A few days ago, an expecting college friend shared a blog post that resonated with her. Written by MRazzi, the post was all about the trend in Mommy blogs to grumble and complain about motherhood and generally make it appear like “the worst thing that ever happened to our lives.” The result is that as people go on to read about the terrors of parenthood, the trauma of birth, and the loss of all privacy/personal space, motherhood becomes less and less attractive by the second. Filled with fear that motherhood will equal the death of their life and all things pleasant, these women (influenced by said blogs and social media posts) put off the gauntlet, choosing instead blissful freedom and apparent happiness.
As I read first my friend’s post, then the blog entry itself, and then finally the comments on both, several thoughts suddenly clicked in my brain. There has been a lot of talk lately about feminism from all different quarters. Good conversations on the importance of women being treated with fairness and equality in both society and the workforce. Debates on what rights women should have with their own bodies and with that of another tiny human being. And amidst these discussions, all types of adjectives have been linked with this word feminism, from “radical,” to “liberal,” to “authentic,” to “pro-life.”
Part of the Problem
Yet in putting all of this together it suddenly occurred to me that we young mothers are part of the problem. For through our “mommy rants” and public sighs for the long forgotten days of freedom we have collectively sucked the joy and beauty of motherhood. There are increasingly large numbers of women (and men) who view marriage and motherhood as antiquated or another form of female bondage. For many feminists, motherhood (especially traditional stay-at-home motherhood) is viewed as a capital offense, negating the hard work of hundreds of courageous women who earned the right to vote, pursue a career, and choose the life that we want for ourselves. So when we bemoan our fate as mothers of little people, aren’t we furthering that image? Aren’t we furthering the negative misconceptions of motherhood?
Being Positive doesn’t mean being False
Don’t get me wrong. Motherhood is by far the hardest thing I have ever undertaken. I do feel exhausted often and, yes, sometimes often I feel like I’m failing. I’m not advocating for us mothers to become hypocrites, acting like we’ve got it all figured out. Because let’s be real, none of us has. And I understand that we women need to be able to share our struggles with others; to seek out wisdom from parents who have done it before us; to have the comfort of knowing that we’re not alone.
But we can’t do it at the expense of our vocation. Words are powerful things. Like ripples in a pond, their reach extends far beyond what we can see. This is especially true of the internet and social media. Typed into the electronic void, we have no idea who our words will reach or what effect they may have. This makes what we post as our Facebook statuses, share through Twitter and Instagram, and write through our blogs all the more important.
Sharing the Joy of Motherhood and not only the Struggles
Motherhood is hard, but so is everything that is worthwhile. It’s our biggest way of imitating Christ’s love, dying to ourselves and sacrificing ourselves in countless little ways each day. And for every cross or bad day, they are thousands of moments of pure joy and love. We need to make sure that we share those moments with the world because goodness knows the world needs more innocence and joy. Those endearing sayings from our children; those moments when your child begins to understand the sacred and you’re in awe thinking, They’re getting it; those moments when you feel your heart will burst with love.
We, all of us, need to restore joy to motherhood through our words and examples so that other women look at us and think, I want that. I won’t pretend that it’s easy to do. It will take lots of grace and lots of moments where we fail, but through Him all things are possible. And we need to imitate Mother Mary’s example because that’s how she lived her life, with joyful serenity and love.