Celebrating the work of mothers

By Joseph Sunde

In a stunning new video, Matt Bieler strings together beautiful images and a few simple words to celebrate the work of three stay-at-home moms from three different regions of the country.

The tasks shown, like those of any mother, are numerous and varied, and those explicitly mentioned follow accordingly: breakfast-maker, sibling caretaker, teacher, cleaner, doctor, angel. “She’s with me all the time,” one child whispers.

In our celebration of work — the dignity it brings, the service it provides, the provision it leads to — how often do we neglect to remember that which is spent outside the confines of the office or the interwebs? Our modern way of thinking about “work-life balance” doesn’t help us in this regard, encouraging us to draw false divides between the punch clock and the playroom, even when, as any parent knows, the work of the latter is often far more consuming and less forgiving.

But also, how fulfilling and fruitful it is, and what a blessing to watch the heart, head, and hands of a mother put in the service of her children. Whittaker Chambers once wrote that his neat-and-tidy rationalist ideology “crumbled at the touch of a child.” Likewise, all my lofty notions about what drives the ever-expanding economic order continue to be shaped  by the touch of  a mother.

Each parent plays his or her unique role in the raising of children. But speaking as both a son and a father of three who loves to hug and teach and play with his kids as much the next, there is a distinct contribution from mothers that I continue to marvel at — a mysterious, maternal, nurturing force that, when poured out to the fullest, represents a profound picture of sacrifice and service unlike any other.

If work at the factory has meaning, this most certainly does, instilling a heavy dose of that little thing that holds society together: love.

From Acton PowerBlog. Image: “The Lacemaker,” Emile Jacques.  Courtesy of the Grohmann Museum at the Milwaukee School of Engineering.

About Acton Institute

The Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty is named after the great English historian, Lord John Acton (1834-1902). Inspired by his work on the relation between liberty and morality, the Acton Institute seeks to articulate a vision of society that is both free and virtuous, the end of which is human flourishing. To that end, the Institute engages in research, publishing, documentary film production, engagement with the media, and organizes seminars aimed at educating religious leaders, business executives, entrepreneurs, university professors, and academic researchers. Acton promotes sound economic thinking and an awareness of the moral underpinnings necessary for a free society.


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