It is amazing how things change when a little child enters your life. It makes you realize how selfish you were before with your time and money. But now we run into being selfish still with our time and money, but in a familial kind of way. I think that our idea of family is different than anyone we have ever met. We were not raised the way we view family, it just sort of happened. Some people who don't know us (and some who do) think of our actions as selfish, and I think the rest of our friends just know that we are passionate about the home unit. Let me try to put this into a more specific detail.
We do not make plans as an individual without checking with each other first. If I want to spend some time with a friend of mine then I will make sure that I have not been neglecting my wife and child with my school, housework, yardwork, etc... to where this will further alienate me from them. I have a responsibility to my wife and kid(s) to be a husband and a father before I have a responsibility to be a friend to someone else. I do believe in the importance of friendship outside of my spouse, however, my best friend needs to be my spouse and maintaining the health of that friendship is tantamount above all other relationships. If more people thought along these lines then you might see a drop in the divorce rate in our country, but that is not a guarantee considering how many factors go into a decision to separate from covenant vows.
Another example is with our daughter. We do not put her in nurseries or any sort of childcare. I am not going to let a family friend watch her, and barely will we let our own families watch her. People keep telling us, and I believe behind our backs at that, that we need to learn to let others watch her so we can have "us" time or so they can get time with our daughter. That is our call to make. First off, I only know a handful of people intimately to where I know if they are a pedophile or not. Sorry family, but if we don't talk about your vices in advance and only talk about the weather and safe subjects then you are not on the list of approved people. Honesty and transparency are key to watching our daughter. Moreover, I want our daughter to see her mommy and daddy in love and creating a healthy marriage. I want her to learn how to worship, understand the sermon, and fellowship at church (a book that has helped us find support for keeping our kid in service is called Parenting in the Pew). Thankfully we are not the only ones doing this one as is evident by how many others we see keeping their kids of all ages in church with them. If our daughter does not want to come to you then DO NOT pry her from her mother's arms. Somebody will end up with a bloody nose before this over with because my wife's patience is about shot on this one. So if you were thinking about doing this then stop yourself now. We don't want nor need any encouragement for our daughter to get comfortable being away from mommy and daddy. In short, mind your business and let us parent how we want to parent. If something we do is detrimental to our daughter's health and well-being in your mind then talk to one of us about it. That doesn't mean we will agree with you, but I will definitely give you an attentive ear.
On a positive note, I am very pleased with how well both sets of immediate family have allowed us our freedom in parenting. You guys vocalize here and there, but overall you let our wishes for raising our kid be what goes and not what you think is best. I am seriously grateful for this. It makes in-law relations on both sides easier. The only thing I ask is that if you feel like you have to tiptoe on eggshells around us then we need to talk because that is not healthy.
Thanks for reading!
Keith, a.k.a. Daddy Moose
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