Motherhood as a vocation

As I type this, it’s just past 6am and still dark outside. Our house is quiet except for the clicking of the laptop keyboard. CJ woke up at 5am to nurse and I decided to just stay awake and enjoy some time to myself- a rarity this days!

I have some thoughts swirling around in my head about motherhood but am having a hard time expressing them the way that I want to. Specifically, I’ve been thinking about how motherhood fits (or doesn’t fit) into the plans I once had for my career. This quote that I read several weeks ago has been stuck in my mind:

“How we choose to focus our priorities and time in light of our children’s lives will have great consequences not only for their individual futures but for the future of our society as well. … Children do not accidentally become righteous leaders or emotionally healthy and productive adults, any more than seeds thrown randomly to the wind grow to be part of a thriving garden. … Someone needs to take responsibility for their nurture, protection, nourishment, intellectual development, manners, recreation, personal needs, and spiritual development. Someone needs to commit time and energy into staying close to them as they grow, encouraging and correcting and teaching.” -Sally Clarkson

Josh and I personally arrived at the decision that during this season of life, I would primarily stay home to care for the boys and then work at the hospital a couple weekends per month. I feel incredibly grateful to be able to be home with our kids, and I realize it is such a privilege to do so. I have a ton of respect for mamas who also work outside the home and I genuinely don’t know how they do it! Sometimes I wonder if I just don’t have as much capacity as others seem to, but I am coming to accept that this is how God wired me and, as we all know, “comparison is the thief of joy.”

In retrospect, it is so funny to me that I thought I would be able to just squeeze in motherhood in the margins. Now that I have children I realize it is a full-time job and then some. It demands your entire self- emotions, attention, heart, soul, and body. It is a sacrifice, but a beautiful one. I used to think that being a mom and raising children was some sort of side hustle, like a hobby you enjoyed once the “more important” work of making money and contributing to society was done for the day. Now I understand how much motherhood does contribute to society, and while it doesn’t make money and therefore is not as highly esteemed in the eyes of the world, it is an immensely valuable and worthwhile endeavor.

I am learning to view motherhood as my vocation: the way that I am currently and primarily being called to contribute to human flourishing in the world. There are many days where I resist this and tell myself that my time would be better spent elsewhere- somewhere less messy, more structured, and with a paycheck. In my heart of hearts, though, I know that dedicating my full self to raising our boys is exactly what God has for me right now, and there is a beautiful sense of peace that comes with that. As with any vocation there are difficult days and fun ones, sweet moments and ones you’d rather escape. I have decided, though, that I’m here for it all, and that feels good.

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