Thursday, April 12, 2012

In Defense of Motherhood

The latest buzz in the media is Ann Romney, wife of Mitt Romney (the presumed Republican presidential candidate), being referred to as "old fashioned when it comes to women." Democratic strategist, Hilary Rosen, also said Ann Romney "has actually never worked a day in her life."
Ann Romney responded to Rosen's words by opening a Twitter account and tweeting, "I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work."

I am not writing about the issue of motherhood because it has become the latest battle ground between the Left and the Right. I am writing about motherhood because I believe it to be the single most important job a woman can have in her life. Women who choose to be a mother are taking on a 24/7 job for a few decades. Elizabeth Stone described motherhood beautifully with her quote... "Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body."

Motherhood is a daily struggle. It is a battle between self-serving and serving others. It is the ultimate laboratory of humanity. It is daily research into what works and what doesn't when raising up a responsible, productive, and loving human being. It is working to provide the best physical nutrition for growing bodies. It is cleaning house. It is finding the words to discipline, comfort, admonish, guide, and love a changeling who sheds growth stages like dirty clothes. It is keeping up with multiple schedules and activities. It is living on a budget. It is explaining the unexplainable. It is lack of sleep. It is rocking babies. It is laughter and tears. It is bandaging wounds. It is giving. It is worry. It is agony and amusement... despair and delight... heartbreak and hope...

Motherhood is a roller coaster of daily ups and downs. Successful motherhood includes failure. In order to succeed in mothering, the desire for success must be greater than the fear of failure. Never giving up is essential in child rearing. Children, in a sense, are a project. However, they are not a project to be thrown in the trash or scrapped because of lack of funding or lost interest. Children are the world's most valuable resource. Therefore, motherhood is the most important job.

I am blessed to be a mother. I am further blessed to be able to make the choice to stay at home. I am exceedingly blessed to have a loving husband who finds great satisfaction in providing for his family. A husband who gives me the freedom to choose to either work for money or to work for my family. A husband who is a terrific father.

I am not "old fashioned." I am educated by the world's standards... holding a Master's degree... However, I am in the middle of earning another degree. I currently attend the University of Motherhood. I have completed pregnancy, birth, infant development, and early childhood. I am now focusing my research and studies on the elementary childhood years and I am just beginning to learn about puberty. Every day I observe, gather information, and conduct experiments. Every day I am tested on my knowledge of what children require to grow into an independent adult. My laboratory is never closed. I also share what I have learned with other mothers. I am currently mentoring my sister. She has graduated from infant studies and is about to enter a year of toddler studies...

The issue of motherhood isn't about whether or not women should work outside of the home. I spent many years working for money. I spent many years pursuing my college degrees. I may enter the work force again and it might be out of necessity. My choice to stay at home should be respected. Stay-at-home mothers should be celebrated... not insulted. Mothers who must work for money should be supported and encouraged. All mothers are women and we must help each other. Motherhood is hard work... no matter the specific path it takes...

"A mother who is really a mother is never free."

-Honore de Balzac