Perceptions of parenting in contraceptive culture

January 19, 2007 | Birth Control, Motherhood | 30 comments

This week I’ve run into a bunch of posts on blogs, comments in forums, etc. where women discuss how hard it is to have children. Here’s an example:

*sigh* Oh yeah… overwhleming. Its hard not to have any free time. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by my two DD’s, they’re wonderful but so much work… the noise, the toys everywhere, the constant demands, the little sibling fights, etc.. I can’t remember the last time i had an hour to read a book or watch a TV show. I do love being a mom but sometimes i really look forward to when they’re older and I’ll go back to work. :-/ I try to rememer to enjoy this time since they’ll be little for only a short time. I know I’ll be happy in the long run… i just need to keep reminding myself of that.

I was surprised to feel a sense of disconnect with friends and other bloggers who wrote posts like the one above. I realized in trying to come up with something to say that I spend far less time thinking about the difficulties of being a parent than I used to, which is odd since my responsibilities as a parent have increased exponentially, and I’m never one to shy away from kvetching about whatever might be inconveniencing me.

It used to be second nature. In my family growing up, the topic of how hard it is to have children came up fairly frequently. My parents told me many times that while having kids is very rewarding, it’s the most difficult thing you could ever do (and they only had one kid!) Friends’ parents often echoed similar sentiments. As I child I was keenly aware of the great burdens of being a parent.

Up until my son was a little over a year old I also spent a fair amount of time pontificating about the heavy weight of motherhood. Not that I didn’t enjoy being a mother, but, like my parents and the woman who wrote the post above, the realization of how much had changed since my pre-kid days and how little free time I had and how much new responsibility I had were always in the back of my mind.

I noticed this week that over the past year and a half or so my thinking has changed. I definitely gripe about bad days here and there and have frustrating moments almost daily, but I give almost no thought to the downsides of simply being a parent and the lifestyle that goes with it. I’m much more at peace with every aspect of being a mother, including the challenges and inconveniences. Why is that? (Hint: it’s not because I’m just a peaceful person or a naturally good mother.) 🙂

I realized that my mentality changed about the time my stance on contraception changed. Once I saw marriage as going hand-in-hand with the creation of life, I realized that I’ll be open to the possibility of new life until menopause which, based on family history, will probably be sometime around age 47. I could be changing diapers when I’m almost 50.

As this new way of seeing my life and my marriage sunk in, I slowly started to think of diaper changing and “terrible two’s” and fussy babies and spitup and mystery Crayon stains not as a fleeting phase to grit your teeth and endure, but as part of life. Just like I don’t spend much time belaboring the disadvantages of being very tall, I no longer spend much time belaboring the difficulties of being a parent. Both are just part of life.

The human mind naturally agonizes more about challenging situations that we perceive to be changeable, temporary or within our control than that which we perceive to be permanent, part of life and out of our control. And I’ve really felt this to be true as I compare my new mentality about motherhood with my old. Again, I’ve always enjoyed being a mom. But back when I had a little clock ticking in my subconscious, counting the days until my last carefully-planned child would enter kindergarten and I’d therefore be finished with the baby/toddler phase, it was hard not be very conscious of all the downsides of this soon-to-be-over time of my life.

I’m interested to hear what others think. Do you think that our pro-contraception culture, in which children are carefully planned and each phase of childhood is fleeting, lends itself to making the little challenges of raising kids be more “felt, ” more painful? Or has there always been as much hand-wringing about the challenges inherent to parenting as there is now?

NOTE: We all know that the topic of parenthood in general, and especially comparisons of parents with differing philosophies, is a super hot hotbutton issue. Let’s make sure to remember that this isn’t about who is a good or bad parent, just a discussion of whether or not certain mindsets make the challenges of parenting more noticeable.

30 Comments

  1. Milehimama

    Parenting is challenging, but it is not *that* burdensome. Parenting with the expectations of life remaining unchanged from your childless past is extremely difficult. It’s hard to give selflessly when you are attending a pity party.

    Mama Says

  2. Anonymous

    Interesting thoughts.
    I see what you are saying and it makes sense. When one gets caught up in the cultural foundation, it really colors one’s perspective in subtle and pervasive ways. I have 2 children with disabilities, and I also initially thought a great deal about the challenges. As I moved out of that thinking and absorbed the pure, God-given joy of being a parent, the “burden” became less and less a part of my thinking. Certainly the challenges didn’t decrease, but my thinking did.

  3. Anonymous

    Oops – I mean my thinking changed – not decreased. – or maybe it did
    😉

  4. 4andcounting

    A contraceptive culture has led us to believe we should and do have control over that part of our life. So, when a couple plans a pregnancy and has it at the “right time” they feel they had control (at least to them) over when they conceived and took it as an indication they would have control over all aspects of parenting. Also, I think we are living in an incredibly selfish culture, and while people may have thought they were ready for kids, they weren’t ready for what a change it would be. We’ve been led to believe we can be happy all the time, and kids shake that up. At least in my opinion. It doesn’t help that we are constantly hearing how hard it is to be a parent, and then work on top of that, yet so many people feel they have to do it all.

  5. SmartBlkWoman

    The human mind naturally agonizes more about challenging situations that we perceive to be changeable, temporary or within our control than that which we perceive to be permanent, part of life and out of our control.

    Excellent observation. I also think that being on birth control ( as I am ) makes me worry more about the consequences of having sex and possibly getting pregnant. Your bound to be constantly reminded of not wanting to get pregnant if your taking a pill everyday to avoid it.

  6. Mike J

    > Do you think that our pro-contraception culture, in which children are carefully planned and each phase of childhood is fleeting, lends itself to making the little challenges of raising kids be more “felt,” more painful? < I think you’ve nailed a part of it. We’re a lot of whiners in the modern world. We like to be able to plan and control our lives. We’ve got loads of knowledge and technology to do it with. And we’re told that the way to live is with lots of forethought. Each event in life should be under our control and we don’t like it when that doesn’t happen. Kids have quite a tendency to disrupt that lovely, planned, organized, ideal life, like the folks on TV live. What’s interesting to me though is that whenever you see a fiction tale of a carefully planned society, it’s always a dystopia. (Think “Logan’s Run”, or “Brave New World”.) Seems to me like the things that enrich life the most are the things we can’t control. I’ve grown more from the hardships in life than from anything else. Raising kids has been one of those things that has not been as easy as June Cleaver made it look. I’ll admit it’s been hard at times; it’s taken away from other things I might have wanted to do; it’s caused me frustration. But I have four awesome kids now, and I wouldn’t trade a moment of getting here for any planned, gated community, country club life. So I admit it. Parenting has been inconvenient, and hard work, and frustrating, and time consuming, and so on. So what? I love it. And I’m NOT looking forward to “when it’s over”. I don’t want them to move out. I’d be thrilled if they got married, had kids and took over the basement. And I’d be quite happy to help with the grandkids. …. A few moments to take a nap and do some idiosyncratic, old man stuff would be appreciated though. > Or has there always been as much hand-wringing about the challenges inherent to parenting as there is now? < Only among the rich sorts like, Jane Austen wrote about. The rest were too busy living. Seems we have a lot more folks these days who need to get a life. I didn’t always think this way. I used to have the same “American Dream” visions as many others. But in the intervening years things happened and I had to deal with them. An interesting phrase caught my attention years ago. It comes from someone I don’t normally think of as wise. But in this case John Lennon nailed it. “Life is what happens to you while you’re making other plans.” Life blew my plans away. And I’m ever so glad.

  7. Barb, sfo

    DEFINITELY I think the 2 mindsets you mention go hand in hand.
    I love Milehimama’s point: It is hard to give selflessly when you are attending a pity party.

    The more I have come to appreciate my children for the gift they are, the more I have been able to handle the day-to-day with good humor and maybe occasionally grace! And thinking that my children are a gift does not mean that I never yell at them, never discipline them, give them everything they want. In fact, that would be treating the gift poorly!!!!

    Thank you for this post, and thanks to all of you who have commented. GREAT food for thought here.

  8. lyrl

    I also think that being on birth control ( as I am ) makes me worry more about the consequences of having sex and possibly getting pregnant. Your bound to be constantly reminded of not wanting to get pregnant if your taking a pill everyday to avoid it.

    That’s an interesting thought. I’m not sure it’s the “taking a pill every day” that causes it, though. I was more worried just using condoms than the pill, because my cycles are somewhat irregular and I would always be waiting… waiting… and worrying towards the end of my cycle. With the pill, the same nagging feeling, but at least it made the fake-period bleeding start at a predictable time.

    Fertility awareness makes me think about fertility (and therefore pregnancy) much more than the other methods I tried. All day long I’m asking myself, “how fertile do I feel?” (vaginal sensation). Everytime I urinate, I’m looking for fertility signs. I record my basal temperature every day.

    But the worry is so, so much less. I can see everyday that my body is working correctly, functioning like it should, and it’s an amazing thing. Even violating all the rules Catholics have (avoiding for selfish reasons, combining with barrier methods), I feel fertility awareness is one of the best things that ever happened to me.

    Sorry, Jen, to take off on a tangent like that – it’s difficult for me to resist raving about this subject.

    Your original post is very thought-provoking, and the comments as well.

  9. Joanne

    You make some excellent points. I also wonder if the “burden” of parenthood seems so difficult to many people is because they have little contact with young children before they have their own – contributing to unrealistic expectations. This was true for me. I was the first in my circle of friends to have a baby (I was 28!) and never babysat for young infants much. My only sibling is close to my own age so I don’t remember when she was little.

  10. Anna

    That is an excellent point about people not having contact with young children before they have thier own. Being the second oldest of seven, I had a lot of experience with babies and young children before I became a Mother and I draw on that experience a lot with my own children. I definitely had a better idea what it would be like to be a Mother than I would have if I had been a only child. I also have an excellent parenting resource to draw on in my Parents and a great support network in my siblings, who are all just a phone call away when I need them.

    Anna

  11. Catholic Mom

    I wrote a long piece on NFP here. My perception is that our contraceptive culture turns having children into an acquisition akin to a new car or a new house.This is why there is such a push for pre-implantation genetic testing or prenatal screening of all pregnancies for Down’s syndrome. No one wants a “lemon”. We are culturally prepared for the Kodak moments, the perfect Christmas cards, the school awards and honors. Kids are the perfect accessory to the perfect life. However, just like when the Corvette has to go into the shop and it costs a fortune to have it repaired (Not like I’ve ever really owned a Corvette) when the kids are barfing all night, or not making straight A’s, or messing up our manicures, the whole idea of parenting seems burdensome. However, when children are not an accessory, but rather the core of life, the barfing, school travails, and our less-than-glamorous motherly appearance on some days are just part of the whole fabric of our lives.

  12. Professor Chaos

    This is an interesting topic, Jen, and I’m not real sure there’s a simple answer. But for me, I just can’t understand when people talk about how “hard” it is to be a parent.

    Granted, I only have one now (so far) and she’s not even a year old yet, but there have, of course, been episodes of sleepless nights, exploding diapers, ear-piercing screams, projectile vomiting, etc, etc.

    You may have noticed in previous comments that I’m a pretty big fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I like to use sports analogies to an annoying degree, so here goes: Obviously I was elated when the Steelers won the Super Bowl last year. To say that parenting is “hard” because of episodes like the ones I mentioned above is like saying that it was “hard” to have the Stelers win the Super Bowl because the quarterback threw a couple interceptions, the defense allowed a touchdown, and the running game was effectively stifled.

    At the end of the day, will I ponder the things that went wrong in that victory? Of course not. They’re not even given a second thought.

  13. Jennifer F.

    Wow! Excellent comments. Thank you all.

    Milehimama: It’s hard to give selflessly when you are attending a pity party. Agreed. Although, sadly, I’m not sure if we agree in our culture anymore that giving selflessly is even the right thing to do.

    Joanne: I also wonder if the “burden” of parenthood seems so difficult to many people is because they have little contact with young children before they have their own. How could I have missed this? This is a big one. My husband and I had almost no experience with kids before our first was born — he’d never even held a baby!

    Professor Chaos: You have a rare grasp of the big picture. Do you feel like a lot of people you know see it the same way or are you in the minority?

  14. Anonymous

    In my experience, you are right: the contraceptive mentality is a part of the problem.

    I have been less then chaste in the near past. This means, in more explicit terms, I have lost my virginity with my then-boyfriend, when I was already a Catholic, and him a Catholic too. (Nowadays I am rethinking what I did, I must admit it is hard for me to repent fully, but sometimes I understand that if I find someone later on and marry that man, I will regret having been with another man. I am sometimes afraid I will never love again fully and purely as I loved this man). Well, as we both were virgins and had no STDs, we used only FAM (and sometimes withdrawal). I have always been open to life and pregnancy, even before I was a believer, but when I started using FAM and visited a message board of women using FAM (most of them non-Catholic and many of them unbelievers), I found it curious that, after a few months of FAM, most women did not think of a possible unexpected pregnancy as a disaster, but as a challenging, but happy, surprise. More: a significant part of them (though not all, of course), started re-thinking whether they really wished to avoid. Watching your fertility signs, knowing how everything works together so that one day you may become pregnant, makes you wish you do become pregnant. There’s something in seeing your fertility as a natural thing that you start to appreciate more.

    On the other hand, maybe another part of the problem is the prolonged adolescence that people live. Some of my friends (I am 30 years old) still live at their parents’ and don’t wish to leave and have an independent life (and even less a commited life, of course!), even though they earn three times what I earn (and I live by my own means). And no, they don’t pay rent to their parents… Of course, this means they have a lot of extra money to indulge in things they could not buy were they living by themselves. And a lot of extra time, having their mothers to cook, do the washing and the housework. And of course, if some day they do marry and have children, they will probably resent not having the extra time and extra money. I don’t have any of those extras. My money is short, and so is my time. I only have extra love, which I wish to give fully in a family. With puking babies, sleepless nights, and all. But also smiles, hugs, and maybe some day “I love you, mom”.

  15. Mike J

    > This is why there is such a push for pre-implantation genetic testing or prenatal screening of all pregnancies for Down’s syndrome. No one wants a “lemon”.< Have you ever seen Superman’s eyes just before he fires a blast of his heat vision? That’s what mine do whenever I read about things like that. Did you know that 95% or more of all children diagnosed with Down’s are murdered? “Well, I don’t want hardship. i don’t want an imperfect child. So break out the knives and vacuum hose. And toss the remains in an incinerator.” Pardon me. That stuff just really blows my gaskets. BTW, I’m not so sure it’s our contraceptive culture. I think it’s our abortion culture that is the real source of seeing kids as inconvenience. Hell, how much more self-centered can you get than, “It’s a bother, kill it.”?

  16. Jennifer F.

    Have you ever seen Superman’s eyes just before he fires a blast of his heat vision? That’s what mine do whenever I read about things like that.

    You and me both. It is just so sad when children are seen primarily as a lifestyle accessory.

    BTW, I’m not so sure it’s our contraceptive culture. I think it’s our abortion culture that is the real source of seeing kids as inconvenience.

    I feel pretty strongly that abortion culture is a direct result of the acceptance of contraception. See point #2 in this post I wrote a while back. Also, I talked about it in this post, which started a series of pretty heated debates on the subject.

  17. Catholic Mom

    mike j: I hope you could tell I was writing the words of the contraceptive culture and not my own opinions which are far different!

    Jen: Pope Paul VI predicted that contraception would result in a lowering of moral standards, increased promiscuity, and even abortion in Humane Vitae. Unfortunately, he was far too accurate.

  18. Anonymous

    Jen…I think that change in thinking is attributed not only to your change in views of contraception but perhaps age and maturity. I know that there are women of all ages that gripe about the “burdon” of children and the loss of “me” time. I think we see more of that because of the “me, me, me” culture. I guess it’s hard for me to really put what I’m trying to say into words.

    I never had that “I have to have a baby” feeling. I never get “baby-itis” now. However, I love my two children and I’ve made sure that I enjoy every minute I can with them as they were growing up. Being a mom was hard, but it was the best thing in the world.

    Perhaps, today’s generation of parents as a majority are just more selfish?

  19. Renee

    I had my first child before owning a home or stuff. All my husband and I had was a futon on the floor, many people worried but in reality it made parenting much easier because we never had a lifestyle prior to children. My parents were the same way when they had their first, it is when you have all the bells and whistles of a lifestyle it makes it harder.

    After every child I tell myself, I never can do it again, but things change and your heart and your mind opens up to the idea. The idea four or more scares me, but my third is still eleven weeks old. I find by the time my children are off formula and onto milk and can sleep through the night my heart changes on the subject.

    When deciding not to have sexual relations during my fertile phase of my cycle, it has to be a dilberate action and accept personal/method failure rates. The contraception mentality takes away the conscience decision making one has to make before making love to accept the possibility of children. If contraception is going to fail, it is going to fail when your body is trying ovulate or ovulated.

  20. Mike J

    Jen: Thanks for the reading. I’ll enjoy mulling it over.

    CatholicMom: Don’t worry. I knew those weren’t your opinions. I’ve seen enough of your posts (and peeked in on your blog). 🙂

  21. Professor Chaos

    Professor Chaos: You have a rare grasp of the big picture. Do you feel like a lot of people you know see it the same way or are you in the minority?

    Thank you for the compliment. I tend to think most people look at it the same way, but that view is probably skewed by the fact that I tend to not associate with the types of people who would think otherwise. While I’d like to think that people who feel the way I do are in the majority, I’m just not sure.

  22. Radical Catholic Mom

    I have been thinking about this post all day & the only comments I have to share are from my own experience.

    First: I am an NFPer.
    Second: I am a stay at home mom.
    Third: I can relate to this woman. Have I fallen victim to the contraceptive mentality? According to you all, yes. According to me, I am not so sure I agree with you.

    Is it selfish to wish you had free time? To be able to sit in your car without a crying baby everywhere you go? To be able to have alone time? According to you all, yes it is selfish.

    Frankly, I think it is a HUMAN need to have alone time away from others. Even Jesus Christ Himself took time away from people for 40 days at a time! Was He, the Son of God, selfish? I don’t think so.

    I have found that I am a MUCH happier and calmer and patient mom and ENJOY my daughter much more by ensuring I have alone time. I do not sacrifice 100% of myself for another human being. I did that at the beginning and I realized I resented my baby daughter. Not good.

    Even my daughter gets sick of me by the end of the day. She is so happy to see her dad when he comes home and tends to spend the rest of her time with him after he arrives.

    What has helped me remain happy and free of resentment are 1)Supportive husband who takes care of the baby at night and gives me a break 2)Realization that time flies by and whatever is irritating me at the moment will not last forever 3)Making daily time for Me. I pray, blog, read, whatever, without another human being around.

    But I can COMPLETELY understand how easy it is to resent the lack of alone time one has. It is the job of the person to place boundaries and make sure everyones’ needs, including mom’s needs, are met.

  23. proud to be an atheist

    Mike J said “Hell, how much more self-centered can you get than, “It’s a bother, kill it.”?”

    Have you ever been with a woman in that position, or known someone that had to decide what is best at the time? As I have said in a previous post, I took all precautions to not have another child because I was planning on leaving my husband who was abusive. I already had 2 boys ages 2yrs and 8 months old. I had an IUD inserted a few months after my second son was born and it came out on its own (I was not aware of this). This is supposed to last for 10 yrs unless I have it removed. I found out 6wks after leaving him that I was pregnant. I was living at home again with two little kids and no job. I was not about to bring another baby into the world that would have to put up with an asshole for a father. By the way, the sex was not consentual!

    You have no idea what it is like to be in that position. It is not a decision most women come to lightly. It’s not like they wake up and say, “oh, I’m pregnant, I feel like an abortion today”!

    To me, this is pathetic…
    “Passed by the state legislature last month and scheduled to go into effect July 1, the law bans all abortions except when the life of the woman is at stake. To the rest of the women in his state (South Dakota)– including survivors of rape or incest, or women whose health or fertility are at risk — Rounds sent the message that “government knows best” when it comes to family formation decisions”.

    So what of these poor children and women that have been molested or raped? Are they supposed to just suck it up and have a baby that was created from an attack? That is just f*cked up to expect any girl or woman to go through something so horrific and be okay with it. Not too long ago in Az., there was a 9 yr old girl raped by an ice cream man which her family knew. He got her pregnant, do you want her to continue on in the pregnancy? Is that a gift from your God? If that is a gift, your God has one sick sense of humor.

    http://www.now.org/press/03-06/03-06.html

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/22/AR2006022202424.html

  24. Martin

    Even in the “tough cases” of rape of incest, abortion really isn’t the answer to make things better. The child has no control over who his parents are and it isn’t his fault. Should the child be forced to forfeit her life so that her mother can feel better? A rape that results in pregnancy directly involves three people: the rapist, the victim, and the child. The victim should be helped, and the rapist should be punished. But to say the child should be killed is to punish the wrong person.

  25. Radical Catholic Mom

    I am sorry for what you went through ProudtobeanAtheist. It must have been a very difficult time for you.

    The tragic part about abortion, though, is that society is not forced to change. Like in your situation, you mention you had no job, had just left your abusive husband and had 2 other children. Which all means you felt you had no way to support your kids. Why are there no social services to seriously help someone in your shoes? There are some, but not nearly enough to pay all the bills and provide daycare. Not to mention, it sounds like you needed emotional support at the time. So you felt the only way out was to kill your baby.

    And guess what? There are still no social services, no changes and women are still aborting their kids in desperation. Women AND children will continue to bear the brunt of injustice until the time women say “no more!”

    The goal should be social justice change. Killing the kid only causes a death, makes the woman feel guilty, and relieves your husband and society free to do whatever they want.

  26. Mike J

    Anon:

    First a couple clarifications relative to two misunderstandings in your comments.

    1- Regarding your query, “> Is that a gift from your God? If that is a gift, your God has one sick sense of humor.< " I’m an atheist/agnostic. So that’s not a gift from any deity as far as I know. 2- The post of mine that you’re responding to, addressed the fact that >95% of the time, when someone finds they are carrying a baby with Down Syndrome, they abort it. That is what I was raving about. Not rape, etc.

    Now, relative to the rest of your points.

    > Have you ever been with a woman in that position, or known someone that had to decide what is best at the time? < Yes. I have. > So what of these poor children and women that have been molested or raped? Are they supposed to just suck it up and have a baby that was created from an attack? < If the pregnancy does not threaten their lives, yes. I do NOT minimize the ugliness of the situation. It’s a burden no one should ever have to have. Sadly though, it happens. But now please look at it with a different set of eyes, via a rephrase of your questions.
    “What of these poor children that have been created by an attack? Are they supposed to just suck it up and die?”

    I can’t escape my understanding of a baby in the womb as a living human. And as a consequence I can’t condone snuffing out the child’s life because of someone else’s crime or suffering.

    That said, I can easily view the attacker as sub-human, and I would condone snuffing the SOB’s life out. And I do view the victim as deserving every help we can give, and I would condone much more effort in that direction.

  27. Jennifer F.

    Radical Catholic Mom –

    But I can COMPLETELY understand how easy it is to resent the lack of alone time one has. It is the job of the person to place boundaries and make sure everyones’ needs, including mom’s needs, are met.

    I actually completely agree. So much so that I have an entire other website dedicated to it. 🙂 I should have distinguished the two issues better. I think that the unnatural, modern situation of being the sole caretaker for your children 24/7, having no help, not being able to send your kids outside to run around with neighbors for hours at a time, not ever having any other adults nearby for conversation or to hold the baby for a second now and then, etc. is crushingly difficult.

    I think, though, that there’s something going on here even when you set those issues aside. For example, when my parents and friends’ parents would opine about how hard it is to be a parent, we were like 10+ years old and each family only had one or two kids and was firmly in the middle (or upper-middle) class. Yet they still thought it was *so* hard to have kids. I’m not saying that there were no difficulties, but that they were acutely aware of them. And I think that, if they saw having kids as just a natural part of married life, it wouldn’t have seemed to tough.

    But, again, part of it is that raising kids in our highly mobile society, without a close-knit, lifelong community around you, is super difficult. And that is a big part of the problem. I talked about it in this old post. There are some changes I’d like to make to some of my statements there (e.g. I should have stipulated that it certainly is easier physically these days), but it’s a rough summary of my thoughts on the subject.

  28. Tina

    I keep coming back to something my mother said to me a few months ago.
    ‘The road to holiness is long’

    The fact that God made me a woman is not inconsequential. The fact that I am made to be disposed to bear children is not an accident of biology. The fact my ‘super-power’ is lactating and that I am therefore the logical choice of primary care-giver is not just about a matter of not wanting to pump.

    God made me to worship Him and to someday be united in eternity with Him. However, I was also born with the stain of original sin and the gift of free will to overcome my fallen tendencies.

    Because God made me a woman who is fertile, gave me the vocation to the married life, and wants me to spend eternity with him, I have to assume that the daily realities of my state of being a married woman are the best path for me to achieve holiness. Not that I can by myself, but I have the obligation to do my best.

    Parenting gives me the opportunity to strip away my selfishness and pride. It gives me the chance to praise God for His wonderful creations and blessings, my children and husband. It gives me the gift of falling on my knees to beg for His grace and mercy.

  29. Literacy-chic

    Chiming in very, very late: you don’t have to read far into literature to see that the burden of motherhood has been around for a long, long time. Feminism has made this a bit worse, both by rebelling against motherhood and by designating “motherhood” as an unalterable, all-defining “state of being,” even while it claims to promote the idea that mothers are versatile individuals. So I blame the notion that “motherhood” is restrictive, that “mothers” are different from other women because their focus is always on their children. It’s the self-sacrificing mother archetype with additional baggage. It’s the idea that the mother lacks a “self” that is distinguishable from her care for her children. And whatever you think about what a mother’s responsibilities to her children are, you have to admit that she is separate from those responsibilities–thinking different things, for example, enjoying hobbies, learning and growing as a person. At least, ideally. There are mothers who do not fit this description, as there are women who are not mothers who do not fit this description. They merely have failed to develop their sense of self sufficiently, which is separate from motherhood altogether.

  30. Literacy-chic

    Less philosophically, I was never led to believe that parenting was a burden–except when my mother wanted to guilt-trip us–and was always taught that you need to take what life sends as best you can without whining. It’s pretty much guided my own acceptance of motherhood, and I never intended to have children, until becoming pregnant at 19!

Connect With Me On Social Media or Explore My Site

Categories

Archives

Podcast Highlights

Each week I post highlights from my SiriusXM Radio Show.  Listen here or subscribe on your favorite podcasting app.
Apple | SoundCloud | Feed
Player.fm | PodBean | Acast