"Your body is the first thing any child of man ever wanted. Therefore dispose yourself to be loved, to be wanted, to be available. Be there for them with a vengeance. Be a gracious, bending woman. Incline your ear, your heart, your hands to them.... To be a Mother is to be the sacrament - the effective symbol - of place. Mothers do not make homes, they are our home." from Bed and Board, Robert Farrar Capon

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"Only" a Mother

"They [mothers] are led, subtly but surely, to look on the mothering they do as mere necessity – even a penance – and they live as if they were reserving their real enthusiasm for something else, usually unspecified.”

- Robert Capon in Bed and Board

OUCH. How often have I thought along the lines of “Once I get the children taken care of and the housework done I’ll be able to do ______.”? Filling in the blank with some glorious, noble task which I personally enjoy and which other people can see and will praise. Really, what is more precious than loving and nurturing my children? This world has very mixed up values. Women have been demeaned, and all in the name of liberation. The vocation and gift of motherhood has been stolen from them. 

Capon goes on to write “A mother is the geographical center of her family, the body out of whom their diversity springs, the neighborhood in which that diversity begins ever so awkwardly to dance it’s way back to the true Body which is the Mother of us all. Her role then is precisely to be there for them. Not necessarily over there, just therethereness itself, if you will; not necessarily in her place but place itself.”

"Mothers do not make homes, they are home.”

Home. It is our name. When our children grow up they may not remember the color of the walls or much of what furniture was in the house, but they’ll remember a place where they felt at peace; where Mom watched over them. Like the gospel, our name and our vocation gets poured into our ears. We get to hear from God’s messengers. Rather than seeking our own happiness, we create joy for our children. We can throw ourselves into motherhood with a vengeance, knowing that taking care of each diaper, each snotty nose, and each skinned knee brings glory to God. I am not looking for a better horizon; I have been given the best horizon possible: child of God and nurturer of children of God.


  1. Liberation is what Satan promised Eve in the beginning, and he's been deceiving women with the same lie ever since. When a mother thinks she's "only a mother until she can do something important," she needs to know that through the very act of her mothering, she is declaring to the universe that God Is Good. So go ahead, all you Princess Rilians, kill the thing that killed your mother. Be there for your children with a vengeance. It's a bloody sword. Come Lord Jesus.

  2. Amen. Thank you for sharing.

  3. This brought tears to my eyes, thank you for sharing. I needed this today too.