I spent Saturday doing something wonderful: leading a retreat for mothers of young children. Our time together included conversation, laughter, prayer, and lots of good food. Part of the retreat focused on ways to simplify our lives. This is no easy task for women who balance the myriad details of domestic life while standing on the shifting sands of a child’s needs. The media has recently fanned the flames of a “mommy war” – one that is supposed to be taking place between those who work at home and those who hold out-of-the-house jobs. I didn’t hear any conflict between the two over the weekend. Instead, I found solidarity among women who understand that motherhood is a 24/7 commitment.
We also discussed motherhood as a vocation. Since the word is connected to the Latin vox, I asked them to reflect on what voice they want their children to hear and remember. The responses were rich and varied. Some hoped for voices of strength and affirmation. Others talked about the desire for warmth, love, and patience. Someone wanted her child to remember her “tucked-into-bed” voice, which is calm and soothing. Another noted that she longed for her voice to lessen so that silence could foster an attitude of listening on the part of both mother and child.
We could all take a lesson from these wise women about the value of calming, compassionate voices. It’s, in essence, what the voice of God must sound like, if we’ll simply stop and pay attention.