Sometimes the most memorable journeys we take En Route are in our hearts and minds, and today was one of those times for me.
Quite by accident, I chanced upon a blog about stay-at-home mothers, and how little value society now places upon a vocation that was once considered a sacred trust, and stay-at-home mothers were not second-class citizens, or thought of as uneducated and boring.
The nurturing and molding of decent human beings is a gargantuan task. It takes every ounce of strength, courage, and compassion that you have, and it goes on round the clock, week after week, and year after year, and when a mother dies, everything stops – everything. There’s a hole in your heart that never heals, and that’s true no matter how old you are – we all have (or have had) mothers. Suddenly, there’s no one there to clean the house, cook your meals, or hold your hand when you’re sick, or comfort you when you’re scared. There are no arms to rock you when your world falls apart, no kind and gentle words of wisdom that only mothers, it seems, can impart. Our mothers are critical to our well being, and the loss of one’s mother is devastating. Can you think of a job or occupation that could possibly be more important?
I can scarce believe some of the derogatory comments I’ve heard in this vein, so I felt compelled to comment on the value of stay-at-home moms, and with a quote from Albert Camus (author of The Stranger) fresh in my mind, I did so. I don’t often give my opinion, as I’m well aware of what it’s worth, but sometimes I feel that to be silent would be criminal.
My comment on the blog:
In a nutshell: Since children are highly portable, it’s possible to be with your children 24/7 and still be ‘out’ in the workforce. My husband and I had nine children (only four are still living in the flesh, I’m sorry to say, but that’s another story, or blog. You can read about our adventures at http://www.enroutewithjesse.com ).
Home is where the family is, and while I’m a missionary/author/singer-songwriter/musician, and naturopath, I took my children with me wherever I went in the world – and I’ve traveled most of it .. My husband and I home schooled them and kept them in our proverbial hip pockets until they were ready to branch out on their own, which they’ve all done, and now we’re blessed with several grandchildren. Our kids who have kids are all stay-at-home moms, by the way, which I find both gratifying and interesting.
I’m not knocking working mom’s here, as I’ve always been one, and I don’t doubt for a moment that most moms are doing their best for their children, but is the choice to leave their kids for ten or more hours a day an informed one? Somehow, I think not. I applaud all moms and dads who are working hard to provide for their children (which is their obligation, of course), but I’m *deeply *concerned about the absence of mothers in the home. I’m concerned that I can type ‘Latchkey kids’ in to this comment and not have a spellchecker correct me. As old-fashioned as it has now become, I strongly believe that children should be within arm’s reach of their parents until they are old enough to go it alone. What other species can you name that abandons its children for material anything?
To be sure, leaving one’s child to work all day is sometimes unavoidable, but let’s be honest – most working mothers don’t work because they have to, they work because they want to, period. The needs of children nowadays too often come after the wants of their parents, and I’ve lived long enough to watch the present trend take hold. This is not progress or liberty, it’s the shift from family to ‘self,’ and that shift will be the undoing of those who subscribe to the ‘self’ philosophy, but the greatest casualties in this moral war, will always and forever be our children.
The fall of *every* world power in history was preceded by the disintegration of the family unit. When families fall apart, so do individuals, villages, towns, cities, and finally nations, and people become displaced, confused, and lose their sense of identity… and their roots, and they begin to question their intrinsic worth, and their reason for being. Just look at North America today, it’s spiritually, morally, and financially bankrupt – and the U.S. won’t be a world power for much longer, sadly. It was a great country once.
As unpopular a comment as I’m sure this will be, I firmly believe that if one *intends* to avoid raising one’s children oneself, or at least have them brought up within the family unit (as in Grandma looks after them for you), I don’t believe one ought to have them – it’s selfish, irresponsible, and… unkind. If you disagree, I invite you to visit any daycare five minutes after working mothers drop their children off – it’s nothing less than heartbreaking!
While I don’t wish to downplay the importance of fathers in any family, there’s a reason why people all around the world agree that one of the most poignant and ‘best first lines’ in any novel is:
‘MOTHER DIED TODAY.’
Gets you where it counts, doesn’t it?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject.
Love and All Good Things – Jesse.’
The featured image for this post is the cover from the second book in the Time & Unforeseen Occurrence seven-novel series The Least of These. You can read the first five chapters here –