I took my own advice and the last two Friday mornings I have gone to quilting with the ladies from church. I was only able to have coffee/treats and quilt for a couple of hours-not stay for lunch, because Ram had visits with members to make in the afternoon. It was fun to get together with the ladies (who are all old enough to be my mom or grandma). I liked to get out with the purpose of doing something-tie quilts. I'm also learning a little bit about quilting too.
I asked one of the quilting women about what she did to get time to herself when she had young children. She laughed at that question. She said there was far too much work on the farm and at home when she had young children to even think about time to herself. I asked if she had the neighbor over for coffee or something like that. Her answer shocked me-she never would have considered having a woman over to her house without also inviting the husband. Then on the rare time that a couple came, there were always farm chores to be done so the couple wouldn't stay long. She reminded me that even in the winter there was a ton of work to be done, it was just different work than summer work.
She also said that times have changed and we have a lot more to deal with when we raise our children today than she did then-I assumed that she meant how technology is in our lives but I didn't ask her to explain more. But she also sounded like she can't understand this "need" for moms to get time alone because she didn't get time to herself when she had young children. It was not all about her. I asked her about where she got advice for parenting-as compared to today I get advice from our family or look on the internet or ask my e-mail buddies. She laughed at that question too-what kind of advice did I need as a parent? She said she would talk things over with her husband and generally they just figured things out-even if it wasn't the best way or if it took her longer-things always worked out. I really respect her and her husband for taking this approach to parenting. I'm sure they talked things over and prayed about it and then left the rest in the Lord's hands.
I've thought about this conversation a lot in the last week. I know I only talked to one woman about this and perhaps I'll ask some more ladies at church these same questions. I doubt that this woman is abnormal in this area and especially not for the time that she was raising children. My how far we have come since her children were little and I'm not sure we've come far in a good way.
So what am I thinking after this conversation? I'm going to try to go to quilting as often as possible (which is not every week because of Ram's schedule plus they only quilt in the winter). I like that time getting some "wisdom" from the older women and volunteering at the same time. After talking to her, I also don't feel like it is abnormal to not feel that "need" to go to play group that many of my friends have talked about. If the older women in this rural area survived without play group, I can do it too. I know this paragraph sounds crazy because when I go to quilting I am getting a little time to myself away from the Lambs. But it is a different time away from the Lambs than play group would be.
I would encourage you to ask questions like I asked this woman at quilting to an older woman in your area. I would be very curious if her answers are typical for someone her age AND for someone in an urban area or just for the rural areas. I think some times we forget about what a blessing the older women in our churches are. Instead of complaining that there is only one other mom with kids in similar age to the Lambs in our tri-parish, I should be thankful that all the rest of the church women have "been there done that".
Check back tomorrow for more posts about being a rural pastor's wife.