It seems peculiar to our time that we have so many more ways to amuse ourselves, and so much more time in which to do it. As the average age of American first-time mothers increases, so do the years in which women are independent adults, working but in most cases unencumbered. Pleasing yourself, setting your own routines, always seeking what is interesting—these things aren’t necessarily sinful. But they are hard to give up. We have so little experience in enduring boredom for the sake of someone else’s good.
I don’t know how to solve these problems for other women. It seems useless to protest that, despite everything, staying at home can be a reward in itself. How to persuade someone else that my growing satisfaction with my occupation is anything more than a quirk of my personality?
Yet I wish I could convey it. Like so many other full-time mothers I have learned the obvious: for my children, not just anyone will do. Even the best teacher, the kindest day care worker, cannot replace me, my attentive presence. No matter how closely someone may agree with me and my husband, she cannot guide and nurture our children as we can. No one else can parent our children. It is God’s gift to me and to John, ours alone.
If we care about how our country’s children are raised, and who raises them, I think this point is where we have to start. And may He who turns the hearts of the fathers toward their children bless all parents, in all walks of life. It is the toughest job we’ll ever love.
-- Sibyl Niemann