The Inexpressible Value of Motherhood

Edel Neufeld

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“Mama.” For most of us, it was the first word our tongue learned to formulate. And with good reason. It was mama’s heartbeat and voice that we recognized at birth. It was mama who walked the floors in the wee hours of the night–rocking, swaying, singing–until we drifted off in peaceful sleep. Mama’s kiss was the cure for all our scrapes and bruises. She was the first person we toddled to in the mornings, and it was her touch that settled us down at night.

In the animal kingdom, the offspring often loses all connection with and need of its mother when it reaches independence. But it is not so with us. All our lives, we retain an unbreakable bond with our mother. And in distress, regardless of our age, we instinctively seek her comfort and aid. George Floyd’s last moments serve as a poignant reminder of this. Even at forty-six years, when he lay on the hard, concrete street taking his final breaths, he found strength enough to utter a heartbreaking cry for his “momma.”

Oh, mothers, how inexpressible is your value! How desperately we need your high calling!

When we truly recognize the incomparable value of motherhood, we groan at the sight of the devastating attacks against this high calling for women. Motherhood has largely lost its value in today’s society. Women face tremendous pressure to pursue a career, a cause, a hobby–something besides mothering. You see, it is not enough to be “just a mom.”

In the 1960s, Betty Friedan wrote, “Each suburban wife struggles with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffeured Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay beside her husband at night she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question– ‘Is this all?’” The author of The Feminine Mystique then continued to write that homemaking women are prisoners in “comfortable concentration camps.”

Quite possibly, most women of today have never read her book and many might not even recognize Betty Friedan’s name. Nevertheless, the thoughts expressed in her book have so permeated our society that we feel the effect of her words even now. Society pities the woman whose main identity is being a mother and homemaker. It is not particularly admirable to be simply a good mother. But if said mother can add to her name a PhD, a well-paid position, or an activist role in some cause, she is regarded with much more esteem. It is no wonder then that nearly three out of four women will seek employment outside of the home, leaving millions of children in the care of others for the majority of the day.

When motherhood is devalued, so are the children that need the mothering. No longer are children seen as precious little beings who bring their caregivers incomparable fulfillment and joy. But rather, children are “kids,” “brats,” “little monsters”– inconveniences, a source of stress, disrupters of freedom and pleasure. Around the world, 125,000 abortions every day attest to the fact that society no longer values their children.

If only it were possible to change the mind of our society! If only every man and every woman could see the incalculable value of each child! If only every mother would feel in her depths the high honour bestowed upon her the moment a babe begins its life in her womb; if only she would realize the unparalleled fulfillment that motherhood offers.

But the joys and satisfaction of motherhood are not guaranteed the moment a babe is placed in its mother’s arms. Neither will becoming a stay-at-home mom automatically yield motherhood’s plentiful enjoyment and gratification. Yet what delights await the mother who truly realizes the value of motherhood and becomes a mother indeed! It is when she allows herself to fall into her role of a mother, without reserve and with full dedication, that she will find motherhood the most worthy career she could have chosen.

When mothering is a side job, a to-do list in life, given only enough time to accomplish the bare necessities, mothering loses all of its beauty. But when she pours passionate love for her children into everything she does, she finds that suddenly all the menial tasks of motherhood–such as making beds, shopping for groceries, matching slipcover material, eating peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffeuring Cub Scouts and Brownies– are the very things that fill her heart with overwhelming joy and deep fulfillment when she lies beside her husband at night.

Mothers, do not allow yourself to be robbed of your high calling! Don’t yield to the influence that is trying to make you feel less accomplished or valued if your walls do not display a framed master’s degree. Embrace motherhood. Embrace it all–the menial duties, the repetitive training, the hardships. Soak it all up–the cuddles, the new discoveries, the innocent laughter, the pure love of a child. It is when a mother sacrifices her all for the benefit of her child that she realizes that in doing so, she has benefited herself just as much in the end.

But the benefits of wholehearted motherhood reach far beyond each individual mother and child.

Our society has suffered beyond measure since motherhood has been so blatantly attacked in the last century. Multitudes of children have been raised primarily with the help of daycare and the public school system. The effects are heartrending. How many crimes, teenage pregnancies, addictions, and suicides–how much anxiety and depression–could have been prevented if the children had known a loving, devoted mother was waiting for them at home, ready and able to help them through the treacherous journey to adulthood?

Mothers, it is time to realize your indispensable value and the awesome responsibility placed upon you. The hearts of your children cry out to you. They are in desperate need of your unwavering love, your faithful guidance. A broken society cries out to you. We need your fierce mother nature to protect us from Satan’s assaults. We need your healing touch, your wise counsels, your sacrificial labours. Our tomorrow largely depends on the mothers of today. Oh, mother, can you ignore the call placed upon your life?

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