Friday, August 03, 2007

Chesterton and Women at Home with their Children

This is an interesting article, making liberal use of a quote I particularly love of GKC's to make a good point about children needing their mothers when they are young. Now that my children are older, I wonder when "young" ends? They still seem to need me. ;-)


  1. At any rate moms never cease being moms, no matter how old their children get.

  2. Cf. GKC:

    For instance, there is that long stretch of silence in the life of Christ up to the age of thirty. It is of all silences the most immense and imaginatively impressive. But it is not the sort of thing that anybody is particularly likely to invent in order to prove something; and nobody so far as I know has ever tried to prove anything in particular from it. It is impressive, but it is only impressive as a fact; there is nothing particularly popular or obvious about it as a fable. The ordinary trend of hero-worship and myth-making is much more likely to say the precise opposite. It is much more likely to say (as I believe some of the gospels rejected by the Church do say) that Jesus displayed a divine precocity and began his mission at a miraculously early age. And there is indeed something strange in the thought that he who of all humanity needed least preparation seems to have had most. Whether it was some mode of the divine humility, or some truth of which we see the shadow in the longer domestic tutelage of the higher creatures of the earth, I do not propose to speculate; I mention it simply as an example of the sort of thing that does in any case give rise to speculations, quite apart from recognised religious speculations.
    [GKC The Everlasting Man CW2:321-2]

    But also:

    "The Clavicle has a thin epiphysis covering its sternal end. This may start to fuse at any time between the 18th and 25th years. Between the 23rd and 31st years (mostly between 26th and 29th) all undergo terminal fusion. It is the last of the long bone epiphyses to fuse."
    [Grant's Atlas of Anatomy figure 99, emphasis added]

    (Was He waiting until He was full-grown?)

    --Dr. Thursday

  3. I just blogged on this topic... yes, women are needed at home. But-- they need sanity and a life beyond the materialistic parade of 21st century "stay at home" mom activities [Costco runs, soccer practice, home sales parties, raising designer kids]. I believe that Catholic women need to pool their resources instead of adopting the "poor me; I'm the only one home in the neighborhood" attitude. Let's face it-- most stay at home moms have a college degree and some project management skills: why are they not using them to make their homes [collectively] more efficient? Instead of going insane and reading at a five year old reading level all day, why not have PARTIES and HAVE PEOPLE OVER and GET OUT OF THE HOUSE and build a community with like-minded women?

    I know way too many Catholic moms who are slowly having breakdowns because they have no support. Come on, we are educated-- probably more educated than GKC thought necessary. But have we lost the common sense needed to see that we are not using economies of scale in facing the problem of life at home?

    I'm not a mom, but I'm an aunt of 36. I'm also from a family of 10. Home life is not meant for a mom, a dad and one kid. We are social creatures and things work better when there's a crowd. It's also a lot more fun. I know about economies of scale and think most women are incredibly inefficient and self-pitying in this regard.

    And, yes, your kids need you--- but don't you need them too? They should be baking bread, doing jobs, making intelligent intellectual comments, and acting like human beings. They can come up to it, if you expect it!

  4. In other words, GKC's tribute to women "giving their all" at motherhood is not a call for women to become inefficient sado-masochists.

    I'm very sick of "mommy wars" and I think that the "mommy warriors" are more concerned about themselves than the children they purport to raise.

    Again, kids need to "grow up" [even at age 5] which means to be unselfish and giving. Instruct them to do this and don't worry so much about them needing you. We all need each other. "Man only finds himself in the sincere gift of himself" [Gaudium et Spes]

    Of course, Nancy, your kids need you. Everyone you meet needs you. That's why God put you on this earth.

    Yet-- demand the same from them. Maturity equals generosity and love.

  5. Thank you for your comments Ellen. However, I wish to say that it's very easy to look at the situation from the outside and not quite understand it.

  6. When Jesus Christ was four years old
    The angels made him toys of gold
    Which no man ever had bought or sold.

    And yet with these he would not play.
    He made him small fowls out of clay
    And blessed them till they flew away.
    Tu Chriosti, Domine.

    Jesus Christ, thou child so wise
    Bless mine heart and fill mine eyes
    And bring my soul to paradise.

    ~ Hilaire Belloc


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