Honor Jones’ recent article in The Atlantic highlights a story of how divorce can free a woman to remake herself into something new upon spending “half the nights childless.” Jones says she chose to cause this upheaval in her family so “[she] could put [her] face in the wind. So [she] could see the sun’s glare.”
I guess that’s what she believes life is about. Sadly, this article perfectly encapsulates the feminist message today for women – that children and husbands are nuisances and inconveniences in the way of achieving your full potential and living your life to its fullest. As Brad Wilcox tweeted, “an author broke up her marriage for no good reason and not a word for the three kids dragged through such a needless, narcissistic divorce.”
With self-expression, self-gratification, and self-fulfillment promoted as the highest goods today, our culture profoundly devalues children and the family, both of which require a good deal of self-sacrifice. It can lead people who know better to understandably despair over the future of our country.
But there’s another danger. We can also subtly fall into adopting the same mindset if we are not careful. To avoid that, we should encourage women to fully lean in to the vocation of motherhood and honor and uphold women who make the choice to stay home with their children.
Culturally conservative people understand the need to defend the habits and social behaviors that are most conducive for human flourishing. We advocate for pro-family public policies because we recognize the family is the fundamental building block of society. But even more than arguing for it, we need to model it by example, and inspire a movement.
All too often, it seems that women espousing conservative politics make choices that fit feminists’ destructive vision of life. To be clear, I am talking about women who have the practical ability to focus on rearing children but instead choose to prioritize their careers or other ideas of “self-actualization.”
If we truly believe that a culture of selfishness and self-gratification should be replaced with a culture of selflessness, of human bonding, of deep and abiding happiness, and that marriage, children, and family are the heart of such a political system, are we demonstrating it in our own individual lives? Let me be even blunter: mothers, we should not choose to delegate our main responsibility of caring for, training up, and disciplining—in a word, parenting our children to others for most of their waking hours.
This is culturally anathema, even among some who claim to be conservative. It takes not only a clear mind, ordered priorities, and determination to make it happen, but it will also require getting major practical decisions right, like where you might live and what your husband is able to do to provide so that you can be the primary formative nurturer of your young children.
Let me offer two reasons conservatives ought to strongly honor and commend fully present motherhood and help women to make the choice to spend the majority of their days with their young children. The first is that parenting cannot be delegated.
The left would love nothing more than for parents to delegate the responsibility of raising our children to others. Look no further than Joe Biden’s Build Back Better bill that would require taxpayers to spend hundreds of billions on child care and preschool. Democrats want mothers to put our children in child care outside the home so government systems can be the primary influences in a child’s life, indoctrinating them with leftist tenets at a young age.
Conservatives recognize parents ought to be the primary authority and influence in our children’s lives. To raise up the next generation of happy, resilient, good citizens, we mothers need to be the ones teaching, correcting, and disciplining them on a daily and hourly basis in those early years.
This is not something we can outsource to others. Being pro-natalist is not enough, because the left does everything they can to steal our children’s minds from us once they are born. We need to have a positive vision for how to form virtuous citizens, and that starts with mothers in the home.
Mothers need to teach children to respect and love just authority, and the best way to do that is to provide it to them. We are the ones who need to invest our time in training and forming their consciences and characters. The little years lay the foundation for the rest of their lives. This is time you can’t get back. And no one else will discipline or teach your children in the way you would or with the same consistency.
Yes, it is easy to get caught up in the hustle culture around us, a culture that prioritizes career above all. Our culture prizes influence in the public square rather than in the private sphere of the home. So it can be easy to find ourselves following the life script set forth by leftist elites.
The arc of life is long. Careers are long. But the years with our children are short. We should not delegate away our fundamental responsibility to train and discipline them well.
Why should mothers say “no” to work outside the home for a season? Can’t we just do it all, stay in the working world and raise our children at home?
The reality is that you can’t train and influence your children fully if you are not physically around them all day. It just is not possible. One need only look at the way God designed for infants to be physically attached to their mothers from birth for nutrition and survival. Our children need our physical presence, and not for a few hours each day.
Furthermore, as conservatives we recognize the important differences between the two sexes. Men and women are not interchangeable. Gender is not fluid. Our sex is determinative.
This means women have the God-given role of motherhood. Because of the unique life-giving and sustaining qualities that women possess, it is good for both children and their mothers if the mother is present, physically and mentally, especially during her children’s earliest years.
True fulfillment is found, not in the siren song of self-gratification, but in living according to our God-given nature. If we do this, we will flourish as women, our families will flourish, and our nation will flourish.
Moms, you are most irreplaceable to your children. Your kids can’t get a new mom. But your boss can get another employee.
Some women do not have the option but to work full-time, but for many it is a choice. I am asking people to recognize that there is a real, but often concealed, cost to choosing not to be around one’s children full-time.
The most valuable choice we can make as mothers while our children are young is to invest the majority of our time and energy into raising them at home. In doing so, we can cultivate a new generation of happy, productive, virtuous citizens who will sustain and defend the country for generations.
As C.S. Lewis said so well, “The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only – and that is to support the ultimate career.” Let us mothers prioritize the American family not just in word, but in deed.
The above comes from a Jan. 25 article by Clare Morrell on the Federalist.com site.
I have always believed what this article is saying. I also believe it is much better for children to not be “institutionalized” in preschools from an early age. I believe in no preschools at all, and time spent in the early years in your own home, and playing with neighbor children, under mothers’ watchful eyes. I believe in the traditional home and family, as the center of life, and the core of a community, country, and civilization. A slower way of life, with family meals always together, leisurely, and lots of time relaxing and doing things together, is ideal. I believe that the role of wife snd motherhood is of the highest importance, a sacred vocation.
Many feminists of today, may not realize, that men traditionally used to be given higher salaries, due to the expectation that they would be husbands and fathers, supporting an entire family. Our society used to be centered around marriage, family and home. That is always the very best way. Also, children should not be overly pushed into early intellectual pursuits. Instead, they should be nurtured and nourished in the home, and learn mostly about life, and about themselves, and develop socially and emotionally, as well as intellectually. Their moms and dads should spend lots of time with them, doing fun things, reading stories aloud, and teaching them many wonderful things.
One wonderful thing that Catholic stay-at-home mothers can do, is take little ones with her, to an early morning Mass. A grandma or aunt can also join. And to spend time explaining to the children all about the Mass, and their Catholic Faith, and teaching them prayers, is very important.
The trad families I know of that tried to take over a parish all had their marriages implode and their homeschooled kids left the Catholic faith as soon as they became adults.
Extended families, living nearby, or living together in multi-generational situations, can be very mutually beneficial, if everyone learns good “people skills.” My mom helped care for our beloved paternal grandpa, in his final days, dying of cancer. Our paternal grandparents lived nearby, a block away. Our maternal grandparents lived with us for awhile, as we had a large house in a rural area. It was great fun! Both were immigrants, very relaxed, easy-going, wonderful people. My maternal grandma was an outstanding cook, a wonderful person to talk to– and a great listener! Great with kids, lots of fun, and taught us many wonderful things.
Family life, I think you did not read the essay. This is exactly what caused the divorce-trying to live up to somebody’s idea of what marriage and family should be rather than figuring out how to make it work for you and your family.
Some women really love the cooking, cleaning, family chatter, making a home, making memories.
Other women-it drives them nuts. And they really cannot do it.
So rather than trying to make yourself fit into a cookie mold, make the decisions that work for you, your husband, and your kids.
Young women are very vulnerable to other people’s judgements and opinions.
What if she when she called the real estate agent, the agent had said “don’t do it. divorce is hell?”
No, I am not at all advocating a “cookie cutter mold” type of life. You did not read my comment. I said that it may be possible for multigenerations to live nearby, or together, and mutually benefit. But you must have good people skills. Americans today, often care for aging parents for awhile, at life’s end, either in their own home, or else living close by. To get married in the first place, requires good judgment of whom you will marry, lots of good sense and maturity, and good people skills– love requires maturity, good sense, give-and-take, compromises, and sacrifices, to life’s end. A good marriage must be founded upon Christ and His Love, and self-giving– not founded upon just the human ego and its desires– or it won’t last very long. You also have to be willing to bend at times, to creatively figure out good solutions to things, and try them. Many Americans today have forgotten their roots in family life– they have embraced deadly Modernism, an unnatural too-fast style of living, self-accomplishments for money, power, and self-gain, and immature ideas of me-me-me.
This is the problem. Anytime a woman does something outside of expectations of being a servant for others, she is accused of selfishness.
i am glad that family life for you was such a blessing. Truly.
For some people, their family are the worst people they know.
cookie cutter, married couples each have to figure out how to sensibly manage their domestic life. That is a reality of living– managing homelife. And couples can also learn to do new domestic things, together– that’s fun! But if someone says, “I don’t like having to compromise, and hate domestic life chores– I won’t even learn basic cooking and cleaning skills, and home, yard, and property upkeep skills, and I hate kids– and I won’t even learn how to make simple breakfasts amd lunches, and I refuse to even take out the garbage, or even make my bed each morning! — then, go live on an island, be selfish, all by yourself! And don’t hurt others with your selfishness!
It is not just domestic duties. Where we live, how much we have to live on, how we spend out time, do we spend any time together (do we want to?), who we hang out with, how we respond to trouble or to daily stresses, when and where and how to have sex, when and where and how to eat, sleep, talk, party, raise kids, how many kids, how to treat the kids, how to dress the kids and ourselves, how warm to keep the house, how many blankets on the bed, whether to sleep in the same bed, how we disagree (if you are even permitted to disagree), how we get back at each other, how we show love (if we feel love)
The Catholic Church used to teach that marriage was impossible without the grace of the Sacrament of Matrimony.
not just domestic duties– everything you described, is all a part of “domestic life,” when you marry.
Read the new book “Ask Your Husband: A Catholic Guide to Femininity” by Stephanie Gordon for more on this topic.
Why would you ask a man about femininity?
Sadly, a common response. I get the same sort of response as a man commenting on abortion. As if 50% of those killed aren’t male and I’m obligated to speak against murder
Our society and marriage is ordered male and female. Masculine and feminine. They compliment each other. As a husband of 31 years and father of adult children, to live happily you have to be joyful in the differences between men and women. Part of that is attraction to true feminine characteristics nurturing, motherhood, care for home and children. I regret and sorrow for those who have not experienced this dynamic that God gave us. Take this lesson. Many years ago I prayed for the holy mother to guide a woman to me. She did.
Tell them that a female gave you permission. You spent 9 months in a uterus. You can talk about it.
It takes a lot of compromise to keep a marriage going. If one’s husband does not like a perfume one has chosen, it is a good idea to get one you both like — save the other for outside the home if you just must have it. The same for a man with his cologne. If he likes pork and you like lamb, cook pork for him and lamb for you sometimes. My husband and I both cook, and our biggest fights are over the kitchen. Sometimes he cooks for me and I for him.
What a contrast to our sister Nancy Pelosi’s “for the children.”
Read the essay. click the blue link that says The Atlantic.
It is poignant. It is sad. It is probably a person with some disorder.
I feel sorry for her husband.
I think she already knows that she could have done all this same stuff without divorcing.
I think she understands it’s her and not him.
Divorce is as traumatic as a death in the family.
I’ve met many great fathers out there who really LOVE taking care of kids, I see men all the time pushing their babies in baby carriages. When I was growing up in the very repressive sexist 50s, you NEVER saw men that involved with child care ever. So men can change too. Catholic priests who never marry, never have kids, but still manage to exploit women housekeepers— well I don’t really think you are at all qualified to speak to women about work, children or husbands for that matter. Honestly, the arrogance of it all. PAY women more for their work. Make it much easier on women, and stop dumping all of societies problems on women, when we all know who makes the rules in the church. Men you need to step up. I was so happy that they taught home ec to boys in the 70s, it made my brother a very good cook, and he is extremely supportive in the home. They have three kids, his wife has the major career, and everything turned out just fine.
Not everyone lives by foolish stereotypes, nor gullibly accepts the latest hype they are fed, by the media, as being true. And not all men were selfish, sexist boors, who had little respect for women, prior to the 1960s. There were a lot of good marriages, of intelligent, mature, loving, happy couples– and lots of good men, who were excellent husbands and fathers, with lots of love and respect for their wives. Yes, a great many fathers also happily cared for children, and changed diapers, gave bottles, and pushed strollers. And helped their wives, especially when they were exhausted. Long, long ago, the one who first proudly showed my mom how to change a baby’s diaper, was the husband of my mom’s best friend. And he proudly showed my dad how to prepare and give a baby a bottle, and burp the baby, and gently swaddle and rock the baby to sleep, when my mom needed rest, or went out shopping.
American settlers from foreign countries all had a basic way of life, based on marriage, home and family, and cultural and religious beliefs and ways of doing things. But they also were individuals, mature adults, with ingenuity, creativity, and always tried their skills at figuring out solutions to things, on-their-own. (That is also what I am used to.) They dealt with real life, “as is.” And they were “real” with morality, and consequences of sin– no “me generation” immaturity, rebellion, filthy lives, and lies. They were individuals, not modern, mechanistic, science-dominated, “cookie cutter” media-indoctrinated, scared, “politically-correct,” immoral, post-war, “me-generation” socialists.
You really are an idealist. God bless you.
Idealistic, to live life and to succeed, and deal with all of life’s varied situations and often-painful hardships– takes lots of individual common sense and “smarts,” lots of love, courage, commitment, perseverance and determination, plus some creativity and adaptability, at times. And above all else— integrity, morality, and self-sacrifice. And no excuses.
So why are you-such a highly evolved individual-knocking people who are less than you? Isn’t just being better than the rest of us enough? You have to rub our noses in it?
No one is “rubbing noses” in anything. Catholics who love Christ follow Him, and seek to destroy Satan’s Culture of Death, restore Christ’s holy Faith, and establish the Culture of Life in the fallen world. Join Christ and the Culture of Life!
Jesus Christ is Lord.
You got me thinking though, because I don’t remember the Catholic Church teaching that the family is sacred. The Catholic definintion of sacred is:
The holy or divine. The sacred is that which pertains to God, as distinguished from what pertains to human beings; that which is eternal, in contrast with the temporal; the heavenly as opposed to the earthly; the mysterious and therefore not the rationally explainable; the infinite and not the finite. In all religions, the sacred is the Absolute, which does not change, whereas the profane is the relative, whose essence is to change.
However, I do see a few Catholic writings which call the family “sacred”, although it is in the title. You probably won’t like this one:
Today families are made up of married, divorced, remarried, widowed and single parents. Some families have no children, other families have many children and some even have children from different marriages and parents. This is not what makes a family sacred. What makes the family sacred is that it is the place in which those who live together within a particular family are to love and nurture one another so that God may be born there and made present to the different members within it.
nurture one another– The concept, “family is sacred,” is ancient. It goes way back to Biblical times. The Church’s use of the word “sacred,” in theology, is different. The family is the core of the parish, and the community, nation, and entire world. It all begins with the sacrament of marriage, having children, establishing a home and family. “The family that prays together, stays together,” as Fr. Patrick Peyton used to say. The Catholic sacramental marriage is holy, in Christ, not like other forms of marriage.
Look at all the female judges who worked their butts off for years and can’t be considered for a Supreme Court position because they aren’t the right color.
Or all the men who won’t be considered because they are the wrong gender.
People need to protest this stupid kind of thinking. “What about a Puerto Rican?” “We already have one.” So, no Puerto Rican can ever be considered again?
Excellent article! My life began when I met my husband who re-introduced me to our Faith. We agreed that he would be the provider and I would be the caregiver…it has been 30 challenging but love and joy filled years! We were blessed with 4 children, 2 with special needs. We were blessed to care for my in-laws in our home until they died. We served my folks as we were called to and provided in home hospice to my Dad during his last two weeks of life [we didn’t know at the time how long he had]. We saw how awful the schools were so we felt called to homeschool–challenging, yes, but I wouldn’t change a moment! When our 2 eldest were high school age, we had fallen in love with a magnificent, small, Classical Catholic Education School, that was not close–an hour from our home, thus a daily commute of 4 hours, but was the perfect fit for our children [and others]. It truly solidified their Faith and the morals which they witnessed and were taught through their childhood. Our son is Headmaster at a school much like the one he and his sister graduated from and our daughter married a wonderful, loving man of Faith. They hope to have children and my daughter will be a stay at home Mom. It is such a wonderful life–quite the adventure! I thank God for my devoted husband and for our daily choice to love God, love each other exclusively, and love each of our wonderful [now adult] children!
Not many people get 30 love and joy filled years. That is probably what makes the difference.
I do think having special needs children helps with having a sense of purpose and during the times when you are caring for sick family members, there too is a sense of purpose.
Homeschool is hard but it is the best time of life, I think. I miss those days.
You must live in a temperate area to even consider a 2 hour commute to your children’s school.
There are not many people who would spend 2 hours twice a day taking their kids to school.
I think you must have money, too.
The longest commute I had was about 40 minutes each way. It was okay. It was actually good to spend that much time with the children. It is probably the best family time. You can talk about things they don’t talk about when they are home busy doing homework or playing with the other kids or the pets or eventually being on the computer or phone.
Very inspiring. I appreciated reading your post.
And then there is the practical side to consider. The mother of three children is married to a man who earns $15 per hour, $31,000 per year. The two-bedroom apartment is $1700 per month, $20,400. After taxes, there is about $4000 for food, insurance, car payment, gas, school clothes, etc. The mother is forced to go to work. If a mother is asked to stay home rather than work, her partner better be making $100K or more.
The author did say “Some women do not have the option but to work full-time, but for many it is a choice. I am asking people to recognize that there is a real, but often concealed, cost to choosing not to be around one’s children full-time.”
One of the things that bothers me is that she never talks about wanting to be around your children because you love them or you will enjoy these years. She talks about training them and influencing them. She mentions being conservative 6 times.
I guarantee your kids will have their own values. You will not be the only one influencing them.
loving them– No. To do your best as a parent, to be a good influence for your children and give them proper training, is a big responsibility. That is what truly loving parents do, for their children. And if you work to develop a good, close-knit family, your kids will have good family values, too. Stay close to Christ, stay away from the evils of the Culture of Death. Form bonds of friendship with other like-minded Catholic families, and socialize just with them. Homeschool if possible, or send your kids to a faithful Catholic school. “A family that prays together, stays together,” as Fr. Patrick Peyton said. When a very good formation is established in your children, from their early years, and continued, up through the time when they leave home– even if they may stray at some point– they will probably not stray too far, and will eventually return to faith and family.
Many Catholic parents, since about 1970, have either homeschooled, or placed their kids in an orthodox, faithful Catholic school, and involved their kids in parochial school, church and parish activities. Social life also has been restricted by these devout Catholic parents to like-minded Catholic families. Media, TV, phones and all tech stuff is limited, replaced by wholesome activities. These kids have all usually excelled academically, and in all their pursuits, and have gone to faithful Catholic colleges, and ended up with good careers– or else joined the priesthood or religious life. Most have married spouses brought up the same way, and raised large families of children likewise. Now we have several good generations which have been raised up in this excellent way, close to Christ, with more to come.
I don’t disagree with you but it is elitist. I do think that faithful Catholics will be more and more going Amish and separating themselves from the culture. But most families don’t have those options.
The option you have is to tell your children that whatever sin they encounter is wrong and is a sin or mortal sin.
Catholic kids learn about the Culture of Death at Church and Catholic school or overhearing their Catholic parents discuss things.
Franciscan University has been ruined by elitists who are too good to associate with the lesser Catholics-faithful Catholics that don’t meet their elitist standards.
To follow Christ is a great lifelong gift and commitment. You either dedicate your life to Him or you don’t. As Catholics we are called to Christ, to a very different life. Franciscan U. Of Steubenville is a great gift of God.
Hail Mary. God bless you. Live your ideals. the world will be a better place.
It is wonderful in these cases, when relatives can help. Multigenerational mutual help, living close together or nearby, with families pulling together, can help everyone. An aunt or grandma living in your household or living nearby, can help out and babysit. And your husband who earns very little, can get a better education and job training, too, with family help. In very expensive San Francisco, nannies and housekeepers are often paid $15-20/hour. A husband can improve his job situation! If families learn good “people skills,” and learn to work together, they can mutually benefit each other, as their ancestors used to do, and is still done, in many foreign cultures.
There are stay at home moms who are selling beautiful items that are handcrafted right from their homes online, with family members helping them in their businesses.
When my husband & I got married, I stopped work for several years, while he did white collar and blue collar jobs. I taught myself to sew and do crafts quite professionally. I made French seamed jeans like Levi, top stitched shirts with buttonholes, skirts, blouses, a flower girl dress for one daughter that matched the bride’s gown, doll clothes, etc. Afterward I worked parttime while my husband went to college & worked at his job.
That last post was too much about me, but the point I was trying to make is that the Lord calls us all to be servants. One of the titles of the pope is Servant of the Servants of God. We often forget that, and if we go into our jobs or vocations seeking power instead of service, we destroy ourselves and those around us.
St. Andre Bessette was “just” a doorkeeper, but the Good Lord gave him the “power” to heal others.