12 August 2006

Thoughts on mothering

Over at Genevieve Kineke's feminine genius, there's a wonderful thoughtful piece about the mother who seems to pride herself in being unable to tolerate the common tasks of motherhood.

Genevieve writes,
...she has a very good point. While mothers ooh and aah over many silly things for the sake of the child, there is the ubiquitous problem in our culture wherein the child is the centre of the universe and his ego is fed at the expense of teaching him authentic humility. Mothers are supposed to create a bridge between the child and his father, and ultimately between him and God the Father, Who says two things to each child simultaneously:

1. You are fearfully, wonderfully made and I adore you, My little creation; and

2. Repent! For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

A good mother's love will allow the child to understand unconditional (undeserved) love while teaching him humility, concern for others, and a sense of purpose.
When, after Genevieve considers some other aspects of it, she starts a new paragraph with:--
What this article screams between the lines is that this woman was not mothered.
...reading those words felt like a discovery. I wish she'd developed that thought more.

Genevieve finishes with this:
Her last defense shows her ignorance (despite a brilliant academic career):

All us bored mothers can take comfort from the fact that our children may yet turn out to be more balanced than those who are love-bombed from the day they are born.
If she only knew what true love was, she would never dare drop a remark like this. She, the apple of God's eye, surrounded by the breath of the Spirit, and entrusted to the loving care of an attentive angel, heaps scorn on "love-bombing." Perhaps if she would stop obsessing about her own accomplishments and hourly self-fulfillment, she would find time to lift her head and give thanks -- for being love-bombed by the Almighty, Who saw fit to bless her with these two boys.
Tempus fugit, my dear. Love is all that lasts.

It is not that mothers haven't felt this way at one time or another; for most, however, one can hope that it's a temporary state of mind, rather than something to write proudly about.

I don't think it's fair to pick on this mother. She's no philosopher. She reminds me of that line in the Deteriorata:--
Be assured that a walk through the oceans of most souls would scarcely get your feet wet.
Just because someone is "educated" does not mean they're wise, thoughtful or intelligent; in fact, it's a good bet that the more seriously they take their university degree, particularly in the liberal arts, the more likely it is that their natural sense of wonder and openness to simple joy is significantly, perhaps permanently, impaired.

While I read it, a word kept coming to mind: accedia. It's used to describe the state which sometimes descends upon monastics, but I think it can also apply to any of us in a vocation, even motherhood. However, as with most such states, the only way out is through. Dodging it, as the bored mother does, is often just a way to prolong one's needed soul-work.

I keep coming back to the idea that the bored mother was not mothered, herself... there's a lot to contemplate, there.

Dear God, please bless all mothers today, and particularly "love-bomb" that bored one. Bless her richly, Lord, as you know her heart. And, while you're working on her, please protect and guide her children. Amen.

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