Motherhood as Vocation – Excellent Discussion for Labor Day by Kate Harris

If you are a mother,
if you know any mothers,
if you have a mother,
if you might be a mother,
or if you might someday be married to a mother,
then you need to read “Motherhood as Vocation” by Kate Harris.

Harris wrote this piece shortly after the birth of her first child. She now has three. Prior to becoming a mother, she worked in a “very public, marketplace vocation working for leadership on Capitol Hill.”

Here’s how Harris’s article begins:

In Washington, D.C., it is only a matter of time before the kind woman standing next to me at a party will turn from talking with my husband and ask the inevitable, identity-testing, status-gauging question I have come to dread as a new and mostly stay-at-home mother.

“And what do you do?”

For blessing or curse, I live in a city and a culture that is uniquely focused on work. People come to Washington from all around the globe to make a difference in the world. And while education and experience ought to matter for much of the important work done here, as a professional nose-wiper working on an advanced degree in banana-mashing, this preoccupation with achievement can feel daunting nonetheless.

As a Christian, I find this vocational emphasis to be deeply fulfilling overall. I have come to believe, as the Reformers did, that all truth is God’s truth and all work is God’s work. Yet, in my transition from a very public, marketplace vocation working for leadership on Capitol Hill to a mostly private, familial vocation as a stay-at-home mother, I have become increasingly aware of how difficult it can be to find sufficient resources, conversations or even the vocabulary, to develop a coherent understanding and an intentional living out of this quiet, care-giving vocation that now defines the waking and working hours of my days.

I commend this fine article, which deals with many of the tricky parts of seeing motherhood as a divine calling.

  • Betsy

    Kate Harris has written in one article what I have felt for 26 years.  I will never forget going to a party in Washington, DC as a new mother (with a husband in a fairly high level job), and being asked what I do.  When I replied I was home with my baby girl, the person simply turned and walked away.  Really and truly!  I will never forget that.  I am grateful I have been able to stay home with my 3 children, and hope I have honored God in choices I have made and ways I have used my time for His kingdom.


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