First, let me begin this with the fact that I am not a theologian and I’m not trying to be. Also, I am in a hurry so I didn’t pull out my catechism or papal documents to be able to cite them for this blog post. It is just that, a blog post which means this is my own opinion based on years and years of reading Church documents and learning the teachings of the Catholic Church in the Catechism. Also, reading St. Pope John Paul II’s actual audiences on Human Love also known as Theology of the Body. At some point, I may pull them all out and write a better article on the subject, but I may not.
What I am is a woman, a mother, a wife, a writer, a storyteller and someone on fire with the love of God who wants to tell anyone who will listen what Jesus Christ, son of the Living God has done in my life. The story is amazing. I don’t just say that because it is my story but because I have lived it and have said many many times “I would not believe this if I were not living it!” because it is so crazy. People who know me in real life will tell you that it is crazy. God has done great things for me.
Like most people who God has done great things for, I am called to tell people about those things. He has given me the gifts I need to do that. One of them is writing, one is speaking and one is that I am crazy and don’t even think twice when God asks crazy things from me. Anyone who follows God will tell you that if you want to know if something is from God a good way to know is to ask if it’s crazy. Because that’s how He rolls. He asks us to do really crazy things. Like asking Mary to bear a child when she was a virgin. Even she said, “What the what?!”.
I am honored to be a mother. My children are the best things to happen to me. My oldest son Anthony saved my life. I do not know what I would have become without him. His death has taught me that being a mother is a badge of honor and something to be proud of. It is also the most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever done. Burying my son and caring for my family in the years since his suicide has not been a walk in the park. But I have done it so far and it has made me love the role of being a mother in this family. I have come to love the Blessed Mother so much in these fifteen months too.
That being said, I am not JUST a mother. Being a mother is not enough for me. Not because I destain my motherhood or my children. But because I am a human being and God created me as a whole person. That means that I have more to do than just sit and stare at my kids all day long and make my husband sandwiches. (I have a lot of opinions on the fact that as mothers and wives our role is also how to teach these people we are called to love and serve how to do shit for themselves sometimes because they are not helpless and we are not slaves, but I will spare ya’ll that rant.)
In being a whole person there are other things that I love to do and things that God has put in my heart to love to do. In Jennifer Fulwiler’s new book “One Beautiful Dream” she writes about this and calls it a “blue flame”. To me, that is the same thing as a gift God has given us and/or charisms.
What I love the most about Jen’s book is that she talks about these things that we love to do and how to incorporate them into our family’s life and how to involve our children and spouses in them. I know Jen and her husband personally and I can say that they do live this out in their real life. And it’s not just about Jen’s writing. I have known them so long that I remember when the entire family made sacrifices so that Joe, Jen’s husband, could become a CPA. My husband and I watched that and it inspired us to try and do things like that in our own family, where we all worked together for the good of this family.
My husband and I did not have shining examples of people who built their family in a stable home while living out their dreams and passions in a way that honored and served God and His plan for their lives and families. Both of us came from broken and dysfunctional homes. We both also came from poverty and a family ethic that was you work and then you die. So for Stacey and I, Jen and her husband Joe have been an example of what we want to be as parents of a family who serves God. Even the atheist kid of mine is serving God and she doesn’t even know it. Because it is infused in our family culture. I contribute that to watching Jen live out the things she writes about in her book.
Being a mother and living out the dream that God has created you for do not have to wage war on each other. In fact, that is not what God wants. God wants them to build each other up for the good of His Kingdom which begins at home with our families and then goes out into the world as a witness of what life serving God looks like.
Unless you are called to be a cloistered nun, you are not called to live a life of being in contemplation all day, every day. If you are a mother then God has given you a mission to be in this world. If He has given you the gift to write and talk and the burning desire to have a podcast and build an audience, then guess what? That means motherhood is NOT enough for you, or you would be happy to just wash dishes and stare at your children. But if you are doing these things, or painting or drawing, or telling your story on IG or doing the million other things that bring you into the world shining like the light of Christ into it, then no, motherhood is not enough for you and that is Ok. In fact, it is more than ok. It is what God has created you for. Set the world on fire with that blue flame!
Finally, I think that it is fear, envy, and jealousy that motivates us to say things like “motherhood is enough for me” when we are clearly trying to produce something of value into the world outside of that motherhood. I know this is the case for me. When I say things like that, I am speaking out of fear of not being good enough and being rejected by my peers. Of being told that I am not loved by God because I am this or that. I look at someone like Jen and I think that I could never be that. The truth is I am not going to be Jen. She is Jen. I am Leticia and I have my own mission, with my own gifts to fulfill it. I will never do that if I allow the fear, envy and jealousy to drown out the voice of God saying “Be Not Afraid!” as He asks me to do something crazy.
So to all of you women, I say this, it is ok to love to do things outside of motherhood and the vocation of being a wife. It is ok to create beautiful things and put them into the world to point to God’s beauty. It is ok to say you have a blue flame and it is not your kids. It’s ok to say that it is your kids. (by goes back and forth) But the important thing is to live out the mission God has created you for. Do not be afraid.