Friday, April 13, 2012

Unhappy with motherhood

            I had an interesting conversation today.  I was standing at the counter checking out, for once all alone with no children in tow, when I mentioned that I had 5 children.  I cannot even remember how the subject came up but the woman behind the counter immediately responded with, “You have 5 children?  Do they drive you nuts?”

            Now, as anyone with more than two children will tell you, it is not at all unusual to get surprising and varied reactions to the subject of children and family planning.  Nonetheless, I was thrown off by her question.  “No,” I answered quickly, “I love my children.”  But then, as I thought about it for a second, I had to admit, “Well, there are moments they drive me nuts, but overall I enjoy my children.”  I wanted to be completely honest.

            She looked at me quizzically and maybe I should have let it drop at that but I continued, “My children know their limits.” I told her. 

            “Oh, so you rule with an iron fist,” she said knowingly, nodding her head like she got it now.             

            But as I thought about that, I felt the need to speak up yet again.  “Not really.  I don’t have to most of the time.  They are just pretty good kids,” I told her.

            “Well, I guess you do look like you’ve got it altogether,” the woman conceded (an interesting comment on its own considering I did not have the children with me), “Lots of people these days are not too happy with motherhood though.”

            Since that conversation this morning, I have thought about her observation.  She is right, of course.  A lot of people are unhappy with motherhood.  Children are seen as burdens, not blessings and having 5 (or more) of them sounds like torture to some people, I guess.  None of this is really news to me, but hearing someone admit it so casually as if it is no big deal was upsetting.  It has really caused me to pause and think about this world we live in, and the negative attitudes that pervade it.  

            There is SO much I could say about it all.  I could go on and on about how people are so misguided, how their priorities are skewed, and about how worldly wisdom has ruined family values in this country.  I think I will try to keep my mouth shut about all that this time though……  

Instead I will just pray.  I will pray that my example and witness, and that of other strong Christian mothers, might be enough to convince others to take a closer look at their own attitudes and priorities.  I will pray that God will enlighten the minds of those mothers who are not too happy with motherhood and help them to see the gift that their children, and their responsibility towards them, is.  

Maybe, while I am at it, I will also say a prayer of thanksgiving.  It is such a privilege and a blessing to be a mother.  Though it is not always easy and my children do drive me nuts occasionally, I am grateful to God for the gift of motherhood.  Unusual as it may sound, it is a something I really am very happy with.


  1. I think everywhere we go with our children we are being watched. Even in those crazy times. It's all how we handle ourselves that will make a difference in the world, I think. I think our kiddos are pretty good most of the time because we are with them most of the time, don't you think? I think a lot of people (who find unhappiness in motherhood) don't actually spend that much time with their children, and don't catch things as they come up and their behaviors are, well, just bad.

    I agree though, children are not given a high priority in the world now. They are looked upon as something that costs money.

    It's funny because a college education takes lots of time and lots of money. A good job takes lots of time. Getting anything or having anything takes time and sometimes money, but in the end is worth it all. People want what they want and they want it now.

    Yes, we need to pray. Pray and be good examples.

    Good post!

  2. Jamie Jo- I think you hit the nail on the head, not only are children and families not a priority, so many women fail to even spend any real time with their children. It is no wonder they feel unfulfilled in their role as mothers.

    It seems no one wants to really give of themselves these days, unless they can quantify what they themselves will get out of it. College and careers are considered worthwhile because there is an obvious personal payoff (the paycheck, the prestige, etc...) Parenting is considered a hassle because it requires sacrifice and often the sacrifice goes unnoticed. There is little validation, little credit given for the day-to-day work of parenting.

    But really, we, who are willing and able to spend a lot of time with our children, are so much more blessed because we appreciate the hard work and the beautiful experience of giving of ourselves as mothers. And, because we get to be a part of our children's lives and really watch them grow and develop and (hopefully) become the people God created them to be.

    I hope you and your beautiful family are doing well, especially during this Easter season.

    Blessings to you all, Kari

  3. Kari,

    This is a beautiful post.

    I am trying to gather a few motherhood posts to put on our Australian Catholic Families blog during May (for the month of Mary). I wonder if you would be willing to share this post and/or any other favourite mothering post you have written? I would link the post/s back to your blog.

    Our blog is at if you'd like to take a look. Most of the blog authors are Australian but we occasionally have a guest author from overseas who kindly shares a post.

    God bless!

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  5. Sue- I would love to share this post on motherhood at the Australian Catholic families blog.

    This does not have anything to do with motherhood but your invitation reminded me of it-- A few years ago Tim was out of work. He had lost his job and after months of searching wasn't having any luck finding a new one. So one day he suggested we move to Australia, saying he might have better luck finding work three. I assumed he was joking, but a few days later I walked into the kitchen where he sat at the computer looking at the Australian government's website. He was studying the immigration laws and downloading the paperwork. We might have been neighbors, had he had any skills they were looking for! God had a different plan, but now I would LOVE the opportunity to be an honorary Australian!

    Thank you so much for asking me, please let me know how and when to post there or "link up".

    God Bless, Kari

  6. Kari,

    Maybe one day you will make it to Australia. I would love to meet you!

    And thank you so much for your permission to share your post. That is so kind of you! I am always looking out for interesting posts to share with our readers. Sometimes it is difficult to find enough articles so I really appreciate you helping me out.

    I thought we could post some motherhood stories during May. I could easily copy and paste this post as it is, and add a link to your blog if that is OK with you. Perhaps a short author description would be appropriate. Would you like to write a few sentences? You could email me if you'd like. My profile has my contact details.

    Thank you again, Kari.

    God bless!



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