and gift?) of a child.
The responsibilities that brings? Well, I reckon it gives me the responsibility of looking out for her, providing a safe environment for her and her friends and helping her to grow into an independent woman of faith who is aware of her own faith journey with the divine. This means that one of the key responsibilities I have is to spend time with her. This I have to be honest I struggle with. It also gives me the responsibility of setting an example through what I do aswell as what I say…even more difficult. Those who have seen the Saffie and Eddy show in action will appreciate the way I need real prayer for this one.
I think being a mum is the hardest job God gave me and the one I make most mistakes with. It is not helped when the state and society try to take elements of the job away in an effort to “protect” our children. This story in the Guardian about a mother who couldn’t buy a bottle of wine because she had her daughter with her when she was going shopping is an example of where our society has got to in not trusting parents, of any faith or none to do the job. I am of the view as Third Party grows into a young adult I want to be able to teach her to drink sensibly and treat alcohol with respect, (even if I am sometimes a bit naff at that). Part of this comes from teaching her within the home what is a sensible amount before she reaches 18 and can go out and get trashed, legally.
Two ways I find useful to chat through stuff are by DVD fests and reading womens mags with her. Have to admit I think I am learning more from Cosmo than she is, but by listening to her chat through about the articles within it we have a platform to discuss things like sex and alcohol in a non-threatening way. I get to find out what she knows and thinks about these things and then we can sometimes develop this into conversations about our faith and how that helps us make decisions on these issues.
I’m by no means a perfect mum with many answers, in fact most of the time I feel completely out of my depth and a bit kak at the job. However, as she grows up I hope that I have done a reasonable job at transmitting my faith to her and explaining why I have it….aswell as getting her to think through some of the ways that relates into decision making.