According to the articles I read by Money Magazine and Forbes, moms are worth about $118K a year. In spite of the (imaginary) good money, at times over the last few weeks, with illness and sleep-deprivation gnawing through me, I have been swept over by the thought, “I quit.” I have texted Brendan with tears in my eyes, blurring the letters as I type, “I need to quit this job.” I think most moms have felt that way, at least a few times. It’s like being stabbed which a pitchfork- so many different points of pain in the statement. I am discouraged by whatever made me say it in the first place; I feel guilt over saying it, and I know that quitting is not an option (a notion that makes it safe to say the words, but leaves me feeling scared and trapped.)
I think we begin to look at motherhood as a job because paid employment is our society’s version of measuring how much somebody matters. Employment is also a predominant source of “fulfillment” (whatever that might mean). Typically, when I am wanting to “quit my job,” it is because I have begun to look to my state of motherhood for worth and fulfillment, or because I am angry that I’m not getting that $118K. True, motherhood does and can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment, and some women are more cut out to enjoy the “job” part of it than others. The trouble, though, is that the product of parenting, our children, are unpredictable and a decidedly long-game. They can’t be counted on to accurately reflect our work! Motherhood can be broken into its tasks- childcare, cooking, cleaning, chauffeuring, bookkeeping, communications management, etc. But, is that really what it’s about? No, those are means to an end, and that’s a good thing because that is a long list of categories in which we can fail!
Thankfully, what we are called to do is love and teach our children to know what is true and how to love. It’s Jesus who has made our lives worth living and having and made giving life to and maintaining our children worthwhile as well. I have decided to quit thinking of motherhood as a job, something at which to succeed, but rather a daily means to show faith and love to God and to my people, who are really HIS people. “Mom” isn’t just a line on our resumes; God weaves motherhood into our being. It’s not ALL of who we are, but it becomes a pretty large part of it. It leaves scars on our bodies, and irrevocable marks in our hearts. And, most importantly, leaves human beings, eternal souls with whom the Lord can work. They are priceless.