Like cryptocurrency, motherhood has value only for those in our culture who already value it. Part of the reason that the “job description” of moms doesn’t easily transfer to the marketplace is because we tend to view it as a private vocation, the extension of our personal lives.
In America and other parts of the Western world, motherhood is (as debates around abortion imply) a matter of personal choice. It is inherently private and personal.
Learning to value mothering means learning to value the role that mothering plays, not only in individual homes, but in society as a whole.
The Great Contribution of Motherhood to Society
We’ve all heard the expression, “It starts at home.” This is where children learn the foundational things that ensure they grow up to become productive members of society. And a mother is largely the one who teaches these core principles.
A mom builds healthy relationships with her kids, teaching them manners and showing them the power of kindness. She models for her children how to use words that honor and how to persevere when the going gets tough.
She shows them how to have the proper perspective of disappointments and unfair situations. She teaches them how to prioritize the right things.
She makes memories with them in the mundane, ordinary circumstances of life. She shows them the power of grace and how to ask for forgiveness when they’ve fallen short.
It can’t be stated enough how much children need a parent who is present and able to help them work through their arguments, regulate their emotions, inspire their curiosity, and learn life skills.
The Book of Proverbs is correct in saying that the degree to which we dismiss the teaching of mothers is the degree to which we are a foolish people.
Your daily, humble work is exponentially fruitful. A teacher, or lawyer, or doctor, while important, can still be replaced by someone else. Your role as your children’s mother can never be fulfilled by any other person.
God willing, our homes will be a place our children look back on and remember as one of learning, laughing, growing, forgiving, and setting a strong foundation for many years to come.
Are parts of it monotonous at times? Sure. We’ll wash the same clothes and dishes, everyday, for years.
But there are many things in life that are monotonous… including tasks when working outside the home. We will never have a situation where we do something once and then never again. Everything needs to be maintained.
Is it low-skill? No, actually it’s not. Running a home and raising children well requires good executive functioning skills, healthy emotional regulation, good stress management- not to mention cooking skills, cleaning skills, time management, and a wealth of other knowledge.
As moms we are in a career, so to speak, of building godly marriages and families. When we embrace motherhood and pour into our families, we are building up a nation since a healthy family is the very foundation of a healthy society.
Valuing Motherhood As The Source Of Life
If nothing else, learning to value motherhood helps us remember that none of us exist without another person. The fact that we are begotten is easily lost on a modern culture who wants to be “self-made”.
Without this essential understanding, we lose the basis for which God commands us to honor our fathers and mothers. Honoring our parents is a humble acknowledgement that we did not make ourselves.
The truth is, women are gifted with a particular, special way to showcase God’s image through pregnancy and raising children.
Childbearing symbolizes the unique role of females, because growing other human beings is the clearest example of the difference between men and women. Indeed, women are the type of people whom other people come out of.
At its most basic level, biological motherhood testifies to how women form a community within their own bodies—two individuals living together as one.
It sets us distinctly apart from males, who don’t have this ability. And far from being looked down on with disdain, it should be celebrated and recognized for the distinctive quality it is.
It is in not being equal to men this way, that we actually find our dignity upheld and individuality respected. When society in general has a positive view of children and motherhood, it ultimately seeks to protect women.
The Effect of Separating Mothering From Womanhood
Many people tend to separate the act of mothering from the concept of what it means to be a woman. They denigrate motherhood and child rearing as worthless pursuits, yet desire that women be valued and elevated.
But if a culture has a high view of babies and children, it will also have a high view of women who bear and nurture them.
Where there is a low opinion about the most vulnerable members of our society, there will undoubtedly be mistreatment of women.
One of the ways archaeologists know they’ve discovered a Roman brothel is by the presence of fetal and newborn skeletons in mass graves. In Ancient Rome, children were not considered real people until they were at least two years old.
This made infanticide rampant in the ancient world. There was no ethical dilemma about this, however, because children had been fully dehumanized.
They “looked human” but were “non complere personas” (not fully persons yet), as one ancient writer put it.
Far from being perceived as taboo, brothels were one of the most common gathering places for Roman men. Women were treated as mere objects they could use for pleasure and then discard.
When Jesus rebuked the disciples for sending mothers away who wanted their little ones blessed, this was revolutionary. He expressed not only a high view of children but a great respect for moms, since raising kids is a great part of women’s contribution to the human race.
Regarding children as blessings during all stages of life- preborn, newborn, infant, toddler, preteen, and teenager- necessarily compels a nation to uphold the very distinctive nature of a woman.
Without this perspective, her place in society is not valued, nor is it protected. She becomes replaceable. Interchangeable. Undefinable.
It leaves her vulnerable to exploitation and open to the whims of corrupt men.
Today we witness the horrible reality of pornography and sex trafficking, in which women are victimized and exploited. And abortion plays a major role in its continuation, because adult film producers and traffickers use it to dispose of inconvenient babies which would hinder the woman’s ability to “work” for them.
Refusing to see the preborn as humans with inherent worth and rights, and mocking motherhood, only serves to limit a woman’s freedom.
When we see motherhood as a gift (difficult and trying, but a gift nonetheless) we value a woman’s incredible, significant contribution to society. And we honor the woman herself.