A Call to Motherhood, A Call to Greatness
I grew up in the 80s. It was just the beginning of the “latchkey” generation. My mother gave my brothers and me the gift of staying home. Her zest for life, ability to celebrate to the fullest, and warm love was poured out daily upon us. I am better for it.
I’ll never forget one neighbor’s inquiry of “what my mom did all day?” He never gave me the chance to answer. He replied with another question, “Does she eat bonbons all day?” Back then, I don’t think I carried a full appreciation of what my mom did. Regardless of that, I knew there were no bonbons in the house. This one comment made her vocational call seem worthless. As a stay at home mom (SAHM), her life was more than a “box of chocolates.”
Years later, after having my own child, I found myself at a play date. My caregiver counterpart wasn’t a mom, but a nanny. As I entered the house, I was introduced to another woman. One would first assume that “mom” was running late before her workday. This was not the case. Turns out, my new acquaintance was the Au Pair. She helped with nights and weekends. During that same visit, the doorbell rang. My nanny friend mentioned it was the new decorator stopping by to do some measurements. Welcome to the age of outsourcing.
I left that unusual play date feeling my life had an unusual amount of value. If I were to put a dollar sign on all I did, I’d be making a pretty figure! I wondered if this household also had a personal chef? Were chores surrendered to a cleaning service? It would seem, when moms morph into a career women, it takes five people to do one woman’s job. It is true, when women pursue fulltime careers, they can’t do it all. Yet, the desire remains to make the home a place of warmth and beauty.
A vocation, vocare in Latin, is a call from God. If God calls a woman to motherhood, and she calls the nanny, calls the cleaning service, and calls for take out, is her mission met? Can someone else fulfill a personal vocation? The temptation is ever before woman to go out into the workforce. She is told that is where her contributions count. But children aren’t just something to get “out of the way” so women can get back to pursuing a career, or to put off until you are 40 and“unfreezing” your eggs. Motherhood matters.
Women can strive for career ambitions and work accolades, but in the end, these things will not make them great. The Gospel tells us that. “An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest. Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child and placed it by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. For he who is the least among you, is the greatest” ‘(Luke 9:46-50, emphasis added). It would appear a woman’s true greatness comes when she conceives and receives her very own children, promoting herself to the role of mother.
When we receive our children, we receive Christ. When we care for them, we care for Christ. In this often hidden and hard vocation, the praises are few, the pay comes in hugs, the promotions are rare, and the coworkers are scare; We are on the path of greatness. Making a home, nourishing children, cuddling, and kissing booboos is priceless. Let motherhood give way to the only promotion that matters, Sainthood.