My dad has been here all week and he has been a witness to my lack of sitting. Or rather being forced to sit in order to eat and nurse, but otherwise I don't really sit until people are long in bed. My vocation is to be a wife and to be a mother. It is a job that isn't rewarded with money but with the intangibles.
My father told me that he was glad that my mother spend 7 years away from her career to stay at home with us. He thought and still thinks that that was the best choice.
I'm not saying this come down on those of us who are not called to be SAHMs. I think there are many types of mothers and they have various callings. From my vantage point, I am limited in the amount of good I can do in the world. Many mothers who work away from home have the advantage of spreading the faith out to those they work with. They also have the advantage of making motherhood appealing.
I'm also not saying that SAHMs don't get that opportunity. Certainly I am out in the public sphere, children in tow. My opportunities aren't as frequent. I get them through my husband and I get them through this blog. I make motherhood appealing as a vocation in a different way.
So to me, the HHS mandate brouhaha is not only an awful thing that God has allowed, but that God in his infinite wisdom has turned into good. It is uniting and it gives us more opportunities for evangelizing. From my tiny perch on this computer chair, I see that this SAHM who is in relative obscurity from the world is now being a voice, an evangelizer for the Church. In my minds eye, I am converting souls all with the click of my mouse. This makes me feel good because it is doing the Lord's work on a larger scale.
On a smaller scale, as moms we are also called to evangelize in our own domestic church. And I try my best on a daily basis. My oldest has recently figured out that we pray before dinner and he says Amen (albeit with prompting). I'm not sure he'll be able to memorize it since it's not a song, but I imagine in the future he'll get there. Even if it takes one word at time.
As for this HHS mandate thing, we as Catholics need to speak out against it at every available opportunity. And as mothers (or fathers), it's all the more important. Because the HHS mandate is just one facet in the war against parenthood, it's all the more apparent that parents need to shout loudly that being a parent is just as fine as not being one. It's odd to me that the Bishops, who aren't parents in a traditional sense, are being mouth pieces. Why aren't more moms and dads standing up? This isn't just a religious freedom issue. This is an issue about the right to be a parent. In some small ways, our rights as families are slowly being eaten. There are grocery stores that ban children during certain hours. Is this right? Should we exclude the youngest among us?
Furthermore, what about our Church in the west? Why is that we are decrying birthcontrol and uplifting parenthood if we get angry about loud children during Mass? Why is it that we banish them to cry rooms and to child care? Should they be up there too? Why aren't they welcomed by the Church at large? I read a book passage that described that these monks, living in the harshest environment, welcomed children at Mass so much so that the children were allowed to run around and even under their robes!
If we want to start walking the walk as a Church, I think the next two important steps are 1) more Catholic parents need to voice there thoughts on the HHS mandate and 2) our parishes need to be more child-friendly.
The HHS mandate isn't about withholding women's rights or entirely about religious rights. It's also about the rights of families.
(Thanks Joe, for the Video!)