i was in church today when i read a flyer with this quote on it:
Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for. -Rachel Jankovic
my first thought was, wow, that’s so powerful and so true. i need to remember that more in my life–i should start putting my kids first more often.
and then i was like, wait.
first, a disclaimer: i don’t know who this rachel jankovic person is, and i honestly don’t have the time or desire to find out. i understand i’m not doing my bloggerly duty when i post an entry without having done an adequate amount of research, but it’s been a while since i wrote an uninvestigated, unfiltered rant on something, so i figure now is as good a time as any.
in case you don’t know me, some background: i have two children, ages four and two, and for the last four and a half years up till august, i was a stay-at-home-mom. since the end of august this year, i have been attending graduate school, working, and pretty much neglecting my housewifish and motherly duties–to a shameful degree, really–as i attempt to make something of myself. something having little to do with my family, other than that i would like for them to be proud of me. but i’m not deluding myself: i know going back to school is mostly about me, and i’ve come to terms with that. in other words, i’ve done the “dedicate self in entirety to family” thing, and now i’m doing the “must. talk. to. adults.” thing, so i’ve seen both sides of the coin. not to say that i’m any sort of expert on anything (other than which kind of skittles are the best–that, i have a lot of experience in), but i feel qualified enough to speak for myself.
and what does myself have to say? myself says that rachel jankovic has fallen out of the cuckoo tree, and maybe hit her head a couple (hundred. a couple hundred) times on the way down. i don’t disagree with the statement that motherhood is a calling. no indeed, i do not. it for sure is–for some women. for others, motherhood is a one-night stand, or an unexpected blessing that may have come from a tragic circumstance; an accident that turned out to be the best decision ever made, or perhaps a choice made on a whim. i don’t mind that rachel chooses to define motherhood as a calling for herself, but why must she make women who’ve stumbled onto motherhood in a totally different way to feel like they’re somehow failures?
and then she has to go and say that motherhood is “what God gave you time for.” and to that, i blow a huge raspberry. as far as i’m concerned, God gave us time on this earth to prove OURSELVES. and yes, part of proving myself in this life is doing right by my children, and i do agree with her that we will be held accountable for the way in which we raise our children. however, my children are separate people. got that? they are different human beings, rachel.
but the big no she di’int comes later in her post:
We should run to to the cross. To death. So lay down your hopes. Lay down your future. Lay down your petty annoyances. Lay down your desire to be recognized. Lay down your fussiness at your children. Lay down your perfectly clean house. Lay down your grievances about the life you are living. Lay down the imaginary life you could have had by yourself. Let it go.
there are so many things wrong with this paragraph, i’m not even going to try to make sense of it–i know that’s a major transgression in terms of persuasive writing (or at least that’s what i tell my students day after day), but i have enough faith in whomever reads this to at least understand where i’m coming from.
like i said, i don’t disagree with the basics here. i am with rachel in the sense that we should live more humbly, be happy with the blessings we’ve been given and strive to serve others. but what she’s talking about here is wholesale martyrdom, and i don’t know why that’s appealing to people, but it’s not what God is asking of us, at least not right now. perhaps there will be a time when i will be required to lay down my life for my faith, but that day is not today, and why would i want it to be? why can’t i relish the everyday that i experience right now, and hope that tomorrow will be even better–that i will get an A instead of a B+, that i will have time to clean my house, that i will fight less with my children? none of those improvements would come to pass if i were to “lay down my hopes,” as rachel suggests–my hopes are often the only thing spurring me on to be better, to be the best, which is what i want to be, whatever rachel jankovic might have to say about that.
i don’t know, perhaps i am misunderstanding or even willfully misinterpreting this woman, and if so, my bad. i’m not going to say i apologize, because i really don’t. i’m not sorry that i disagree with her, and honestly, i feel like i was kind of holding back, if only for the sake of trying to sound less biased than i really am. if i were being completely uninhibited, i would’ve just said “this is stupid” and left it at that. look at me, being all reserved and stuff. lawlz guys, i’m a grownup.