Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Privilege & Price of Motherhood

I'm reading this amazing book with two other women at church. The first chapter - oh my - good. BUT the chapter that made the entire book for me was the chapter on motherhood. I can't speak for the women I'm reading it with, but I believe they'd agree with me in recommending it for ALL women (married, single, children or without):

The part I liked the most so far (not because it was necessarily enjoyable) but it was the most convicting: The Privilege of Motherhood and The Price of Motherhood. I'd like to quote the entire section (it's seriously that good), obviously I recommend getting the book, but before I give more highlights from these two sections read this amazing quote:

Jani is dead on in her description of biblical motherhood and in my short few months at this job I fall short on a daily basis. She talks about self denial constantly and it's one piece of my life that must change. Also, she went to the heart of the matter when talking about giving up dreams. I struggle with that daily. I want to be home with my baby and I want to be in the classroom. (Ahhhhh so conflicting!) I find her writing so encouraging because it reinforces what I know deep down: that this is where God is calling me. That is why I like these two sections so much, because it brings to light aspects in which need work in my life and offers encouragement in order to be the mommy she describes: "In us [our children] experience what the world should be like." I love that.

Portions of the book I couldn't help but share...

The Privilege of Motherhood (p.112-113)
God is calling us women to embrace the privilege of maternal care. We will not hear this from the culture of convenience surrounding us. A woman is much more likely to be praised for her work in the marketplace than for her commitment to mothering. And if mothering is not honored, women will stop doing it. Today if a baby seems to be too great a burden, either financially or physically or emotionally, a woman may kill it in what should be the safest place this side of heaven, a mother's womb. Or, once it is born, she may throw it in the trash bin so she can get on with the important things in life - like attending the prom or satisfying her pubescent boyfriend.

Where are the women who will fearlessly surrender to the privilege of motherhood? Who will say, "My child's welfare is more important than my own convenience; I will give my child a sense of God; I will protect my child from evil and death; I will set the highest possible standards of honor and morality for my child to follow as I teach him the Bible, and one day I will send him out with a light in his soul to bless this darkened world?" What greater privilege could we have?

Your role in a child's life - whether it is your child or others around you - is invaluable. You can be the one to teach him to form intimate, emotional bonds with others. Your sensitivity, availability, devotion, affection, unhurried attention, and responsiveness are irreplaceable. You have the joy of creating an environment for discovery and growth and imagination. You have the privilege of training your child to resist the me-centered consumerism that engulfs our world today.

The Price of Motherhood (quotes taken from pages 113-126)

Second, will you pay the price of mothering? In Where Have All the Mothers Gone? Brenda Hunter cites numerous studies showing that every child needs someone to make an "irrational" commitment to him; someone who will be there when she is needed; someone who will not pack up and go home at 6:00 p.m. Additionally, this someone must love the child more than other people's children. Who can do this better than a child's own mother? Yet we hear the chorus swelling around us, "The care of children and home are inferior occupations. The marketplace is more rewarding. Find your worth there."

And so we face a decision. Don't let me heap guilt on your head if you must work outside your home will your children are young. I have been there, and I know how hard it is. I am writing about a decision that a working mom makes who has a choice to cut back and stay home with her children. Are we willing to give up the pluses of the working world for diapers, doctor appointments, feeding schedules, and hurried showers? We enjoy the affirmations of working outside the home - a paycheck, pats on the back, exciting challenges, and new relationships - and yet we know that our home life suffers all the while. We begin to realize that all the tangible successes in the marketplace can never mask the potent pull of mother love. But are we women enough to yield to this powerful force?

My friend Suzanne proves how much our children deserve our best. Suzanne is a creative, energetic, compassionate young woman who developed a sterling reputation as a student teacher and teacher's aide in a Chicago district where positions are highly coveted. She became a personal friend when she discipled our daughter, Krista, during Krista's high school years.

When Suzanne and her husband, Scott, had their first baby, they made the hard decision to have Suzanne leave the marketplace to mother full-time. What is the result? Five-year-old Tyler is an obedient, confident, bright boy - a joy to be around. And three-year-old Krista (our daughters namesake), is a secure, impishly tenacious, totally irresistible little girl. Both Tyler and Krista have strong wills and required hard work, patience, and untold sacrifices on the part of their parents. But if you could spend an afternoon with these little ones, as my family loves to do, you would see the imprint of their mother on them, and you would delight in it. Has it been easy? Definitely not. Suzanne has felt depleted, isolated, and financially strapped at times. But to her the price has been worth it. She could never replace those years with her babies, nor would she want to. How much value would any other success hold if she failed as a mother?

Someone is going to be influencing your child during those formative preschool years. Someone is going to be inculcating values and imprinting standards on that impressionable young soul. Let it be you. 

God's purpose for us as His daughters is not freedom from the difficulties of life. His goal is to make us like Christ, and through us, to mark our children with His beauty.


When we're struggling with the demands and responsibilities of motherhood, our deepest problem is not necessarily an insensitive husband, cranky kids, or a tight budget. Our deepest problem is our own resistance to total selflessness. It costs to serve. It's tiring and dirty and inglorious.

Are you struggling with your role as a mother-servant in your home? Are you resenting your kids? Are you fearful that life might slip through your fingers? Recognize your feelings for what they are: self-centered and unfaithful toward the God who called you to mother.


The highlighted phrases spoke to the core of who I am as a teacher, mother and wife. I need to read that every day, that my deepest problem is my own resistance to selflessness. My feelings are self-centered and unfaithful toward the God who called me to mother. I have to let it go and like Suzanne there are days, moments, points in time that I feel depleted, isolated, and financially strapped (I know I'm not alone). But I will reiterate Suzanne's ultimate feelings: the price has been worth it and I would never, not in a million years replace what I have with my Briella Bean. There is more value in God's eyes to be full time mother than a teacher. I have to constantly remind myself that. Constantly.

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