Friday, August 20, 2010


When I was sitting at the registration desk at the hospital last week answering all sorts of personal questions, I didn't realize it was coming. The registration lady looked up at me and said, "And you are still...[sneer, cough] unemployed?" In the next few seconds I moved from shock, to wanting to argue, to sheepishly and defeatedly murmuring "yes".

When did the idea of motherhood go down the toilet? I mean seriously it wasn't that long ago that women were praised for choosing mothering. Why do we have to feel bad about the fact that we choose our children? Sometimes it's at class reunions, or if we "only" do day care or work part-time, or because we take days off so they can be at our child's school activities instead of off enjoying ourselves that women are made to feel like second-class citizens from loserville when they make their family a priority.

I borrowed "Walk the Line" from a movie loving friend of mine. I thought Mike would like it but it was too "slow moving" for him. I was intrigued with the Cash's family life. And I openly admit, I have a problem becoming obsessed with biographies. When I started reading the Little House books to Jenna, I read nine Laura Ingalls biographies in six weeks. It's weird I know. I already have more biographies on reserve.

Anyway, at the library I saw a biography by one of Johnny Cash's daughter and read it. In it she writes of both her mom and step mother as women who loved being mothers. All the other things they had done in life did not compare to their job as being a mom. I was especially captivated by her eulogy for her stepmother, June Carter who had a lot of fame and success in her life. Rosanne Cash writes:

"Recently, a friend was talking to her about the historical significance of the Carter Family, and her remarkable place in the lexicon of American music. He asked her what she thought her legacy would be. She said softly, "Oh, I was just a mother."
Composed, Rosanne Cash page 163-164 c. 2010

I have a friend that gave up her big career to stay home with her children. Just as she was going back to work a decade later, she was diagnosed with cancer. As her cancer returned and the battle raged on, our ECFE teacher said something interesting to me. Something like, I bet she doesn't regret those years she spent with her kids. That was pretty striking. No one can see the future. We don't know how much time we have. Do you think that she would look back from her cancer bed and wish she had spent more time in her career? Or that her kids wished they would have had more material things growing up and less of their mother? Yeah, I don't think so either.

Sometimes I wonder what I would have turned out like had I not become a mother. I was always pretty headstrong and had big ideas, big dreams. Maybe I would have had a great career and risen to stardom in something. I could have become a doctor or a wall street tycoon or a T.V. personality. Maybe I would have had a great legacy to leave the world.

Becoming a mom changes things. Once you have a baby it seems your heart is walking around outside your body. It's more fragile, fearful, faithful and vulnerable. It can easily be shattered, scattered and tattered. But it's also more tender, loving, caring, compassionate and courageous than it could ever have been before.

Mothering is an important job. It's important for our families and our society. Mothering is humbling and sacrificial. It requires great amounts of service. And that makes me think it must be important to Jesus because that's how He lived His life. He willingly surrendered himself for our sake on the cross. And let me just say that if it's important to Jesus, then it's important.

I like to think I don't need anymore validation or encouragement than that. I don't need a legacy beyond what I give to my children. The mission to pour our lives into our kids, to take them on outings, be involved in their lives and maybe spend days off reading to a bunch of fifth graders is not a wasted effort or an unimportant pursuit. It is what God made us for. I'm so glad He did.

But what do I know? After all, I'm unemployed.


Sarah, Nathen, Aiden, and Evan said...

Brillant post!!! You are not unemployed you I'm sure work very hard to raise future presidents, teachers, social workers, and maybe even "just moms" oh and you do it for FREE only benifit is knowing you are doing what God wants you to:)

Shan in Japan said...

Yes, mothering is an incredibly important career! Even as a woman who is not a mother, and most likely will not be, I believe that being a mom is the most important thing a woman can do. Those of us who are not have other important things to do for God, but, I'd like to think that if I were in your shoes, I'd do the same thing.

Peter and Nancy said...

I read a really funny answer to that question -- the mom said she was a consultant in the field of child development, and spent a lot of time in the lab with her subjects. :o)
Your fellow child development expert,