This week, our dear friends JJ. and B. entered into a new phase of relationship with our family. JJ. gave birth at the beginning of July and will be returning to work soon, and they needed someone to help care for their child four days a week. We will be sharing food, exchanging childcare and comparing parenting philosophies. I am so excited to raise children with this woman! The fact that E. is 2 years older doesn’t mean that I don’t have a lot to learn from her–already because of preferences they expressed, I searched out a simple recipe for diaper area spray to get kiddos’ bottoms cleaner, and began using it on E. as well.
It is a tricky to thing to become, for all intents and purposes, the work-at-home mom for two families. I struggle over many decisions in my household; it is so hard to strike a balance of everyone’s needs! The need for thriftiness and to be a good steward of our money. Our need to reduce our waste (yes, at this point I am convinced that it is a need that deserves attention in a much more comprehensive way than is usually granted in the U.S.). Our need to live out the words of Jesus in a way that is honest, intentional and thoughtful. J.’s needs which he rarely shares in any form (I had to insist on driving him to the hospital for a minor procedure this morning–then he is grounded to the office to watch movies all day). E.’s needs which she shares quite vocally and sometimes unintelligably for those of us not fluent in “Elizabethan” which is the secondary language in our household. The needs of all the people who touch my stuff on its way to me. Financial needs of those around us. The hidden poverty which I know exists in my neighborhood but which I often feel powerless to fight due to the stigma attached to it (Victorian novels make it sound so much more simple to care for the poor–just go out into the street and find a poor person and take care of them. It doesn’t work that way in this day and age; but that’s another post).
Now, I will be adding another whole set of familial needs to the mix. Someone else’s parenting decisions will have an effect on what I do in my day-to-day life. It’s a lot to process. However, there has been some good groundwork laid for this. We were friends with B. for a long time before he and JJ. got married. He even graciously took us in for a brief period when we were in between housing arrangements. In many ways I feel we live out what it means to be the church with them as we share belongings, share life, share resources. So this “professional” twist to our relationship is really not a twist at all but just the next logical step as we go through life together.