Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thursday Thinking – A Mother’s Work

Recently I sat and listened as a friend went on and on about how competent another friend of ours is… she really has her act together, works hard, and does a lot for others.  She (the absent friend) is a great person, great friend, and an excellent teacher at a local elementary school. 

This conversation was in no way intended to make me like “less”, but in a way it did.  I wasn’t being compared to the other friend, but I was comparing myself to her in my mind.  It is most likely my own sense of insecurity, inadequacy, etc. that made this conversation have such an effect on me.  I felt like a complete failure in comparison.

Those of us who are stay-at-home-moms, I think, are susceptible to those feelings of inadequacy from time to time, especially when we think about how everyone else seems to really “have it all together”. 

This friend of mine (Miss Wonderful :) ) is not married, and does not have children.  We are at two completely different stages of life.  There is just no fair comparison to be made.  And since we are all different, I’m guessing that applies to comparisons with everyone else too!

G.K. Chesterton wrote a book in 1912 titled, What’s Wrong with the World. It’s a series of essays about the times in which he lived.  Some of it is outdated, but much of it still applies.  I like to read a portion of it from time to time, because it always gives me food for thought. 

Yesterday I ran across the following passage, and wanted to share it with all of you, hoping it provides you with the same encouragement that it gave me (REMEMBER, it was written in 1912!):

“[A woman is surrounded with] very young children, who require to be taught not so much anything as everything.  Babies need not to be taught a trade as to be introduced to a world.  To put the matter shortly, woman is generally shut up in the house with a human being at a time when he asks all the questions that there are, and some that there aren’t. …when people begin to talk about this domestic duty as not merely difficult but trivial and dreary, I simply give up the question.  For I can not with the utmost energy of imagination conceive what they mean. …How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe?  How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone?  No; a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute.  I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness.” (What’s Wrong with the World, by G.K. Chesterton, p. 97)

Have a beautiful day! :)


  1. So, so true. In fact, this was a conversation I was JUST having with a friend not that long ago. She was stressing out about school and work and balancing it all (she's single, no kids) and then she commented how she wishes her life was as "quiet" as mine. For a while (ehh, I'll admit... the feeling lasted more than a "while"), I felt... less than. IS my life "quiet" because I don't work 9-5 and juggle school work, too? But, then I think about the stages of life we're in, like you mentioned, and there's no comparison.

    My husband always tells me that he very much respects the job I do and that he'd never be able to do it. :)

    Great post!

  2. Great post! Of course, I am not a SAHM, but the feeling of inadequacy is familiar to me as well. At least you have some inspirational reading to carry you through. I have people telling me how horrible it is for a child to be in care of anyone else other than myself.

  3. Thanks for those timely words! It helps keep our job in perspective.


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