Motherhood is not a hobby

“Do we believe that we want children because there is some biological urge, or the phantom ‘baby itch’? Are we really in this because of cute little clothes and photo opportunities? Is motherhood a rock-bottom job for those who can’t do more, or those who are satisfied with drudgery? …

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.”

Click to read about motherhood and the gospel in “Motherhood is a Calling (And Where Your Children Rank)” by Rachel Jankovic.

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4 thoughts on “Motherhood is not a hobby

  1. While I agree that motherhood is too often looked down upon, Jankovic has strong class bias and essentialist attitudes that she fails to acknowledge.

    First, MOST families have two parents working outside the home. Is it simply the Christian thing to do to be a stay-at-home mother? For many women, Christian or not, this just is not an option. Only a set of privileged women have this option.

    Second, yes, women can bear children, but we are created to love and worship God. Childbearing and childrearing are just one avenue to do this. A woman’s worth as a Christian should not be judged by if she chooses to have (or not have) children.

    My own two cents:
    I strongly suspect that motherhood is not respected as much as it should be because it is unpaid, largely unrewarded by the outside world (no merit promotions or employee of the month), somewhat thankless (toddlers won’t appreciate that setting boundaries and feeding on a schedule are good for them), female (let’s face it, men hold most positions of power in the world) and mothers must wait a long time to reap the rewards of good parenting. While this is generalizes somewhat, I wish Christian writers would do a better job acknowledging these realities faced by mothers AND fathers. Considering motherhood the “natural” calling for women just downplays how demanding and hard it is; good mothers have to work at becoming good parents.

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments! I have a few thoughts in response.

      I’ve only read this one article by Jankovic, so I don’t feel like I can judge her full perspective. But I hope she does not mean to condemn childless or employed women as “less Christian” or less holy. I hope she only means to validate the intense job that is being a mother. Whether a woman is a stay-at-home or employed mom, I imagine her kids take up huge amounts of her time and energy. Her sacrifice is intense and highly admirable, no matter what her day job is. (Even the oft-praised “Proverbs 31 woman” runs a small business out of her home, I believe.)

      But I would further say that more than just privileged women have the option to be stay-at-home moms. I have seen many couples work very hard to diligently steward their finances in order to allow the mother to stay at home as the primary caretaker for their children. Being able to be a stay-at-home mom is no piece of cake. It requires major financial discipline, teamwork, and flexibility. I’m not saying that working moms don’t or can’t have these characteristics; I’m just saying that I’ve seen them present in almost every stay-at-home mom I’ve met.

      I agree (in large part) with your point about fathers. Fatherhood is also an incredibly demanding commitment, especially if practiced (as it should be) with great care and great effort. But I imagine that Jankovic was writing both for and about mothers (like herself). Plus– not to sound cliche, but– there is something special about the bond between mother and child. That’s not just an old-fashioned idea; it’s true. It doesn’t make motherhood any easier, though…

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