Motherhood is not a vocation

This has taken me a long time to figure out.

Motherhood is more important than just about anything I do, and it's the driving force and motivation behind most of it.

But it's not a vocation. My kids are not a project.

They're people. Little people with lots of dreams and needs, frustrations and competencies all their own. As they grow, their relationship with me will shape them profoundly--but that relationship only thrives when I accept them for who they are.

Love sees and celebrates the good that is there, and longs for its growth. Love supports that growth in many ways, but simply seeing the nascient goodness is the main way.

It is an idealistic fantasy to think that we can scold, shame, or punish the vices out of our children.

There is a more excellent way, though it, too, is fraught with uncertainty.

Slowly, I am learning to let go of my expectations, and delight in my children regardless. To seek out what is wonderful in them, celebrate and cherish the virtues most natural to them, praying that those virtues will lead them into other virtues, crowding vice out of their souls.

This is my deepest longing... yet motherhood is not my vocation, and my kids are not my project.

Love is my vocation, becoming fully human is my project. Swirling through all our other projects and vocations, that is the main task for all of us.

We're learning it together.

No comments: