In a recent article in "The Atlantic," Jessica Valenti wrote about motherhood and "not wanting kids." Ellyn von Huben read the article and sympathized with the sentiment, but not the celebration of this state-of-mind. Through an introspective look at her own path to motherhood, Ellyn highlights the self-sacrificing beauty of this vocation, something to be embraced on any path to true happiness.
My family knows by now that I can’t approach any situation without finding some sort of comic relief. For instance, I left work early two weeks ago to pick up my son from the hospital after he had been hospitalized suddenly in the course of a routine physical the day before. Once we were in the car and the usual wisecracking was going on, I pointed to the Safe Haven logo [Illinois' Safe Haven law was written to provide a safe alternative to abandonment for Illinois parents who feel they cannot cope with a newborn baby] and told the young man that I was under the impression that I was free to drop him off if he didn’t shape up. Already kind of an old joke, since I had said the same thing to his sisters the night before in the ER. Some joke. I’m scared to death about my son and then segue into a lame quip about leaving my cares behind at a safe haven.
It is truly good to see the Safe Haven logos at the local hospital. The idea of a mother being able to leave a child that she cannot care for is not new. There is a tradition of this in many cultures for centuries, and the United States has finally given mothers this option (with legalities varying from state to state) in all 50 states. The grave burdens that cause a mother to know that she cannot parent her child are eased by the opportunities for these children to live - to avoid the sentence of abortion, murder or abandonment to the elements. Our Church’s own St. Vincent de Paul installed a ‘baby hatch’ in one of his foundling homes in the early 17th century. Despite the history of these options, people today have become more comfortable with abortion and find leaving a tiny baby to be well cared for as the bizarre option. All of this shows that outer strife and inner conflict over childbearing has always been with us...
On the Feast Day of St. Anthony of Padua, patron saint of lost items, Kerry Trotter reflects on the increased frequency with which she could his help.
Mondays aren’t normally my sharpest days.
But this one hit an all-time dull.
I had just hoisted my daughter from her booster seat, fresh off a mac-and-cheese lunch, and was gearing up for that delightfully contented hour of play before naptime. She was happy, I was happy, and we were simply reveling in our togetherness when the serpentine unease of a forgotten thought slithered into my head.
You know, the thought that should have slithered in hours earlier but was suspended in the muck of my brain matter, clogged with so many work deadlines and Elmo songs.
I was supposed to have lunch with a friend today. In fact, an hour before.
I had completely—I mean, completely—forgotten about it.
Panicked, I leaped to my feet and ran to the computer. An email waited...
Today, Word on Fire contributor Ellyn vonHuben examines the sanctity of parenthood, and how technology, culture and convenience can dull its blessed significance.
Few in the greater Chicago area have not heard of the city’s attempt to turn back the horrific tide of young murder victims by establishing more stringent curfews. I am surprised that we have not heard those TV announcements that were once common: “It’s eleven o’clock. Do you know where your children are?” Those announcements perplexed me as a teenager. How could anyone escape parental omnipresence? Between Mom and Dad and the other parents with whom they were in cahoots ... everyone knew where we were.
Young people roaming big city streets aren’t the only ones who have escaped parental oversight. There is a sad group of children whose parents - mostly fathers - do not just know where they are; their parents often don’t even know they exist. I am not so naive as to think there hasn’t always been a percentage of the population whose parentage is unknown or incorrectly attributed. Now it is more common. And it is deliberate.
"One Sperm Donor, 150 Offspring" was the headline of a recent piece in the New York Times. Beginning with a mother who searched an online registry to find half-siblings for a son conceived with donor sperm [“an extended family of sorts for modern times.”] and discovering 150 half-brothers and sisters, we are given an ‘inconceivable’ picture of the results of an amoral industry lacking legal regulation...
Today, Ellyn von Huben takes a closer look at the increasingly pervasive discussion prompted by the "Tiger Mother" and her unique style of parenting. Below, read Ellyn's thoughts on whether or not "Chinese Mothers are Superior."
I doubt that there have been many lagging conversations happening in the past three weeks. Any silent gaps are filled with “So what do you think of all this Tiger Mother stuff?” Amy Chua’s Wall Street Journal essay “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior” has set off a controversy that can’t be avoided.
Chua launches this encapsulation of her memoir, The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, with the admission that “a lot of people wonder how Chinese parents raise such stereotypically successful kids.” I wonder. And I have to figure that my two [superlatives redacted for brevity’s sake] half Chinese granddaughters - whose father is a stereotypically overachieving first generation ABC (American Born Chinese) - have it half made, right? Maybe. Maybe not...