A Bee In My Bonnet

Uh oh. A bee flew in my bonnet. Bees tend to stay away from my bonnet, I think because they are scared of me and my bonnet is made of forged steel and whiskey. Why is there a bee in my bonnet you ask? Good question. I’ll elaborate, it’s going to take me a while to get there though, so stick around.

There was one thing I detested growing up, and it was a weekly occurrence. My mom would tiptoe into my bedroom, sit on the side of my bed, rub my back and whisper, “Tal Joy, it’s time to get up for church.”

“Uuuggggherrrrrgummmmaaaaanganfngrafgon…” I’d groan from the bottom of my throat as I stretched my arms above my head, eyes open just enough to see the light cracking through the blinds onto rainbow covered wallpaper. I’d lay there blinking at the ceiling, squirming my feet over to a cold spot in the sheets. Like a little fish I’d flop around in that double bed until I didn’t have any more time to spare, then I’d give in, slither out of bed and stomp up the stairs to the bathroom.

Church. UGH. I hated church. I’d spend an hour ironing, brushing, combing, and primping – but mostly groaning – before we could get out of the house. My dad was waiting in the car. Always. Winter, summer, didn’t matter, we were running late and he was in the car. Late was any time within 45 minutes of church beginning. “If we’re gonna be late, I’d rather not even go!” he’d bellow from the entryway, and “Bus is leavin’!” which is still my all-time favorite and I’ve adopted it for my own use.

Walking through the double doors, they would turn their heads, distracted from small talk to take stock of who was in attendance. They’d look up and down, deciding if my skirt was too short or long, heels too high or flats too casual. We’d hang our coats and walk up the stairs to find a seat, we always sat on the left side, 4-5 rows from the back. If we got there too late we had to sit too close or too far, and then dad was not pleased; the whole day was ruined.

Throughout the service it felt like they were breathing down my neck. Was I smacking my gum? not singing loudly enough? was my skirt stuck in my tights? well now it’s clear that I’m not listening, standing here looking down at my shoes as I avoid eye contact.

Judgment is a way of life. Everyone passes judgment on others. “She looks like a bitch,”  “Did you see his shoes? He probably has a really good job,” “I bet she’s been around the block a few times,” etc. We make assumptions, we excuse behavior, we exclude and include  based on those judgments.

There’s never been a place that I felt more judgment than at church. After Ellie was born I attended a few different churches. Having a child out of wedlock at 21 when you look 17 doesn’t sit well with the church crowd though. For me attending church as an adult wasn’t so much about the belief in God – and I’m not going to get into that in this post – I questioned if I could instill in her the morals that I thought I had learned in church, without church. I find it so incredibly ironic that all of my experiences with church and most of my experiences with Christians have been the opposite of everything that Christianity is intended to be.

So, after seven paragraphs of setup, I can finally get into why there’s that darn bee in my bonnet. I saw this, from a Christian acquaintance, on Facebook the other day:

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It didn’t sit well. It got my maternal, feminine instincts all sorts of fired up. This image tells me several things:

  1. I should not provide for or protect my family, because that’s my husband’s job. (SHIT, I really fucked that one up didn’t I?)
  2. The husband does not need to be involved in the management of home or children.
  3. The wife is smaller than the husband, and lower in the hierarchy than him.

I’m doing it wrong I guess. I’m not an equal and never could be, and by working outside of the home I’m not raising my child naturally.

I commend women who are able to stay home to raise their children, I think it’s an honorable thing to do. It’s certainly not the only way as far as I’m concerned. Today it’s nearly impossible to live on one income, and I don’t think any person should be made to feel guilty for taking care of their family or enjoying a career.

Parenting should be a team effort, just like taking care of the home, protecting and providing for a family. In my house there is one umbrella, it says “Mom” and everything lives under it – the protecting, providing, managing and taking care. If there’s ever another umbrella it’s going to be directly next to that one, not above or below it.

No person gets to decide who goes to heaven or hell, or how well or poorly others have lived their lives. Basically, I think humans need to stop judging other humans for living lives that are different from their own.

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6 thoughts on “A Bee In My Bonnet

  1. Both Ben and I grew up with church but do not attend now (and don’t plan on it) – I did get a book a few years ago – Parenting Beyond Belief. Now the next step would be actually reading said book, but hey, baby steps, right?? The few chapters I’ve gotten through have been great about instilling morality and values without church as a guide. I feel like we’re doing an okay job so far but it’s obviously only going to get harder as our kids get older.

    • That sounds like an interesting read. I just got to the point where I felt like I was instilling those morals in Ellie without needing to be surrounded by people who made me feel like I wasn’t worthy of being a part of their community. Thanks for sharing, and I think you’re doing a pretty great job from what I’ve seen!

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