Pleasing Mom… not Peers

Well, I may fuel a fire here today and loose a reader or two but I just can’t help but speak up about this.

So yesterday I got a comment on the post I wrote about Caleb wanting to keep Reed through the night… and how we let him…etc..etc… you can read it HERE.

I knew there would be someone(or more) who thought we weren’t “right” in allowing our son to watch his baby brother during the night… but in all honesty it surprises me a bit that someone would think we are SELFISH for doing this.

Heres the comment:

“You know, I just don’t think this is right. You are the parent, not your son. It’s great that he’s so interested but he needs to be a boy – not take on any of the responsibilities for an infant. You and your husband are being selfish. I think there are many reasons he may be asking to help out as much as he does, perhaps because he has seen you struggling which worries him so he feels like he needs to take some of your burdens to ease his fears? Either way, I don’t think it’s right. I appreciate that this is your family and that you’re making decisions you think are right for you – but you put it out there and I have been feeling very strongly about how much you rely on Caleb that I thought I’d comment.”

Now everyone is welcome to their opinion…. but I am just as welcome to “comment back” on them here.

… I was going to go through a VERY long list of “how we are so ‘NOT’ selfish” as parents but I don’t feel the need to defend myself in that way. I know very well the many sacrifices I’ve made for my children and I know I am far from “selfish” in regards to being their mother.

.. but what struck me so much in this comment more than the selfish remark.. was the remark on how we should let Caleb be, A BOY… and how he should not have to take on ANY responsibility for an infant.”

…. now maybe Im just different in my thinking here… but whats more important… teaching a child to grow up and play and do what “they want to.”…. or teaching a child to serve? and even more so, serve willingly!

That being said, Caleb obviously is aware that his mother struggles some days. Especially the 1st few months of Reed’s life, we were very open with our children in letting them know mommy was extremely tired… and was having a hard time. I for one am not one to “put up a face” just for the sake of “pretending im ok.” – We dont want our children to know “everything” and they dont… but I so desire for our children to realize the world does not revolve around “them” and that they need to give too.

For weeks now Caleb has been begging to keep Reed at night. We obviously did not allow this because we knew that Caleb needed his rest and that it was more important for him to sleep, than to help in this area, even though he wanted to do it.

Each passing week though he’d ask again… and again..

“Pleaseeee can I pleaseeee sleep with baby Reed?”

He truly desired to do this and he was elated and so so excited when we finally gave in and said “Sure, why not.”

He grinned from ear to ear and could not wait for bed time that evening. Most night times Caleb protest bed time, wanting to “stay up a little later.” Not this particular night :) – he was eager and ready to sleep in Reed’s room.

We never asked Caleb to do this.

We never forced it on him.

If anything we discouraged it. :)

… but to me, why not let your child who truly desires to “try” something, try it… there is no harm in it at all… and the outcome of him doing it resulted in Caleb being filled with a sense of accomplishment and joy. He was so excited to talk about his “night with Reed.”

I loved hearing about it and seeing him so happy to serve.

Now, in case some “thought” I was going to go with what Caleb wanted… we will not “go on a rotation” haha… While Id love full nights of sleep, I realize Caleb is only 8 years old and his body is growing and he needs rest. If a few weeks pass by and he wants to do it again, ill let him. It will have to happen on nights he doesn’t have school the following day :) – but either way, I am not going to discourage my child from wanting to serve and help out, especially when he truly loves too.

To me our society is so bent on “doing” for their children and forget that children need to be trained and taught to “do” as well…

I am very proud of Caleb.

He is 8 years old and he can do more than most kids his age. So often I see children his age who care about nothing but themselves and what THEY want…. what will benefit them and they could honestly care less to help, unless “helping” results in “a prize” or “payment.”

Thankful he is turning out to be such an honorable young man.

Mark 10:44-45
….and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:44-45

Comments

comments

36 Responses to Pleasing Mom… not Peers

  1. Jaime says:

    Amen! So many children these days have to little responsibility and are expected to do nothing but we waited on. It warmed my heart to hear of your boy wanting to serve you and take care of his little brother. A very responsible way to do handle it too. I have a daughter like that too!

  2. Crystal V says:

    Well said, Andrea. I’ve been following your blog for quite some time now and have rarely commented but this strikes a chord. I love that you are raising a house full of young men. Props to you and Travis for the values you are instilling.

  3. Sandi says:

    Andrea… I think you are awesome for allowing him the experience of taking care of others (even with it being his infant brother) Serving is such a strong part of the bible. and the bible does not tell us what age this is to start.. you are teaching your son great values. I have been sick most of my son’s life and sadly there have been days that from 8 yrs old till now at almost 16 he has made his own dinner. He is a very strong young man, and love to help others without being asked most times. I would not trade the things he learned for anything. Your son will be a strong young man later in life and will be a great dad which I can say this world we live in needs more of. Ok now i will step off my stool on this, and yes I know some will now attack me .. that is fine.

  4. Nancy says:

    But she is still allowed to give her opinion no? Everytime you get a negative comment you make a post about it, or so it seems!

  5. Dreawood says:

    @Nancy, Trust me nancy, NOT EVERYTIME :) – Id be doing post every day if that were the case! Theres a lot I dont voice on here from comments I get. But this I could not step back on! Cause I think its ridiculous that people dont expect much from their kids!!

  6. Well, you DID put it out there…and you knew that someone would have something ugly to say…but you handled the ugliness with grace and that says a lot. :)

    Im a mom who breast fed her babies…both over a year. I made their baby food from organic fruits and veggies only. I split myself between my business and my children so that I can give them as much of myself as possible all while helping to provide for them with my husband. As parents we give..and GIVE…and GIVE but inevitably there will be people who want to come in and make judgements about how you do life because it doesnt make sense to them…and its sad. When I became a mother I remember being at the grocery store one day with my son and he was puking every where…seriously everywhere! It was out of no where and I freaked out and tried to be as calm as I could but I was freaking out. The young checkout girl was being hysterical and getting me paper towels and trying to help as much as she could…despite being totally grossed out by it…but it was when I got a hand on my shoulder from another mom who asked if she could help that I realized I need a little “momrodery” in my life. Women who understand that situations come up that arent easy…that EVERYTHING child is different..that all parents need a little grace. Not all kids want to sit in front of the tv or play video games all the time…not all kids want to stay up and spend the night with their new baby brother…not all kids want to play sports..they are all different and that makes the decisions we make as parents SUPER personalized to our children…and that shouldnt be judged by other parents.

    And 2nd, I would so much rather my children grow up to be Holy…rather than “happy.” :)

    I say brush the comment off and keep doing life the way you know honors the Lord and works for your family. And if you boy wants to come watch my kids, Ill take him!

  7. Jess G. says:

    @Nancy,
    Yes, she is entitled to her own opinion, just as Drea is entitled to defend herself and posts whatever she wants on her OWN blog. So what if she does make a post about every negative comment she receives. To each his own.

  8. Jenny says:

    I think you are right with your way to allow him trying it out. It is amazing how much Caleb can do and how grown up he is for 8 years! I think you have the right way to educate him (and his brothers, of course :-)). He plays like every 8-year-old-child but he also has learnt and recognize that living together means to help each others and be there for each others. So what else do you want? He is just perfect for his age.
    And his big advantage is that because of home schooling he has the possibility to help with helping in the night with Reed. And when reading exactly at your blog there stands that Travis was awake, too, when Reed awaked and could have been ovet to Caleb if he had the feeling Caleb would need it. So where the problem?
    You can be proud of Caleb! with 8 years he can enjoy having a baby brother and see/realize for the first time how a baby/child grows up. In my eyes it is natural that he wants to help whenevery he can…so let him help when he wants and when he says “Mom, I would like to play Lego instead of feeding Reed now”, then let him play.
    And from all what I read in your blog I know you would accept this, too.

  9. Sara says:

    @Dreawood,
    Drea,
    I never said I don’t expect much from my kids (or kids in general) – but I do not expect children to act as adults and take on adult roles such as caring for an infant. There are many ways our children can serve in our families without them being responsible for an infant.
    I also don’t think that my comment was rude or nasty. YOU blogged about this, YOU chose to be public about your life, YOU are open to comments. I wrote what I felt – that’s all. I also stated very clearly ‘I appreciate that this is your family and that you’re making decisions you think are right for you’. At the end of the day that’s all that matters.
    If you only want people to agree with you that’s fine. I am sure I am not the only one who feels this way. Sorry to have ruffled your feathers.

  10. Josh says:

    @Sara, Calling someone “selfish” isn’t rude or nasty? Maybe you’re being “selfish” by thinking you’re an expert on child-rearing and a judge on how other people choose to do things. It’s not like she’s popping out kids, handing them off to each other and going and watching TV or snort coke like some moms I know personally. She’s letting the kid do what HE wants to do. Maybe instead of being (insert your favorite word) “selfish,” Caleb is just wanting to help out. If it’s not hurting anybody, what’s the big freakin’ deal?

  11. Jenn says:

    Your children, your choice. You and Travis are good parents, and you don’t even need to explain yourself to anyone. Years ago, the younger children pitched in a LOT more with chores, educating, and yes even helped with raising the younger too…diapers, bathing, and whatever needed to be done. Especially in larger families, ALL pitched in. Children are way too spoiled in modern day living! Please God, not man (or woman).
    Love ya!

  12. Tara says:

    I have never commented but have been reading your blog for quite some time. While I don’t agree with your stances on absolutely everything, I just wanted to let you know that I admire the way you handle negativity with grace. Somehow you are able to confront an issue or a negative comment but show grace and not degrade the person that made the comment to you, while still holding firm to what you believe you need to do for your family. It’s hard when others look down on your parenting, and I have been reminding myself lately that if my husband and I feel that we are raising our kids biblically, in a God-honoring way, then I can be confident in my parenting before God.

  13. shanilie says:

    Wowsers im surprised someone would comment that. I am the oldest in my family. And it was expected for ALL to help out. My mom got re-married when i was 10 and she had 2 more babies. And she worked full- time. I fed babies, changed babies, held babies, burped babies, and had them share a room with me and had them with me night after night. It is not uncommon AT ALL for older siblings to help out with the younger ones. AND most importantly Caleb seems to really enjoy doing it. Male or female we all have responsibilities. I just wish i lived closer so Jacob could learn a thing or two from Caleb. Jacob is not interested in helping at ALL with his lil brothers lol. It would be such a blessing for him to have a godly, good-hearted, kind boy to spend time with. *sighs

  14. Ashley says:

    @melissa pepin,

    “I would so much rather my children grow up to be Holy… rather than “happy.””

    I LOVE that.

  15. brynna says:

    I thought it was precious! I didn’t comment, but I passed the link to my MIL who I knew would agree with me. Children who grow up with such love and care for their siblings are going to be such great people, seriously. It’s not like you passed on the responsibility to him because you didn’t want to do it…out of HIS desire, you allowed him an opportunity to do something most children will never get to experience, and I think that’s awesome. So many adults have NO idea how to care for babies/children, and your son will not be one of them. He is family oriented, to the core, and I believe that’s exactly where God wants us. :)

  16. Ashley says:

    I too love the grace you have shown in your responses… and I am so inspired by you to encourage and cultivate those desires to help that I see in my children. Caleb is such a special boy – I am floored by him. What an awesome example he is to his brothers. Regardless if you’re agreed with or not, you are also encouraging other moms to really think about and assess our parenting, and I applaud you for making yourself vulnerable to criticism. You are letting God use you in such important ways.

  17. brynna says:

    @brynna,

    Oh, and we do cosleep and exclusively breastfeed, so it won’t be exactly the same for us, but I absolutely plan on allowing my eldest daughter as many opportunities as she wants to help with the new baby. (she’s only going to be 7 in Feb. though) I think it’s a great way for them to learn and mature, as well as develop a deep respect for what a FAMILY is. It’s interesting to me how backwards society can be when it comes to older siblings sharing responsibilities by helping care for younger ones (not necessarily in regards to the comment left on your blog, but just in general). In regards to selfishness, it seems like not allowing our children to grow up helping out- even in BIG ways- is only going to contribute to that sin in THEMSELVES.

    Oh, and for the record, I ALWAYS wanted to help with the night care of my younger siblings when I was growing up. Seriously, I begged and begged. I wasn’t ever allowed to, though, (mostly because it was just easier for my mom to do it herself) but I would have loved the experience.

  18. chris h says:

    I see absolutely nothing wrong with what you and Travis did as you said Caleb asked to do this it was not forced on him and there was adult supervision!!!!It show how resposible he is at 8 there are some teens who are not as responsible as he is and yes I have my opinion and have a right to believe the way i do. Some adults are not responsible as well. cheers to you and Travis for raising these boys and being responsible

  19. ashley says:

    I think what you’ve done, in raising your boys, is admirable. I’ve been a reader for a couple of years now, and I’ve always admired the servant heart that it seems your boys have. ESPECIALLY Caleb….from hearing about how excited he was when he got his first Bible, to helping with his younger brother, it is clear that he has a servants heart. I do not believe that you have forced them into a situation where they feel they have to step up and help with baby reed because you’re tired. If my son grows up and wants to help with his younger siblings, I will absolutely encourage it. He will grow to a responsible young man, and when he , Lord willing, has children, he will be well equipped to take care of them, because he had the experience as a young man. Which he seems to be…a young MAN. Continue raising your children as YOU see fit! Way to go!

  20. Jaime says:

    I couldn’t agree more with Shanilie.
    Plus I can’t stress enough how this was Caleb’s idea. I mean seriously the kid wants to help, let him. It’s not an every night thing…
    It is so great that his heart is in the right place. You have taught him well.

  21. Christine says:

    The only thing I thought when you posted about Caleb wanting to care for Reed was, “He’s going to make a great husband some day!” I think more women wish their mother-in-laws had instilled such a sense of helping out around the house and caring for others in their husbands as children.

    While in SOME cases, there may be selfish motives for making older siblings care for younger ones, this is clearly NOT the case for you! And as others have said, you made it clear that if Caleb needed help or wanted to go back to his own room, you would have been there for him.

  22. Carrie says:

    This is completely unrelated (and for the record I think if your son wants to help, he should certainly be allowed to do so! A big brother wanting to care for his sibling definitely shouldn’t be discouraged.) but I saw this study and it made me recall when you said you were still holding off on vaccinations. I have no problem with that, I simply thought you might be interested in reading this! It’s the most comprehensive study to date on the issue :)

    http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2013/The-Childhood-Immunization-Schedule-and-Safety.aspx

    Have a wonderful day!

  23. Brooke Oliver says:

    I really enjoy seeing pictures of Caleb loving on and taking care of Reed. It’s absolutely precious. He is such a nurturing, responsible, serving boy! You’re doing an awesome job raising your boys and I thought it was wonderful that you (very responsibly) allowed Caleb to care for Reed at night that time. It’s obvious it was very special to Caleb, and I’m sure he’ll treasure the memory.

  24. Laura Reaux says:

    Letting our kids try things that they want to try… it’s amazing how controversial it can be. Isn’t it? :) It’s especially interesting to me that people can see something negative in something like encouraging your child to do something so helpful! Your must be so proud of him for wanting to care for his brother. He is going to make an amazing Dad someday! <3

  25. Sara says:

    Josh, if you know Moms that snort coke you should really call the authorities.
    It’s not a big deal – as I said – ‘I appreciate that this is your family and that you’re making decisions you think are right for you’. I just stated my opinion. Which I can do. Again, sorry this offended you. Have a wonderful day!

  26. Travis says:

    First, I am extremely proud of my wife and the job she does… and I am extremely proud of my boys … especially the maturity I see developing.

    Second, I think its sad the way we in modern culture think childhood should be nothing but play, fun, and care-free living … and last forever! When is childhood over? 12? 16? 18? 21? college graduation? MARRIAGE? This is one reason we have so many big “boys” in this country & a great shortage of real men today … because they weren’t trained EARLY at home about responsibility.

  27. Mrs T says:

    Amen! I come from a big family, 5 brothers, no sisters, I’m the princess :) I am the fifth child of the family and my oldest brothers took care of me from very early on, not because mom wasn’t “around” but it was expected to pitch in. One of my brothers, third in line, literally raised my baby brother not because it was necessary but he DESIRED to do it. Yes we were very poor in a still developing country. My mom had to work and my dad was around every so often. My brothers served and gave so so much of themselves, they grew up to be great dads and providers for their families. I am so thankful that they took care of me when mom sometimes couldn’t and you know what? We had the happiest of childhoods, yes we had very very little but we always found a way to play and be kids. And to this day every time we all get together we play!

    Drea, this is good! Your children will thank you for instructing them in the ways of the Lord, you are growing great men for His kingdom and knowing that, still gives me a bit of hope for this country. Most parents coddle their children so much it makes me sick!

  28. B says:

    Hi! I am semi new and LOVE reading your posts on your family. I WISH and HOPE and PRAY to have a large family one day. Currently raising one baby girl. Anyway – I agree with you wholeheartedly. Children these days are raised to have no responsibilites or responsibility of their actions. I came from a very large extended family and was helping care for babies when I was 8 or so. I lived with my elderly grandmother the summer of my fifth or sixth grade year to help her so she could stay living independantly. I enjoy those memories and I believe it made me into a much stronger, more confident person than I am today. Good for you for responding, and for raising such wonderfully responsible caring boys!!!

  29. noe says:

    I loved this post, as well as the other one where you shared how Caleb helped you with Reed.
    However, I will make one little tiny comment about this whole situation: you really need to stop answering to whoever leaves a bad comment on your posts. You are the owner of this blog and you can post w/e you want. You had your 4 children in your belly, you chose to marry Travis and the decisions you make are greatly affected by your relationship with God and Travis.
    You don’t need to reply to every single person who says: oh you’re wrong! because then we’re gonna start seeing censured posts ‘just in case’ someone doesn’t like what you write.
    You’re a beautiful person, and like I told you before, most of us come to your blog because we love the way you share MANY things with us.
    Was I surprised because Caleb helped you with Reed? Nope. I thought it was wonderful what you did. Did the person who leave that stupid comment know that in AFrica, girls starts ‘wearing’ their brothers when they’re about 6-7 years old? Does she know in South America we all sleep in the same room and it’s sometimes the task of the older sibling to check on the little one at night?
    People watch TV shows about a family of multiple kids and they’re all like: WOW! how does she does it??? Well… they work amazingly great because older siblings help.
    Travis really made a wonderful point with his comment, and this is one of the reasons a lot of women follow your blog: you are teaching your kids values, you’re building strong men to serve God, above all, and others. It doesn’t matter if it’s a baby, house chores, or the neighbor next door. Caleb is a sweet boy, for what you’ve shared with us, and you teaching him how to baby wear, how to hold a camera, how to change his brother’s diaper, or how to care for a newborn are positive things, are AMAZING things.
    Just focused on the big things Drea. It’s your family, your choices, and if this person didn’t like it and the comment was rude, or affected you in any way, let it go… because it’s getting really old to see a post and then another post answering a comment they left on your other post.
    I know it’s hard, but most of us don’t go around explaining our choices with our children and why we do this, or that. You shouldn’t be doing that either. You share a lot with us… and I don’t think you should be doing any more explaining about the decisions you make as parents.

  30. Jessica says:

    Ive followed your blog for a couple years now because I love how you and your husband love and teach your kids (among many other reasons:) ) I thought it was so sweet of Caleb to offer (and beg hehe) to sleep with Reed. Those are memories he’ll never forget and be able to tell Reed later. I would do the same if my older child asked :) Sweet boys!!

  31. Laura says:

    @Travis, I have followed your family’s blog for awhile now, and of course you should be proud of your wife and the job she does. You have a beautiful family and i have been encouraged by many posts. I completely agree with the fact that we do need to train our sons to be responsible men. But I understand how people think that it’s irresponsible to put the responsibility of an infant into the hands of an 8 year old in the middle of the night. If something were to happen, could an eight year old know the best thing to do? And would you as parents want him to have to handle that? Just thoughts… Of course you continue to do what God leads your family to do. I hope that my comment doesn’t come across as bad, but when I read this post, it definitely didn’t sit well, so I thought I would comment.

  32. Stacey says:

    @Laura, did you miss the part about Travis having the baby monitor on and listening to make sure everything was ok? I’m so happy to read about a family that serves one another. I love Caleb’s servant heart, and pray that my own children would be so selfless.

  33. Laura says:

    @Stacey, Must have :) I think that sometimes I just imagine worst case scenarios, and for myself, it would be unnerving to have my son (who is also 8) care for a newborn so young. From reading this and other posts, it’s quite evident that Caleb is quite the servant and a gem of a boy :) It wouldn’t be something that would sit well with me, but I know that this is a caring family and trust that they choose what is best for their family.

  34. Kayti says:

    Hey Drea,

    I’ve been a longtime reader now and have enjoyed watching your Owen grow up since he and my oldest are very close in age. Thanks for handling the negativity so well. Even if one does disagree with a blogger, the proper way to handle it is not by public name-calling and condemnation. :( Being a parent is difficult enough without navigating conflict with other parents. A little tact and humility go a long way on the blogosphere :)

    That said, the part that bothered me the most about the comment was that she somehow implied that because Caleb was a “boy,” that this was inappropriate? Perhaps she just meant “because he’s young.” I hope so. I’m always struck by the fact that we don’t allow young boys to play with babies or trust them with responsibilities traditionally given to women and then somehow expect them to know it all when they’re married. :( This is a great disservice to men. I love that Caleb is so nurturing. He’ll be a fantastic daddy one day, God willing! I’m still baffled that anyone had an issue with this.

  35. Elaine says:

    I wanted to add just one thing that I didn’t see anyone else comment on. My sister is a Christian counselor, and valuable thing that she told me was that children need to know your struggles. Maybe not the fullest extent of them, but not to pretend that nothing is wrong when clearly there is. The benefits are two fold; one, it helps then to understand why they are feeling a certain way in response to you, two, it helps them to trust the Lord in their struggles if you do. So Caleb was responding to a struggle that the whole family was going through, and he responded (in a Christ like way). Being transparent for your kids is one of the best things in this story. May God bless your efforts in raising Christ centered kids.

  36. @Ashley, Thanks Ashely..its so so true.

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