A truly counter-culture movement, Joyful Harbor Home is a passionate mission to celebrate motherhood and the essential role mothers play in our global society. Raising children is a vital undertaking with extremely high stakes. It is a lifetime opus with eternal implications. Thank you for celebrating this with me!
This photo is circa 1984, probably spring. Courtney was 2, Christian was 8 months or so. I was 23. My story of motherhood, like yours, is complex and convoluted and most of the time it was hard. The time and energy spent figuring it out was so worth it. What a gift.
Unless this is your first visit to Joyful Harbor Home, you know that I love all things mother and child related. I also have deep respect and admiration for those dads that fill the role of mother, but my first love is helping all mothers to see the value of raising children.
Motherhood is a topic I explore a great deal, and the other day I was doing an internet search about mothers in a variety of cultures. While cruising through the mass of online info I encountered an article about Amish mothers. I could tell immediately that the author was not Amish. Too many generalizations.
It was not an article I could use for real research, but there was a sentence that caught my eye. The author stated that most Amish women are stay at home mothers with several children. (I don't know this for a fact. I'm quoting the author) She then went on to say that this made them "glorified babysitters". A mother is a glorified babysitter? Seriously? Is that honestly what this young, female author thinks about motherhood?
How on earth did this become such a popular opinion that an author could lob it out there with no push back at all? It was a statement made with no shame or disclaimer whatsoever. Glorified babysitters. What has happened in a society that defines motherhood as an occupation with no value except to keep another human alive? What has gone wrong when we assume that a child is not worth nurturing and teaching and nourishing?
Joyful Harbor Home is a grass roots movement to reclaim the joy and the value and worth of raising children. It is about relearning what it means to be a mother or a father. It is about retooling our lives to so that we can bring up children who can confidently take their place in the world. Joyful Harbor Home is about intentionally creating your family with faith and unity.
When we are intentionally teach our children and fill their hearts and minds with the faith of our families, we are participating in the most important work there is. Children matter. The next generation matters. Children need more than food and a bed. They need to know how they fit into the world. They need to know how to learn. They need to know how to love.
Children need to know how to live in community and how to interact in a setting such as a school, a church, or a work place. None of this happens by accident. It happens when a child looks around for the most accessible model, and then they follow that leadership. This works best when that model is a parent who cares about teaching the child positively and with love. If the most accessible model is not a parent, then who will it be? The neighbor? A classmate? A babysitter? Whoever is the closest and most engaged with your child is the one who will remain the most influential as the years go by. Choose wisely. Choose yourself.
I have compiled a list of surprising facts about a Harbor Home. Motherhood is essential, and motherhood matters. Here are some things that you might not understand about Harbor Homes.
A Harbor Home does not require a stay at home parent. Parents who have created a Harbor Home very often have every adult working full time. A Harbor Home is one in which the needs of the children are prioritized over the needs/wants of adults. Parents of Harbor Homes carve out whatever time is necessary to ensure that the children have their needs met, even when that time comes at the cost of "me time" for parents. If you have children and you work full time understand that your child's need for homework help supersedes your desire to go out with friends. Your child's need for a consistent bedtime and meal schedule matters more than your desire to crash on the couch all evening without engaging in the hard parts of parenting. Do you see what I mean? You can work full time, but your child still needs what your child needs. Adequate sleep and regular meals. Enough snuggle time to be secure. Lots of opportunities to read with you. Conversations with you. Understand that your full time job must not keep you from interacting with your child.
Your Harbor Home doesn't look like anyone else's. There are several commonalities between Harbor Homes, but not every family achieves these in the same way. Your family may have a strict routine with a pre planned weekly menu, or you may take each day as it comes. You may want to place clear limits on screen time or you maybe you are not overly concerned about this. Your family may be very indoorsy or outdoorsy. However you create your Harbor Home is fine. There are a few things that all Harbor Homes have in common: respect for all members of the family. a strong leader that knows how to be a servant leader, healthy boundaries that exclude harmful influences, love and respect for education, and firm loyalty to one another. In this way, your home becomes the harbor you all need.
Your Harbor Home will have ups and downs. Just because you work hard and with intention to create a Harbor Home for your family doesn't mean that every day will have sunshine, confetti, rainbows and a smiling unicorn on board. "Happily ever after" is not the same as "happier ever after". Harbor Homes are happy homes, but you will have crisis, conflicts, chaos, and craziness. That is life in a family. In a Harbor Home you will work through this and still be the family that loves and is committed to loving. Commit yourself to patience. Stand strong for the long haul. Face each stage of parenting with joy focusing on the good that is happening. Be aware of your responsibilities and meet them when it is hard. You can do hard things. Stick with it.
Thank you so much for your readership. Please leave a comment below about what topics you would like to see addressed in the next 100 posts. May God richly bless you harbor!