by Diane Robertson
Once upon a time society approved of motherhood. Young women were encouraged to bare and rear children. Getting married and starting a family was sought after and expected. That’s not true today.
In a high school class, my daughter was told she had to choose a career. She said that ultimately, she wanted to be a stay at home mother. Her teacher told her that she could not be that. My daughter asked why and the teacher said that if she could even get a husband, he would have an affair and divorce her. And if he didn’t have an affair, he would be very involved in pornography, so she should not plan to be a mother. If my daughter had said she wanted to be doctor or a lawyer or even a soldier in the army, the teacher would have cheered her on and told her she could do anything she put her mind to—anything but motherhood.
This isn’t an isolated situation. Young women grow up today being told they can be anything they want if they work for it—except, of course, a mother. Today, young women are taught that motherhood is only for later in life. Motherhood comes after a woman has completed close to a decade of college, obtained a successful career, married a professional man and bought a large home. Birth control and abortion are there to help them complete these “dreams” without the inconvenience of abstinence. Dreams to be a wife and mother, they are told are fairytales. The joy of planning a home and a family is snatched from youth. They are told to postpone, postpone, postpone.
Once women become mothers, the joy is snatched in another way. Instead of being told they can do anything and be anything, all they hear is how hard it is to be a mother. They are told that babies and toddlers suck the life out of them. They are told that babies hurt their careers and their marriages. They are told that they can no longer be themselves. They are told about messes, crying, sleepless nights, and that it’s really, really expensive.
They are never told that motherhood is fun, fulfilling, and joyful. They aren’t told how their heart will fill when their sleeping baby snuggles close to their chest. They aren’t told how proud they will be when their baby takes those first steps, and says those first words. No one speaks about the beauties of home life as their children play happily together and help each other with school and friends and life. No one talks about how as your children grow, they become your very best friends. My husband once said, “If we didn’t have all of our children, I would never have met my closest friends.”
The best part of life is relationships and the most joyful relationships are family relationships.
Young women need more voices telling them that they can be good wives and mothers, and that they do not need to wait to become them. A successful career, a large home and income are not necessary parts of a happy family. They need to know that motherhood is a worthy goal. It’s a goal that takes dedication and love. But, it’s a goal that can reward them more than any career. They need to know that motherhood is joyful.