Good morning, friends! I am under the weather with a sore throat and trying to avoid my nemesis, Tonsillitis (hence the quiet on the blog this week). But luckily, sweet Nicki is here to save the day with a guest post, so enjoy!-Haley
This is a guest post by Nicki of Full Hands, Happy Heart.
In case you missed it, “Our ‘Mommy’ Problem” was an opinion piece published recently in the New York Times about how women lose their individual identity when they become moms.
It caused quite a stir in the online community with many women agreeing with Heather Havrilesky’s lament of her pre-motherhood identity and lifestyle.
If you’ve read anything I’ve written (including my post with the exact title she snarikly admonished at the end of hers), you can probably guess that I, on the other hand, didn’t relate to the “problem” written about in the article.
I don’t particularly mind being referred to as “mommy”, nor do I consider parenting an “increasingly high-stakes game”. Most importantly, I do not agree that I’m “still the same underneath it all.”
I don’t know about you, but motherhood did change me. I am not the same person I was before I became a mom, just like I’m not the same person I was before I became a wife. And I’m grateful for that.
But I don’t disagree with the NYT piece entirely. Especially when Heather writes :
“Motherhood has been elevated — or perhaps demoted — to the realm of lifestyle, an all-encompassing identity with demands and expectations that eclipse everything else in a woman’s life.”
So, what is it that is often included in the “everything else” that gets eclipsed by our identity of motherhood?
Ourselves, sure. But also, our spouses. That, in my opinion is the real “problem.”
Time and again, I see women – myself included – focusing so much on our vocation (little “v”) of motherhood, that we forget that our actual Vocation (big “V”) is to marriage.
Through the grace of our baptism, we are each called to a particular vocation. And Pope Francis reminds us that marriage is a real vocation, just like priesthood and religious life.
Marriage is a sacrament, a way for us to participate in the Trinitarian life, a path to holiness. And when I received this sacrament, I made vows to my husband.
To be certain, women are also called to motherhood (all women, not just those who become mothers by birth). And by answering our call to the vocation of marriage, we open ourselves to the life that results from our union.
But that’s an important point to remember; that my children are the fruit of – not the reason for – my marriage.
I love my children. They are wonderful blessings, and I am so incredibly grateful to be their mom.
I’m sure that you feel the same the way, which is why it’s so important for us to remember that our identities as the mothers of our children should not eclipse everything else in our lives. Especially not our relationships with our husbands.
For not only is it the love we share with our husbands, the union of two flesh into one, that resulted in the beautiful gift of our children and our chance to embrace the role of motherhood to begin with, but it is also our relationship with our husbands that reflects Christ’s relationship with the Church. It is from this relationship, that we form the domestic churches of our families, through which our children learn about God’s love for them.
And so I challenge myself to make my husband as much of a priority as I make my children. To give him the undivided attention I provide my sons throughout the day. To make him feel appreciated, cherished and loved. To kick the habit of giving so much of myself to my boys, that by the end of the day I don’t have enough left for my man.
The “Mommy problem” article was right; I’m not just a mom. I am a woman. A Catholic. A daughter, sister, friend and employee. And, I am a wife. Who is very much in love with her husband, and with the beautiful life we are creating together.
Nicki is a wife and mother who thinks the NYT description of “sun-kissed children canning homegrown peaches and building tiny replicas of the Eiffel Tower out of toothpicks and being home-schooled on organic dairy farms in Wisconsin” sounds pretty amazing. But for now, she is content to chronicle daily life with two young boys at fullhandshappyheart.com.