The Vocation of Motherhood… and Fatherhood, too.

The text that goes with this picture is a bit hard to make out, so here it is:

“Remember motherhood was God’s plan for women, not men. We all forget that motherhood is the norm and a career is abnormal. Some are compromising and urging our good high school girls to colleges and careers. Mother Teresa’s words are so enduring to our times when she said that, ‘God calls us to be faithful, not successful.’ Anyone who wishes to debate Mother’s words should pray to God for grace and insight to understand these words of wisdom. These words are especially true for the mothers of our day and time. Many mothers are so wrapped up in the ‘media success’ of these times that they see nothing wrong with going out to work. Very few mothers ‘have’ to work outside the home and it is to the detriment of family life.”

—Rosie Gil

As I wrote in response to this at the time, I agree – but I also think we sometimes forget that it was God’s plan for fathers to be at or near home most of the time, too, unless they were on a journey for the benefit of the family, or fighting to protect it.

Whether farmers – as were the majority of people until quite recently in human history – tradesmen, or merchants (the latter two of which usually had their shops or offices downstairs, with the family residence upstairs), most men spent most of their time in relatively close proximity to, and often / usually working together with, the rest of their family, right up until the Industrial Revolution.

I am not trying to detract in any way from the vital role and vocation of motherhood, or the desirability of mothers being able to devote themselves full-time to that vocation, if at all possible, and to the closely allied one of homemaking – literally, creating a home that is worthy of a family to live in.

I am simply pointing out that I believe God’s original plan was for families to be organic, integrated units of relationship, with all members working together for the common good, and supporting one another in daily living – not mom and kids at home, and dad working somewhere else, a long commute away, and only seeing them in the evening and on weekends.

The 1950s, as idyllic a time as it was in some (though not all) respects, was neither the norm nor the ideal, either – nor, certainly, were the “dark, satanic mills” of the Industrial Revolution. We have fallen a long way from the original plan, imho, in many respects!

Author: The Anglophilic Anglican

I am an ordained Anglican clergyman, published writer, former op-ed columnist, and experienced outdoor and informal educator. I am also a traditionalist: religiously, philosophically, politically, and socially. I seek to do my bit to promote and restore the Good, the True, and the Beautiful, in a world which has too-often lost touch with all three, and to help re-weave the connections between God, Nature, and humankind which our techno-industrial civilization has strained and broken.

6 thoughts on “The Vocation of Motherhood… and Fatherhood, too.”

  1. It’s actually kind of funny. I *tried* to stay home when my son was born, but without the need for all of the Renaissance skills I would develop later, all of my attention went into my poor kid. I also wasn’t, at that point in time, organized enough to stay home – you really have to be good at that! I would have had a much easier time of staying home once my son was older, as I’d figured out that I do *excellent* with schedules – but have to create them, and have to schedule in times for hobbies and baking, canning and gardening, etc. I think the Industrial Revolution really had a rather negative effect on the family as a whole. Living in a tiny town and working from home has truly taught me some of the skills I wish I’d had when my kid was small. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really does take a village, or at least a supportive community (and preferably a supportive family, as well) to do it well, I think. My mother managed it, with three boys (by the time I came around, she was an old hand at it… 😉 ), but she also lived in a time when there was much more societal support for both stay-at-home motherhood and homemaking, and she also had multi-generational support from both sides of the family – something else that is not as common as it used to be.

      I very much agree that “the Industrial Revolution really had a rather negative effect on the family as a whole,” and so did the combined technological and sexual revolutions of the 1960s and following: the overall result was to break the chance of “knowledge, skills, and abilities” that had been passed down for millennia, and the cultural ties that supported that transfer. Now, in many cases, young women who want to stay home (if they are even able to, financially) have an uphill road to climb… it’s sad.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes! Rather than detracting from motherhood, I think that this understanding (that “stay-at-home-motherhood” in the way we understand it is a modern concept) is extremely helpful and hopeful to mothers. I really love Wendell Berry’s thoughts on this in his essay “Feminism, the Body, and the Machine.” And, I appreciate John Cuddeback’s discussion of it as well, as he explores the importance of the household.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Amanda! I appreciate your kind words, and your thoughts. I like Wendell Berry very much, but I am not familiar with that particular essay – I shall have to correct that lack, and look up John Cuddeback, too! You’ve set me some reading, not that I’m complaining. 😉

      And by the way, I very much enjoy and appreciate your fine blog, as well.

      Update: I just realized that I have discovered John Cuddeback, quite recently, through his blog “Bacon from Acorns.” Good stuff!

      Liked by 1 person

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