Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mind your Own Motherhood

If there’s one thing we have as women, its opinions. I’d like to issue a friendly reminder to Catholic wives and mothers that personal opinions on motherhood and issues of morality are two different things.

In other words: mind your own motherhood!

A holy mother has many faces, friends. She may wear different hats. They may be hats you don’t think look good on her.

A holy mother may not breastfeed, use cloth diapers or co-sleep. Or she may. A holy mother may make the baby cry it out. Or not. She may send six kids to public school or stay home full-time and home school one.

There are some popular phrases that some women have been using as weapons on fellow mothers:

“We are the first and primary educators of our children” is slug like mud at mothers who send children to school.

We are the first and primary educators of our children. Education is an important and private discernment process where God may reveal his will in differing ways.

“I could NEVER leave MY kids,” is casually said to mothers who leave the home for work, implying they love their children less than mothers who stay home.

That mother may not be able to leave her kids because she may be called to be home. This does not make her calling superior or her children “better off” then those of a mother who leaves.

I’ve recently been noticing an elitist attitude from stay-at-home (and some school-at -home) mothers in my life and in the media and blog world.

It is only “acceptable” for a mother to be called to work outside of the home if it is financially necessary for her family. When that time passes she can go home, where she “should” be.

Mother’s who leave the home to work even though she doesn’t need to financially may indeed be called to a mission in the world in addition to her vocation at home.

A holy mother may set her college degrees aside and stay home with her children full-time. She may make her husband lunch and have dinner ready when he returns home. A holy mother may have a husband who does laundry and cleans the kitchen.

A holy mother may work outside the home – whether or not her family needs the money.

A holy mother discerns her life putting her vocation as wife and mother first. Her discernment is between herself, her husband and the Lord. A holy mother will do so with a formed conscience. What she is called to is divinely perfect.

Who are we to question how and why God calls anyone, mother or not?

Our thoughts of each other are so disordered they’ve been exploited and are used as entertainment in the blogs and media sources.

Stop it! We’re making Christian motherhood look bad – as if we can’t handle our vocation. It’s embarrassing and shameful.

Mind your own motherhood.

Let’s stop tearing each other down and looking down our noses at those God has called to our same vocation. We’ve got the same goal, friends! Let’s serve each other in the absence of judgment with encouragement and support so we can best serve our vocations.

Mind your own motherhood. I’ll try to do the same.

Mama and bottle-fed baby

17 comments:

Sew said...

Love you! This is great! Seriously, mind your own motherhood! :)

So what do I say to grandparents? LOL

Krissy A. said...

Thanks for this post, Holly! Super timely for me, as for the first time ever today, I let one of my kids 'cry it out.' I prayed and prayed and knew it was what we ALL needed. I have definitely been guilty of not minding my own motherhood, but fortunately I think years of getting smacked around by experience has made me a bit better!!!

Lagartija said...

Awesome post Holly! I think that sometimes there is a reaction against moral relativism that has caused this overcorrection, where Catholic women have tried to define the path to holiness in ever more narrow and absolute terms. You summed it up perfectly when you said that "personal opinions on motherhood and issues of morality are two different things." It's so true, there's nothing worse than tearing down those in your same boat. We soo need each other in all of our differing capacities to stay the course! :) Thanks for sharing this!

Maggie said...

Oh my goodness... this post is AWESOME! I hate all the Mommy Wars going on out there! We need to lift each other up, not tear each other down!

Second Chances said...

This post is why I love you! Amen.

Krissy A. said...

I was thinking more about this after commenting before, and I just had one more thing to add. When I was a younger mom, I felt so much JOY in the life God called me to--including breastfeeding, staying at home, and eventually homeschooling. I had so much joy that I wanted everyone else to have the same joy--not realizing that my joy was not necessarily a result of my mothering choices, but a result of being the mother God wanted ME to be. So if there are women who are quick to view their way as the only way, it's possible that they might be making the same mistake I did...and let's be gentle with them too!!

Debi said...

I guess I must have missed the "Mommy Wars"?? I must be out of the loop! LOL!! I agree, our motherhood is a personal journey.
Blessings to you!!

Sarah said...

Love it! Well said and straight to the point. I think so much Mommy Guilt comes from the other moms not minding their own motherhood and creating insecurity in our own. Thank you!!

I've starred this post in my Reader so I can re-read often as a reminder ;)

Chasing said...

great post!

Amazing Life said...

Seriously spot on!! I find that coming to the blogs sometimes at the end of the day can be a bit 'hostile' and not the 'safe haven' it used to be.

It is hard to keep your opinions to yourself but it is so necessary!! Parenting is HARD work, a blessing, yes, but hard work!

You and your bottle fed baby are beautiful!!

A mother ... said...

I pray that all mothers can find the peace they need -
Creating peace is a lot like rearing a child. It requires patient fostering, self-sacrifice, guidance, and love.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death ... Amen.

God Bless ~

Sunshine said...

I've never read your blog before but I'm hooked with this post!! Right on!

Joy Beyond the Cross said...

You go Holly! I love this post! It is pretty sad when I worry about posting something that we are going through because someone else might read it and disapprove. Thanks for the reminder to not only mind my own motherhood, but not to care as much about what other people think, hence becoming defensive on my part. God Bless you and your beautiful family!

Gwen Stewart said...

Holly, I love this post a million and one ways.

Get this: I'm a Christian mom who teaches in the public schools *gasp*. ;-) I have once in a while felt so judged by stay at home and homeschooling moms. The truth is that despite the occasional news story, most teachers DO like children and respect them--that's why we're there. We don't want to take anything from them, only give.

I pray often to ask God if I'm still where He wants me. The answer seems to be yes. I pray for my students often, and try to show the love of Christ to kids whose backgrounds would make any sensible person weep. I give and receive lots of hugs. The one year I stayed home, I felt an undeniable call to return to teaching--and so I did, part time for a while. And my own two children are happy, well-adjusted, godly people.

I'm sorry for the length of this post; I guess you can see you touched a nerve! A hearty AMEN to women supporting one another and being less judgmental.

May God bless you!

Kim said...

Holly,
I agree with your post, and think there has been an overcorrection in Christian women's reaction to the feminist movement. We are not all called to be barefoot in the kitchen of a spotless home, our only duty to cook and clean for our husbands and kids (though that is a very worthy duty), but God has given us other gifts as well that we may be called to share.
I do, however, think we are primary educators of our children, but not necessarily in a homeschooling sense. While others may be the primary educators in terms of reading, math, and science, parents are the primary educators in terms of faith, morality, and love, and in setting an example for the kids of following God's calling for us. Kudos to you for following God's calling, and also for being the loving, wonderful mother, wife, and writer (as well as other hats you wear) you are!
I hope I didn't come off as opionated - trying to be supportive ;)

SarahLee08 said...

Holly, this is a great post and you are spot on!

Thanks for sharing and I enjoyed meeting you at Behold. God Bless!

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