More inflammatory rhetoric, on this boring, boring Saturday.
There is never a good time for a mother to return to “the workforce.” Children are far louder about needing you when they are babies, but they never stop needing you. They merely become a lot more polite about expressing how terribly they need you the older they get.*
Yes, there comes a point when children no longer need help doing the more banal tasks of being alive. (Someday, I will not have to summon the sitzfleisch for toilet training! HOO-FREAKING-RAY!) But there is never a day when suddenly a child can accomplish by himself the terrible and the beautiful tasks given all men to accomplish. There is never a day when a child, boy or girl, man or woman, stops needing his mother, not to coddle and coo, but just to be there. The child needs his mother as a structure needs its pillars, and as the ocean needs its boundaries.
A daughter never stops wanting her mother, especially if that daughter is blessed to become a mother herself, as everyone here well understands. A daughter, be she married or virgin, never stops needing the consolation and shelter of her mother’s voice, presence, and help. There is never a good time for a mother to take on work that interferes with her ability to be a blessing and help to her adult daughters and to be fully a grandmother.
A man will leave his mother and father and hold fast to his wife, and in things both salient and subtle a good wife supplants a good mother in the life of a man. Thanks be to God. Even so, a man never stops being his mother’s son. If a mother takes work that interferes with her sons’ lives and happiness and well-being, then so much the worse for everyone. If a mother takes on work that makes her relationships with her daughters-in-law unnecessarily strained, that mother has cut and cauterized those heartstrings that once held her sons.
You absolutely cannot have it all. Should you go scrabbling after a sense of worth, you will find yourself begging for scraps of love in all the wrong places. Stay home, even when your house is empty. They need you there.
Yes, this being there, this being a mother, is a cross for women. Being a woman is a much bigger deal than all that is stored up for fire would have you believe. But this being doesn’t look like much. It looks like years and years of patient waiting, of quietly resisting the erosion of your body and mind, and a lot of missed chances to contribute to the Social Welfare. It means submitting to being consumed and being all things to all your own people, instead of one comfortable blip to a myopic People that just barely exists. It means reflecting however imperfectly the Church who gave you birth unto life everlasting, until your days accumulate in the death of your flesh to the glory of your soul. But, look: we Christians know what to do with crosses. We do not flee from them. We do not decorate them with flowers, soak them in essential oils, and put them in storage to be borne when we have the inclination. We pick them up, splinters and all, when they’re given to us, trusting in Christ who promises that His yoke is easy and His burden light.
Regardless of what she does with her life, the Christian mother never ceases to be a mother to her children. Children are made to thrive in the warmth of a mother’s faithful, long-suffering obedience to Christ (and her faithful repentance of failure), even when that mother draws down a paycheck. But, think it over. Your children want you when they're small; they will want you even when they’re grown and busy and distracted (sinners are we all, and thus do we take for granted that which is best for us). And when the times comes for you to leave your children on their own, when your angel comes to bear you unto the bosom of Abraham, knowing that you wait beyond all shadows with the angels and archangels for that glorious Day wherein you will breathe again and be reunited to your people—that even in death you have not ceased to be their mother—gives your children courage to mourn as those who have hope. They will not stop needing you, even then. Be alive for them while you can.
*Again, I know there are Reasons why some of you cannot be home, and that those reasons are good. Especially you, dear friend whom I love. Christ redeems my "good works" right along with yours, that we might have no cause to fret. Thanks be to God.