Today, I was listening to my talk radio.  Because, I want people to read this, I will not tell you who I listened to.  If you knew who I listened to, you may not choose to read this.  The radio host’s guest was Erica Komisar, author of BEING THERE:  Why Prioritizing MOTHERHOOD in the First Three Years MATTERS.  I don’t know if I going to read the book.  Why?  Because, I am fifty-one years old and I have completed the trip of raising PJ and Katy.  I am now on the sidelines cheering on two of the greatest “gifts” from GOD!  However, I may buy Ms. Komisar’s book for our beautiful daughter-in-law when she is blessed with a child and, of course, I may buy the book when Katy gets pregnant.

The premise of the book is exciting:  MOM’S ARE SUPER IMPORTANT FOR THEIR CHILDREN.  And now, Ms. Komisar makes a million dollars for saying something like, “Water is wet.”  The message is simple and simply too important to ignore!  I wonder if the increase of certain emotional or psychological struggles in people today / young children is due to the lack of the presence of the mother during the first three years or even during the time in the womb?  NOT TO MAKE WOMEN FEEL GUILTY.  No, not at all.  Our nation has placed women in an extremely difficult struggle.  Since World War II, more and more women have felt a “social-push” to do it all and have it all.  And listening to the callers on the radio show today, I could hear the stress to be the “total woman.”

“Total woman?”  Well, what I hear is a woman who is either all about business or all about being a mom is not a Total Woman!  To be a Total Woman in our nation, she needs to have a career and be the mom.  I would not want to be a woman in this nation with that level of expectation.  We need to really look at what stress our nation has placed on women!  We need to figure out how we can support women who want to be moms who want to be able to be with their children the first three years of their baby’s life.  And, at the same time, stop shaming women who would like to be a career woman and have no children or a mom and not be in the “work force!”  Also, please, I am also a supporter of the woman who chooses to be a career woman and have their child be in daycare.  However, being a career woman and a mom is a choice; it is not an “I have no choice” situation.

The female callers to the radio show who were responding to Ms. Komisar were not pleased with her message.  The women felt that Ms. Komisar was attacking them / making them feel guilty for continuing to work.  Ms. Komisar was doing what she could to convince the women who work and have young children that she had empathy for their situation.  Ms. Komisar is doing what she can, to motivate women to be there for their children during the first three years.  There is no equal substitute for the biological mom.  I wrote “equal.”  I did not write “equitable.”  I do believe a person can be an equitable substitute, but fall short of an equal substitute.  Yes.  When a woman cannot be a stable mom, her child will be better off with another woman taking care of her child. Not being able to raise one’s child is a sad part of one’s life.  If raising your child is one of the best part of your life, then the opposite (not being able raise one’s child) is equally sad.  Those who adopt or are foster parents, I sincerely love you and commend you for accepting the responsibility to raise the child.  You are very special people.

Going back to BEING THERE … When reading the description of the book, Ms. Komisar does have advice for women who are working part-time and how to find good / quality daycare.  She realizes women may be placed in a situation where they need to work.

The description of BEING THERE:

Compassionate and balanced, and focusing on the emotional health of children and moms alike, this book shows parents how to give their little ones the best chance for developing into healthy and loving adults. Based on more than two decades of clinical work, established psychoanalytic theory, and the most cutting-edge neurobiological research on caregiving, attachment, and brain development, Being There explains:

• How to establish emotional connection with a newborn or young child–regardless of whether you’re able to work part-time or stay home
• How to ease transitions to minimize stress for your baby or toddler
• How to select and train quality childcare
• What’s true and false about widely held beliefs like “I’m not good with babies” and “I’ll make up for it when he’s older”
• How to recognize and combat feelings of postpartum depression or boredom
• Why three months of maternity leave is not long enough–and how parents can take control of their choices to provide for their family’s emotional needs in the first three years

Being a new mom isn’t easy. But with support, emotional awareness, and coping skills, it can be the most magical—and essential—work we’ll ever do.

Please do look at buying the book.

Now, here is what was frustrating from the radio show … “I don’t have a choice.”  Again, and again, “I don’t have a choice.”  That phrase seems to be choking our nation.  A mom would phone in, “I have to work.  I don’t have a choice.”  The tone of helplessness hurt.  As a teacher, I hear the lack of choice from my students.  “Mr. Everts, I don’t have a choice.  I have to take ________ class.”  “Mr. Everts, I don’t have a choice.  I have to go to work.”  ON and on and on …

Our life is a choice.  How we live is a choice.  The job I have is a choice.  The food I eat that makes me overweight is my choice.  I can go on and on about choice.  For some reason, we have given up the ability to make a choice.  Making a choice is now a RISK?  We don’t want the responsibility for the choice.  It is a risk for us to say, “It was my choice.” 

To enjoy our lives, we need to stretch ourselves.  I love John C. Maxwell.  He has a great lesson on THE LAW OF THE RUBBER BAND: “It’s all about maintaining the tension between where you are and where you want to be.  It’s important for us to keep a healthy tension in our lives and what we gain in the process.”  We need to do a better job with our children, youth, ourselves, and one another with learning and living the following John Wooden quoteThere is a choice that you have to make, in everything you do.  So keep in mind that in the end, the choice you make, makes you.  Every choice we make, makes us.  Want to be a better musician, choose to practice.  Want to be a better student?  Choose to study.  Want to be a better husband?  Choose to read and study how to be a better husband. 

Going back to the RUBBER BAND.  Stretch yourself and the choices you make will stretch you.  If you say, “I don’t have a choice” you have limited your ability to stretch.  You will continue to be average.  OF COURSE, YOU HAVE A CHOICE!  Going back to the baby… did you choose to have intercourse?  Going back to the “have to work.”  Did you choose everything you put on that credit card causing you to have earn the money to pay-off that debt?  I could go on and on about the power of choice.  Yet, I don’t want you to choose to feel ashamed of yourself.

Every choice we make, makes us.  Learn how to make choices. Making choices is a skill.  Like the game of Chess – think three moves ahead from the choice you make.  At fifty-one years old, I learn every day what a choice I make does to me and for me.  I would like you to join me in learning how to make choices

Do you want to be average?  Saying, “I don’t have a choice” is the average person.  A person who says, “It was my choice” is someone who is better than average.  Think about it. How is “I don’t have a choice” person someone who is exciting / someone you want to be with / someone who is exciting / someone who stretches you?  There is something exciting about being with a person who stands-up and says, “I made the choice.”  And, how honorable it is when a person says, “I am responsible for the choice.” 

I want to leave you with:  AVOID AVERAGE!

From the Bainbridge High School Website:

Are You Average?

  • “Average” is what failures claim to be when their family and friends ask them why they are not successful.
  • “Average” is the top of the bottom, the best of the worst, the bottom of the top, the worst of the best. Which of these are you?
  • “Average” means being run-of-the-mill, mediocre, insignificant, an also-ran, a nonentity.
  • Being “average” is the lazy person’s cop-out; it’s lacking the guts to stand in life; it’s living by default.
  • Being “average” is to take up space for no purpose; to take the trip through life, but to never pay the fare; to return no interest in God’s investment in you.
  • Being “average” is to pass one’s life away with time, rather than to pass one’s time away with life. It’s to kill time, rather than to work it to death.
  • To be “average” is to be forgotten once you pass from this life. The successful are remembered for their contributions, the failures are remembered because they tried, but the “average”, the silent majority, is just forgotten.
  • To be “average” is to commit the greatest crime one can against oneself, humanity, and one’s God. The saddest epitaph is this: “Here lies Mr. or Mrs. Average-here lies the remains of what might have been except for their belief that they were only “average.”

Do you have what it takes to finish the race? We’ve all had mountains to climb before. We’ve taken losses that should have been victories… But are you going to let that stop you from having the success you want, the success you deserve? At this point, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. So, let the rest of the world think you’re “average” and when the time comes, be sure to prove them wrong! I Cor. 9:24.