The Personalist Project

Accessed on December 04, 2022 - 2:55:36

Women, Work, and the Mommy Wars (continued.)

Kate Whittaker Cousino, Jan 30, 2018

The propensity of some to confuse vocation and occupation and spiritualize particular kinds of domestic productivity just increases the angst women carry about work and motherhood. 

Motherhood is a vocation, but it is a personal vocation. It is a vocation to love and educate the individual, real, distinct children in your home. Marriage is a vocation to union with a particular, real, individual, incommunicable person. 

Both "homemaking" and economic work ideally support our vocation and serve the families we have. Because we are all different people with unique skills and weaknesses, needs and strengths, there are almost endless variations in what this might look like in individual families. 

It's a mistake to act as though only one person in a family makes the home a home. Your house is a home by virtue of the life you live in it, and every family member contributes to that. A mother isn't more or less a mother because of the role she plays in or out of the home. Her motherhood comes from her relationship with those God has given into her care. A father isn't more or less a father because of the role he plays in or out of the home. His fatherhood comes from his relationship with those God has given into his care. 

We don't need to "defend" motherhood or fatherhood by assigning distinct tasks to each. Motherhood and fatherhood are already distinct because we are embodied persons. Everything I do is done in and through and as a female body, including my motherhood. 

So a man who is primary caregiver? Hes not "Mr Mom." He's a father.

And a woman with children who works outside the home isn't usurping a father's role. She's a mother, loving the children she has and making a home for them according to her skills and their needs.

Can we fail as mothers and fathers? Make bad choices? Let ego or desire for recognition push us to neglect the good of our spouses and children?

Of course. 

We can lose ourselves and our families to our insecurities and need for outside validation of our work--or of our homes--and our choices. 

Or we can seek to love the families we have with the gifts God gives us.

And we can rejoice that, like snowflakes, God delights in making each person--and each family--a unique reflection of His love.