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Time for Parenting...

...because raising children is a full-time job

October 2004 Newsletter

A time to every purpose; The value of motherhood in Islam; Christianity and Motherhood; A free family; The vocation of motherhood; The daycare debate continues; What the papers say

The Vocation of Motherhood

I am the mother of four children aged two to ten. I see motherhood as a vocation, and that is why I want to give it my "full time".

Both my husband and I are Roman Catholic and very committed to the Church: I think our shared religious sense makes a strong foundation for our marriage and allows us to trust - and love - each other at a very deep level. This helps us to create in our home a very solid, secure environment in which children thrive. They may not be CONSCIOUSLY aware of this, but they benefit from it.

I have often wondered how I would cope with the sorrows and grief one inevitably has to suffer and/or witness in life if I did not have a firm belief that God made us for more than just this life. I believe that my dear, beloved children were made for nothing less than Heaven, for eternal and unimaginable happiness, for Love itself. If I thought that the tangible world was all there is, then - in spite of all the beauty in it - I would question the meaning and even the point of bringing another life into it. I know these are big thoughts, but who does not have them, especially with the horrors we have recently seen on the news?

Daily aspects of motherhood are affected by faith too: Catholicism gives meaning to the small boring tasks of housekeeping and looking after the family; it encourages me to take pleasure in and give thanks for the good things in life, be they great such as my husband's love and my children's smiles or small like roses in the garden and a plate of good food!

In practical terms, being a Catholic family means praying together in the evening, a routine the children do appreciate, sometimes with enthusiasm and other times with resignation! Grace before meals gives us a strong identity as a family and the little ones do it so happily wherever they are, even making non-believers join in.

Religious considerations among other things made us choose not to have a television, which has improved quantity as well as quality of communication among all members of the family, and made the children more resourceful and imaginative.

We keep Sunday mornings for Church and are all involved in some way in the life of a vibrant parish community. Thanks to the firm and loving guidance of the Church I feel confident in teaching my children about right and wrong, and about handling the contradictory impulses in themselves. Confession is a very useful and healthy way of coping with failure and making a fresh start with an unburdened heart.

I could go on and on with the positive sides, but I feel I need to give the sober view too: being a Catholic requires a lot of effort, a lot of self-discipline, many sacrifices. Does that remind you of anything?! The same things are needed for motherhood!

I am bringing up my three girls and little boy to be Catholic because I believe this gives them the best chance of being truly happy and of knowing the real meaning of love. I know they will ultimately choose for themselves, as I have chosen for myself, but that does not absolve me from the responsibility of teaching them what I believe to be true.