Unpopular Opinion: “Fur-babies” are not children, and pet ownership is not motherhood!

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I confess myself disappointed and frustrated by the number of people (in many cases, including otherwise seemingly intelligent people) who don’t seem to be able to “get” this. That some people don’t like other people as much as they like animals, and that some women, for reasons of their own, don’t want kids, is a given. That’s part of human nature, and always has been.

But the meme is still literally true and accurate, as presented, on several grounds:

First, continuation of the species. Yes, I know that the planet as a whole has an overpopulation problem. There were 2.2 billion people on earth in 1965, when I was born; there are 7.8 billion, now (it took until 1800 to reach a population of 1 billion – and only another 200 years to reach 7 billion), and the changes have not, in general, been positive ones!

A good few of our problems, I suspect, can be traced to – or at least, are exacerbated by – the fact that there are too many people, for the limited planetary real estate, and the issue is only likely to get worse, at least in the immediate future.

But I also know that in both Europe and America, the birth-rate has dropped below the replacement level. Increasingly, both are relying or will soon have to rely on immigration from people and regions who have NOT adopted the “my furbaby is equal to your human child” model to remain economically sustainable at present levels.

To the furbaby crowd, I ask: even if you think that’s a viable solution – and that is not a discussion I’m going to revisit, here, though I have posted on it before – what makes you think that it’ll remain so forever? What if the people you’re relying on to do the jobs your descendants would otherwise have been doing also decide that animals are less trouble than kids? Better hope we have effective AI by then, so robot servants can keep the diminishing human population cozy… if that’s the kind of life you want.

From a theological perspective, “be fruitful and multiply” was the very first commandment God gave to humans (Genesis 1:28). You don’t have to be literalistic in your interpretation of the Genesis narrative to understand why that should be so! No procreation? Then sooner or later, no humankind. It’s not a hard concept to grasp, or shouldn’t be. Co-creating with God the next generations of humans is both a gift and a duty that was given to us by our Creator.

And then from an individual, human, personal perspective, you may like animals more than humans, and that’s your choice; but you are never going to be able to have a deep, meaningful personal or philosophical conversation with Fido or Fluffy, you will never be able to marvel at their insight or strive to amend their errors; you will not be able to pass down to them things that you have learned in your own life-experience, or hear from them things that they have learned in theirs; you will not be able to reminisce with them over experiences you shared on a vacation trip, or share the beauty of a sunset or autumn foliage. You won’t get to share with them the important milestones on their life’s journey: first love, first car, graduation, first job, engagement and wedding, buying a new home, having a child, and so many more.

And from a more “enlightened self-interest” perspective, you won’t be able to ask them, once they’ve gotten their driver’s license, to go pick up something at the store for you; and as you get older, you certainly will not have them able to help take care of you as you get less able to take care of yourself. Yes, of course, you can hire people to do that. But will they show the caring and love of someone you have cared for and loved throughout their lives? Rhetorical question… we’ve all seen the horror stories of nursing home and home-care employees abusing their clients.

So, sure, it’s fine to not be overly-fond of people (I certainly have my doubts about some of the human race, myself, especially every four years or so…); it’s fine to like, even love, animals; it’s fine to realize that maybe you do not have the qualities it would take to be a good mother (or father) to a human child – and in that case, maybe it really is better that you don’t have children! There are too many abused, unloved, and unwanted kids out there as it is.

But it is still objectively true that cuddling your feline companion can never replace raising a child. This is not a matter of opinion or perspective – we put too much stock in unsupported opinions and preferences as it is (“I feel it so it must be true”) – but of simple fact. Sure, do your own thing! That’s the contemporary mantra anyway. But please do not pretend that your “fur-baby” is equal in any way to a human child, or that your care of them is of like significance or consequence to the raising of that human child.

It is not.

 

Thoughts on family, fatherhood, work, and home-life… in a post-global age

The Tradwife Movement Reminds Us of the Virtue of Service in Marriage

There seems to be what I see as the beginning of a substantial backlash against many things we have taken for granted in culture and society for the last five or six decades in the Western world, and particularly in America. One of these is the notion that motherhood and homemaking is an inferior, subordinate role that oppresses and demeans women, and that women should therefore eschew it, and join men in the workplace. The rise of the “TradWife” (traditional wife) movement is part of the kickback against this – and one with which, in large measure, I agree.

I was raised by a traditional wife and mother: Ma never worked outside the home during my lifetime, although she did work as an English teacher during the first few years of her marriage to Pa. But not long after my oldest brother was born, she left “outside” work, and returned to the home. And there is no question that I benefited – we all did – from her ability to devote her full time and attention to being a wife, mother, and homemaker. We had clean clothes, a clean house, healthy, delicious homemade meals, baked deserts, and much else, thanks to her not needing to squeeze such things around full-time (or even part-time) work.

I also have no doubt that I was saved from many opportunities to “sin and err” by the fact that I knew she (or if she had to be away, my grandmother) would be there waiting for me when I got home from school! And no matter how far I roamed, through the woods and fields near my house, I never seemed to be out of the range of her call (a resounding “Tooommmmmmmmmm!”), that echoed through the air, come supper time – to the awed amazement of my friends, who were shocked that such a small person (she was all of 5’3″ in height) could call so loudly.

I empathize with the nostalgia for the immediate post-WW II era. Although I was born in 1965, I was in many significant ways a “child of the 1950s”: Ma and Pa were married then, and both my brothers were born in the ’50s (I was a late-comer, and rather a surprise, at the time!). So I get it! My concern about the TradWife movement, however – despite my admiration for many of the women involved, and my agreement with the basic premise that both women and their families are benefited by them being at home with and for those families – is that many or most of them seem to take the 1950s as their template for what a “traditional” wife should be, and do.
Continue reading “Thoughts on family, fatherhood, work, and home-life… in a post-global age”

“When men stop seeing women as mothers…” | Holy Motherhood

“When men stop seeing women as mothers, sex loses its sacredness.”

— Mary Pride

To which I can only say… Amen!

 

“Why Feminism Is Never The Answer” | Make Womanhood Biblical Again

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“Christian women… if you’re going to make anything your gospel, make it THE gospel.” – by Christiana

Source: Why Feminism Is Never The Answer – Make Womanhood Biblical Again

Whether or not one agrees with every point in this essay (and I agree with most of them) or all the views of its author (she seems pretty based to me), it seems to me that this critique is square on, and one which our “woke” and “progressive” world (which, having largely abandoned the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, has set up instead an idol of left-wing sociopolitical ideologies – the “Golden Calf” of the 21st century) needs to hear:

“Feminism can never put a stop to sex trafficking, because it cannot stop greed, loneliness, and depravity.

“Feminism can never eradicate domestic violence, because it cannot instill in men a passion to love and lead their families well.

“Feminism can never put an end to pornography, because it cannot satiate lust, addiction, and emptiness.

“Feminism can never cut down the divorce rate and improve marriages, because marriage is not about “equality,” fairness, or sameness; and all the role reversal in the world cannot change the fact that we are daughters of Eve and sons of Adam.

“Feminism can never bring women fulfillment, because true fulfillment is only found in Jesus Christ.

“Feminism can never force men to genuinely respect women by removing sexual distinction…

“Feminism exalts women but can never truly empower them; promotes women, but can never pacify the innate desire to control. It insults women and men alike by insisting that the only real difference between the sexes is physical.”

Amen.

This is not to say that all women should do nothing but stay at home and raise children; some are not suited to that vocation, and some do indeed have gifts that can benefit society most effectively if expressed in the worlds of industry or academia. Furthermore, few traditional women – throughout the centuries and millennia of human history – did nothing but stay a home: they were always active in their local communities.

But that does not change the fact that motherhood is the first and greatest vocation of womankind as a whole; nor that, in the words of the great G.K. Chesterton,

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N.B. The videos alluded to in the tags are found at the link, so please click through. Thank you!

 

 

“For a happy home…”

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Source: Holy Motherhood | Facebook

“For a happy home, teach obedience, orderliness (first things first), truthfulness, courtesy, punctuality, attentiveness, thoroughness, neatness, purity, industry, integrity, respect, gratefulness, and diligence.”

— Karen Andreola

My dear late mother – Ma – used to hang out the wash every Monday and Thursday that the weather allowed (it smelled so good, having dried in the sun!), and in the summer, I often helped her. She also taught me all of the above, though I confess I have not always lived up to these ideals as perfectly and completely as I might wish…

But I keep striving!


P.S. From the comments:

When women knew the power of being able to raise the next generation one home at a time, kids had a respect for God and his order, respect for others, and pride in doing the humble things that keep life in order. The world was kinder and cleaner, healthier and safer than now, when schools raise generations like kids are assembly line objects, with the idea that nothing matters except that everyone feels good all the time and no one judges.

I cannot disagree!

 

The Vocation of Motherhood… and Fatherhood, too.

The text that goes with this picture is a bit hard to make out, so here it is:

“Remember motherhood was God’s plan for women, not men. We all forget that motherhood is the norm and a career is abnormal. Some are compromising and urging our good high school girls to colleges and careers. Mother Teresa’s words are so enduring to our times when she said that, ‘God calls us to be faithful, not successful.’ Anyone who wishes to debate Mother’s words should pray to God for grace and insight to understand these words of wisdom. These words are especially true for the mothers of our day and time. Many mothers are so wrapped up in the ‘media success’ of these times that they see nothing wrong with going out to work. Very few mothers ‘have’ to work outside the home and it is to the detriment of family life.”

—Rosie Gil

As I wrote in response to this at the time, I agree – but I also think we sometimes forget that it was God’s plan for fathers to be at or near home most of the time, too, unless they were on a journey for the benefit of the family, or fighting to protect it.

Whether farmers – as were the majority of people until quite recently in human history – tradesmen, or merchants (the latter two of which usually had their shops or offices downstairs, with the family residence upstairs), most men spent most of their time in relatively close proximity to, and often / usually working together with, the rest of their family, right up until the Industrial Revolution.

I am not trying to detract in any way from the vital role and vocation of motherhood, or the desirability of mothers being able to devote themselves full-time to that vocation, if at all possible, and to the closely allied one of homemaking – literally, creating a home that is worthy of a family to live in.

I am simply pointing out that I believe God’s original plan was for families to be organic, integrated units of relationship, with all members working together for the common good, and supporting one another in daily living – not mom and kids at home, and dad working somewhere else, a long commute away, and only seeing them in the evening and on weekends.

The 1950s, as idyllic a time as it was in some (though not all) respects, was neither the norm nor the ideal, either – nor, certainly, were the “dark, satanic mills” of the Industrial Revolution. We have fallen a long way from the original plan, imho, in many respects!

The world’s most noble profession!

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QOTD:

So many women aspire to satisfying other men’s ambitions/corporations with their best talents and energy and then return home spent with little TLC left for husbands and children. I appreciate women who choose the very noble profession of stay at home mom. They truly make a difference in this world.

— Jeff Pearson

And yes, I know not every woman has that option. My heart grieves for those who would like to choose this most noble profession, but for a variety of valid reasons (often, in today’s world, economic), cannot. I have a massive amount of respect for those women who do what needs to be done – even if that means working multiple jobs – to support their children / families.

But for each of them, there is at least another one – and very likely more than one – who could stay at home and be a full-time wife, mother, and homemaker, but chooses not to… perhaps for valid reasons, but just as likely because she has bought into what Chesterton referred to as “a muddled idea that women are free when they serve their employers but slaves when they help their husbands.”

I grieve for them, too, but in a very different way.

One more quote on this subject, this one by Chelsea Brauwn:

“Being a wife & mother may be the hardest job I’ve ever had but it is definitely the most rewarding job in the world.

“Mothers have the most important role in the world. We are responsible for raising our future! We are their encouragement, supporters, nurturers and the ones they should be able to go to when everyone else fails them. Their success is our success & their failures are our failures.

“Raising our own children and being a mother shouldn’t seem like a burden, it is the greatest privilege anyone could be given. We get to watch all of our hard work grow into happy, successful people with the capability to accomplish all of their dreams, with the morals and values that we set.

“Behind every Pastor, Doctor, Lawyer and President is a mother who refused to give up on them. No one else can replace, fill or substitute the duty of a mother & I refuse to let anyone else do my job.”

Happy Mother’s Day (U.S.)!

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Wishing any and all mothers who may be reading this a truly happy and blessed Mother’s Day!

And at the same time, remembering with deep love and appreciation my own dear mother, who went to be with her Lord and ours in February of 2007 – ten years ago this year. I still think of her and miss her, every single day.

Ma 1975
   Jean Elizabeth “Betty” (Reamer) Harbold, c. 1975 – my beloved “Ma” (1927-2007)

If your mother is still alive, tell her how much you love her, how much she means to you! Because you never know how much longer, or shorter, will be the time you can spend together. And if your relationship with your mother is not all it could or should be, then please, if it is possible, do what you can to repair it.

Again, we don’t know how much time we have, and – unless she is a truly vile person, which is blessedly rare – I know of no one who thinks, looking back on their life, “Gee, I wish I hadn’t spent so much time with my mother…”

Again, Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers! And thank you for the work you put in to your families. May God bless and keep you!