Caryn: MomHelen so wisely comments in “Early Influences” that as Christians we should accept that Jesus accepts more than one type of mom and move on. Couldn’t agree more! But, since so many other people aren’t there yet, I think it’s hard to do that without a bit of a fight first (hence the Revolution).
You know, I was thinking the other day about how much I loved Jill Savage’s book, Professionalizing Motherhood. Her book totally opened my eyes and revolutionized my own thinking about how motherhood might look–a few years before I had kids.
In fact, I credit her–and that book–with bolstering my decision to stay home with my kids. I love that her whole “‘thing” has been to make being a mom–and all the roles and responsibilities that go along with it–into an actual profession, going so far as to start conferences–like other professionals have–to learn and “network” and just generally connect with fellow moms.
While Dorothy Sayers rightfully argued in “Are Women Human” that the Industrial Revolution robbed mom of “intelligent occupation,” by taking away much of the bread-winning work moms once did, Jill Savage’s book sets out a look at a very intelligently run motherhood. Albeit, one that still doesn’t come with a paycheck.
This may seem weird that a “revolutionary” mom would like a book so much that is targeted for the “traditional” mom so much, but I think it’s because Jill did revolutionize a view of motherhood. And I’m always up for that (as long as it doesn’t include neglect, cruelty, or something evil!).
Of course, as I flip back through her book now (just grabbed it off the shelf), I realize how little my life as an “at home mom” resembles the one she sets out. Really, it seems, I’m more of an amateur… But I’m good with that. Because I’ve tried to follow God’s call into other areas (as has she!) beyond motherhood.
So what’s my point? Who knows? I’ve totally got a bad cold right now and am having trouble thinking!
Wait, I think I’ve got one: That OF COURSE Jesus accepts all types of families (down the road, we’ll talk about the WONDROUS book, ‘Parenting Is Your Highest Calling’ and 8 Other Myths That Trap Us in Worry and Guilt, which addresses this beautifully!), and so do I. And we can each continue to learn from other models of motherhood. They’ve each got their strengths and weaknesses. And will until we can be moms in Glory (my new favorite word for heaven. Love it.)
Carla: I love the idea of professionalizing motherhood–up to a point. I think back to something I read in a book that I can’t remember the name of anymore that said what I had wanted to say for so long: that motherhood (parenting really) isn’t a job or a role or a calling. It’s a relationship. That’s why models and rules and ideals don’t work, why they frustrate us when we want so badly to make them work. But a relationship exists between two individuals, both of them unique and unpredictable. So while I agree that we can professionalize the work side of motherhood, I think we always need to keep that idea of motherhood as a relationship first and foremost. It’s what helps us see our children as people, not projects. And it also helps us retain a sense of balance. It’s never healthy to lose yourself in a relationship and the mother/child relationship is no different. Both people in that relationship have legitimate needs and hopes and desires. And both of them have to figure out how to meet those needs and live out those hopes and move forward with those desires in the context of that relationship.
I know you’re sick and this is probably going waaaaay over your snotty head. And I’m certain you (and Jill Savage) are not suggesting one view over the other. But as we revolt, this understanding of motherhood as a relationship will be one of our core values. How’s that for professional?
And Ron, thanks for chiming in. We’re glad to have you around.
Caryn: Thanks for bringing up the relationship thing. Someone mentioned that to me when I was researching my book, Mama’s Got a Fake I.D.: How to Discover the Real You Under All That Mom (coming March 2009, but if you pre-order now on Amazon, I will be your best friend!!!), that the thing that gets annoying about the mom identity is that we become known by our relationship, not as ourselves. So, again, nothing to do with what you just said–or that I said before, but what can I do? I’m now under the influence of Nyquil. Good night!