“By definition, motherhood is that dignified and strenuous life vocation taken up by a woman who has resolved to give herself fully to the task of nurturing godly children from a godly home environment. Women who dedicate the best years of their lives to this challenging endeavor are not to be laughed at and pitied, but highly esteemed.” p. 98
Do you ever feel as if motherhood has turned your brain to mush? That your IQ has plummeted to a Baby Einstein level? That your short and long-term memory has been permanently short-circuited? That your powers of communication have been lost in a sleep-deprived fog?
Well, I’ve got good news for you: you didn’t lose your mind when you became a mom. You actually became a genius.
Author Charles Murray suggests as much in his book Human Accomplishments: a study of which human beings have accomplished the greatest things” in history. Author and pastor Kevin DeYoung recently reviewed this book on his blog, and here is his summary and an excerpt:
Murray is bold enough (or foolish enough) to consider why so few women populate his rankings. Legal and educational inequalities throughout much of history provide part of the answer. So do societal pressures and limited opportunities. But Murray offers one more explanation: motherhood. His argument has an interesting twist to it.
“Exceptions exist, but, as a rule, the experience of pregnancy and birth appears to be a more profoundly life-altering experience for women than becoming a father is for men. So closely is giving birth linked to the fundamental human goal of giving meaning to one’s life that is had been argued that, ultimately, it is not so much that motherhood keeps women from doing great things outside the home as it is men’s inability to give birth that forces them to look for substitutes” (287, emphasis mine).”
Read that last line two or three times. It is a bold argument. Could it be that motherhood, instead of preventing women from achieving some great purpose, is actually the accomplishment of something great already? It is a thought worth pondering.
Cheer up guys, at least one of your child’s parent is a genius.
I have to confess, I made sure my husband took note of Mr. DeYoung’s last line!
My fellow mothers: may this encourage us to stay focused on our God-given task. May it reinforce our commitment to ignore the “shouts from the cultural sidelines” that would seek to persuade us that our life’s meaning is measured only by what we accomplish outside the home. May we gladly give the best years of our life to the “dignified vocation” of motherhood, remembering the words of our Savior: “The greatest among you shall be your servant” (Matt. 23:11).