Are you feeling discouraged as a mother? Do you find parenting harder than anticipated? Do you feel lied to by the commercials portraying “happy” families with compliant children and joyful frolics in a field after a picnic at a park? (Cause experienced mothers can tell you how that outing really went down, there was probably a little bit of chaos at home preparing the packed lunch, a desperate hunt for someone’s lost shoe, some pushing and shoving and arguing among children as they climbed into the van, perhaps a skinned knee on the 2 year old on the way to the picnic site, and some complaining by another child about how “heavy” the lunch bag is while they ask “how much farther” they have to carry the bag.) Perhaps the endless tedious jobs of motherhood, the endless baskets of laundry, piles of dishes to be washed, and crumbs to be swept, are beginning to wear you down. To top it all off, if you are reading this post, you are also most likely a mother attempting to educate your children at home. If any of this sounds familiar, than you can join me in slowing down for a few minutes, taking a deep breath, and remembering the value of our jobs as mothers.
Yes, I know that the blog-osphere is erupting these days with “mom blogs” that praise the role of a mother and encourage us to not give up. So, why cover this topic again here? What can I add to this conversation that has already been over-talked? (And on a side note, where did mothers turn for encouragement before the internet?)
I ask the last question partly in jest, because each new generation likes think that it is the first generation to encounter specific problems, and thus are the first generation to devise solutions to those problems. However, Ecclesiastes 1:9 states that “there is nothing new under the sun.” As the world was changing at the beginning of the 20th century and women were increasingly joining the workforce, the question of the value of the role of the mother in the home with young children was being debated. So, if you are anything like me and in need of a little encouragement or vision casting, I hope you will find what you are looking for in the wise words of a woman writing over a century ago before “mom blogs” were a thing.
Charlotte Mason is not shy to defend the importance of the mother’s role, especially during a children’s early years from the very first pages of her first volume of her Original Homeschooling Series , entitled “Home Education.” She writes
“Now, that work which is of most importance to society is the bringing up and instruction of the children-in the school, certainly, but far more in the home, because it is more than anything else the home influences brought to bear upon the child that determine the character and career of the future man or woman.”
“The children are, in truth, to be regarded less as personal property than as public trusts, put into the hands of parents that they may make the very most of them for the good of society. …it is upon the mothers of the present that the future of the world depends, in even a greater degree than upon the fathers, because it is the mothers who have the sole direction of the children’s early, most impressible years.”
“ And [mothers] will take it up as their profession–that is, with diligence, regularity, and punctuality which men bestow on their professional labours.”
“That the mother may know what she is about, may come thoroughly furnished to her work, she should have something more than a hearsay acquaintance with the theory of education, and with those conditions of the child’s nature upon which such theory rests.”
So, in summary, our homes matter, the role of motherhood is important, and mothers are to view the years of early parenthood as a profession. Thus, mothers need to be equipped for this most important job. I don’t know about you, but these words bring me both encouragement and inspiration. Miss Mason elevates my view of my role in and influence upon my family while simultaneously challenging me to become better equipped for the job. After all, if we go through years of training for any other profession, shouldn’t we be trained for this profession as well? As Miss Mason says,
“It is a great thing to be a parent: there is no promotion, no dignity, to compare with it.”
My job, Miss Mason argues, is three fold;
- to not interfere with my child’s natural learning capacity (“let him be” in his “masterly inactivity“)
- to supply my child with a great array of wholesome and nourishing ideas through books, lessons, food, and love
- to engage in the “strenuous incessant efforts upon the lines of law which go to the producing of a human being at his best.”
These tasks of motherhood create an atmosphere of joy and grace as my children are accepted for who they are, create an environment of exploratory learning through the good things of this life, and foster a positive relationship between the parent and the child, all while giving the parent permission to correct and train the child in righteousness. Her ideas on the role of a mother also touch on her educational principles that ‘Children are born persons’ and thus should be provided a full and generous curriculum that allows for the Science of Relations, through the divine working of the Holy Spirit in the hearts and minds of our children. These precious little people He has gifted me with come gift wrapped in their own little bodies with minds fully capable of learning, of having deep thoughts, and of processing information. What a gift it is to be given this profession and to participate in the shaping of the future.
Dear mother,does this give you hope? Does this sound doable? It does to me!
Join me as I read and blog through the first Volume of Miss Mason’s Original Homeschooling Series entitled “Home Education.” written for those raising and educating young children (up to the age of 9).