Oct 23, 2015

Just a Wife and Mother

By Katy Peperkorn

Note: this article is part of a series inspired by this conversation. The series is not meant to imply that motherhood is any holier than any other vocation, but instead to encourage those who feel that they are swimming against the cultural tide by getting married and having babies.

Next summer is my 10-year high school reunion. I haven’t decided if I will attend. While reuniting with some of my classmates for an evening may be interesting, part of me cringes when I think about explaining what I have been doing the last decade.

The first 4 years after high school were fairly normal. I went to college and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree. I was a good student. After graduation I could have chosen a career or pursued a graduate degree. Instead I got married to a guy attending the seminary and proceeded to bounce around from job to job as he worked on finishing his schooling. Then we had a baby and I became a stay-at-home mom. That’s it—No impressive career. No world-changing accomplishments. Just a husband and a child.  

I could try to clarify my unimpressive résumé with, “I was supporting my husband through his seminary studies!”

But how old-fashioned is that? It certainly doesn’t make for worldly success.

I could try to explain my lack of accomplishment with, “I now take care of my daughter! I manage our household so my husband can focus on his work as a pastor!”

But how non-empowering is that? It certainly isn’t what remarkable women do.

No matter how I try to explain my life choices, the truth remains that I really am just a wife and mother. My days are spent cooking and cleaning as I tend to my daughter and husband. As one who chose a family over a career and personal achievements, I seem like a sad regression of female empowerment.

Thankfully, as a Christian I am not tied to the world’s definition of success. When I start to question the importance of this life I have been given, I can find comfort that my vocation does not have to be impressive by worldly standards to be God-pleasing.

When we are commanded in the second table of the Ten Commandments to “Love our neighbors as ourselves,” that includes the people closest to us. For me, that is my husband and daughter. After all, there are many people who can work in an office or teach in a classroom, but I am the only one called to be a wife to my husband and a mother to my daughter. To be clear, I’m not saying that people like office workers or teachers can’t have God pleasing vocations, nor am I saying that mothers who stay home are better than their working counterparts. I’m only asserting that the vocation of wife and mother, often viewed by the world with scorn, is no more or no less important in God’s eyes.

And don’t think I’m immune from breaking God’s commandments. While I want to be at peace with my vocation of wife and mother, my sinful flesh often bursts through. I get angry with my husband for insignificant things (like not reading my mind). I become irritated with my daughter when her needs encroach into my “me” time (I mean, is it too much to expect to get a tight eight hours of sleep with a newborn? It is? Oh). I selfishly want only to think about my wants and forget about the duties I have. Thanks be to God that I am forgiven for these sins through Christ Jesus!  

So you’re having a baby? The journey of motherhood is often not glamorous. From the vulnerability of pregnancy to the pain of labor, from the exhaustion of long nights to the monotony of daily tasks, there is little worldly success in rearing a child. However, take comfort in knowing that your work in motherhood is worthwhile because you are serving our smallest neighbors. By this service, we reflect God’s love for us onto our children.

Oh, and baby snuggles are pretty great as well.   


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Katy Peperkorn has been a daughter and sister since the 80s, a wife since 2010, and a mother since 2014. In addition to spending time with her husband, daughter, and two cats, Katy enjoys reading, baking, and drinking coffee. She writes about life’s absurdities and draws laughably terrible illustrations at An Illustrated Parsonage Life.

Image: "The Dutch Housewife" by Gerrit Dou, 1650

5 comments:

  1. My vote is for you to go to the reunion. :)

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  2. . . . whate'er I be,
    Nor I nor any man that but man is
    With nothing shall be pleased, till he be eased
    With being nothing.

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  3. A beautiful life, example and vocation.

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  4. You certainly don't need a paycheck to validate your vocations of wife and mother. Also, your education isn't a waste. Again, you don't have to earn money to validate it! I was very pregnant with my second child at my 10 year reunion. I went and had fun (even though the majority of classmates didn't have kids yet!).

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  5. Someday, I will have the courage to introduce myself as my husband's kept woman. I hope I will also remember to have my phone camera on standby so I can snap a photo of the face of the person to whom I say this.

    ReplyDelete

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