As she bent to examine my child, the health professional,
making small talk, asked what I do.
"I'm a wife and the mother of nine children."
"She blogs," piped the child helpfully.
"You blog?" inquired the examiner. "What do you blog about?"
"Catholic family life - mothering, cooking, cleaning,
" I faded, weakly watching the
expression on her face.
"People read that stuff? There's an actual audience for that?
Really? Who has time for that stuff?"
Perhaps I should do a piece on manners and send her the link.
Courtesy aside, her comments had me thinking. Who doesn't
have time for "that stuff?" She should make time - not
necessarily time for what I publish, but certainly time to
consider those topics. The woman who "doesn't have time" has
three young children and a husband. My question easily could
have been, "Do you ever read and think about how you live
your primary vocation? Do you ever want encouragement in
living it well?"
She went on to talk about her job and her husband's job and
their houses and the general busyness of her life. She was in
pursuit. She was answering a call. Clearly, working out a
better laundry system wasn't taking up a lot of brain space.
I glanced at my lap. There was a book about restlessness and
seeking God's will and answering God's call with something
daring and big. It was not a book about serving God in the
cleaning of toilets and the folding of clothes. Sighing just
a little, I pulled an old receipt from my purse and began to
menu plan on the back of it.
I'm on a mission from God. I'm living a vocation. And
sometimes, both in circles of faith and outside circles of
faith, the vocation to be a wife and mother can be one met
with skepticism and even disdain. It can be one where a woman
at the center of her home feels very lonely.
The church knows the isolation and alienation of women
committed to creating home. God calls us - calls with a clear
and urgent voice - to have time for "that stuff." It is our
In our own time, in a world often alien and even hostile to
faith, believing families are of primary importance as
centers of living, radiant faith (Catechism of the Catholic
Church, No. 1656).
That sounds like something big for God. That family doing
something of great importance lives in a home. Lots of things
happen there - adults and children alike learn about
relationships and work and leisure and love and forgiveness.
Is there anywhere in the world more important than the home?
It's not just a place to hang your hat or rest your head
before you go somewhere important. It is somewhere important.
It is here that the father of the family, the mother,
children, and all members of the family exercise the
priesthood of the baptized in a privileged way "by the
reception of the sacraments, prayer and thanksgiving, the
witness of a holy life, and self-denial and active charity."
Thus the home is the first school of Christian life and "a
school for human enrichment." Here one learns endurance and
the joy of work, fraternal love, generous - even repeated -
forgiveness, and above all divine worship in prayer and the
offering of one's life. (catechism, No. 1657)
If all those things are to happen at home, someone had better
have time to think about "that stuff." Even if she is called
to work outside her home, she is still called to make home.
This work at home is not something we do to pass the time
while we wait for Him to call us to something more, something
greater. This is the more. These children in our midst, the
ones that sleep horizontally in the middle of our beds, the
ones that sit in the minivan as we drive to dance class, the
ones who really need to tell us all about it at 10 p.m., they
are the holy calling.
We really do need to make time for "that stuff."
Foss, whose website is elizabethfoss.com, is a freelance
writer from Northern Virginia.