I’m not a traditional mother. You see, I didn’t come into motherhood with rounded belly, doctor’s visits, showers, and nursery rhymes. I came into it through interviews, contract signings, and training manuals.
I currently work as a cottage parent and support staff at our local children’s home. We care for over 60 children, some placed in our care privately and some through the state.
Every nine days, I care for an amazing group of little women. Every nine days, I’m a mom. The rest of the time, I’m a single, twenty-seven year old woman with a cat. When one of my close friends emailed me about participating in this blog tour, I was hesitant. I still have a hard time identifying myself as a mother. I think of mothers as women far more adultier than me, far more learned in the art of nurturing than my experience in museum programming and children’s church leading has prepared me for.
The High Calling of Motherhood by Chimene Shipley Dupler was definitely written for an audience of traditional moms in two parent homes, but the book definitely has words of wisdom and encouragement for all moms.
This book definitely does a great job of edifying motherhood. In this day and age, motherhood can sometimes be viewed as an escape or an easy job compared to the dog-eat-dog professional world. Dupler clearly shows that the stakes are high in motherhood, the pressure is on, and the results are long lasting and life-changing. It is the OPPOSITE of an easy job. She also warns her readers to communicate with the Lord daily (ahem…moment by moment) about their families, their children, and the future. The book’s position that every moment of our child’s life gives us the chance to impact and change them forever really made me re-think how I deal with my baby girls every nine days. Sure, I am just one of many influences in their lives–some of which seem overwhelmingly negative and traumatic, but I can make a difference.
The chapter that I enjoyed the most was Chapter Five–Royalty: Understanding Who We Are in Christ. I loved how she touched on mother’s identities as individuals, handmade by their Creator, because in moments, The High Calling of Motherhood seemed to advocate that a woman’s identity is solely found in motherhood. This chapter was refreshing, and it seemed to highlight that women are made as individuals first–before they are daughters to their fathers, wives to their husbands, and mothers to their children. I believe that it is important for a woman to have a rock-solid identity in Jesus. From personal experience, I know how devastating it can be to have your identity based on anything else! Sure, I am a “mom,” but I’m also so much more than a role in a family. I am the Daughter of the King.
I disagreed with Dupler in her tone regarding identity sometimes, and I also disagreed with her when she discussed schooling our children. The way that it was written seemed to look down at women who choose to send their children to school outside the home. She writes:
If you choose to send your child to school outside the home, it is at this moment, normally around age five or six, that you are passing the baton and giving someone else the power of influence and time with your child.
I don’t really have the choice as to whether to homeschool or send my kiddos to school, but for other mothers in traditional settings, I’m sure it is a hard choice that financial feasibility often dictates. Yes, other people will influence your child, but why does that have to be a negative thing? Children can also make new friends and experience other cultures and backgrounds when they are educated outside of the home.
I also disagreed with The High Calling of Motherhood when it in one part discussed a teenager with anxiety. Dupler wrote that the anxiety was a symptom of issues at home and issues between the mom and dad. Sometimes, this is the case. Some of the children in my care experience anxiety, anger, depression, fear, etc. because of their home life. However, I have struggled with anxiety most of my life and I come from a Christian home with a mom and dad who have always loved me and loved each other. Sometimes your children just struggle–and it is nothing you did or didn’t do. We are individuals living in a fallen world and our brains and bodies exist in this fallen world too.
Overall, I found The High Calling of Motherhood to be an encouraging call to action. Dupler admonishes mothers to be aware of their power and significance in their families and the culture at large. She makes it clear that we are game-changers because we are raising world-changers. We are shaping hearts and minds. We are impacting the future.