“Mother Culture” represents my three main goals for the group:
1. To Revive Christian Culture
The term mother culture can be used in reference to “parent culture”. Culture is sort of a loaded word and I don’t want to get into a philosophical discussion about what defines a culture. However, I think it is fair to say that Christianity is not meant to be compartmentalized into something that only happens on Sunday. There was sort of perfect storm in the 60s and 70s: the aftermath of Vatican II, the rise of women in the work force, secularization of schools, isolation of the nuclear family etc. I am not saying all of this was necessarily bad…but in the chaos of these major social changes some of the traditions of the Church were lost. So, in a sense learning to live liturgically is recovering the lost traditions of our “Mother Culture”.
2. To Build a Modern Culture of Motherhood
Most of us are aware that we are in a new frontier of parenting. Technology has increased much faster than parenting wisdom. We don’t have the luxury of looking to the generations that came before us for advice about how to parent around issues of video games, social media, and youtube. As busy moms we often don’t have time to seriously consider these issues. I want to create a time and space where we can sit down and talk about it together. I don’t expect us all to reach the same conclusion or have the same opinion. My goal is for us to be confident in our parenting choices because we have actually thoughtfully and prayerfully considered our decisions.
I also want to give moms a sense of the decisions other parents in their community are making. In 5 or 10 years when my kids start asking for a phone of their own or to have latest social media app on their phone, I am sure they will claim that “all the other kids have it”… I want to actually know whether or not that is true in our community. My goal is for this group to be an antidote to the anxiety we feel when we second guess our parenting choices. If we do not want our parenting choices to be a habitual reflection of modern culture, then we need to form our own culture of motherhood that reflects our Christian culture while also acknowledges the realities of living in this time and in this place.
3. To Promote True Self-Care
“Mother Culture” is a term used historically to address our modern need for “self-care”. There was an article written for a women’s journal in 1892 entitled “Mother Culture”. Click here to read it. It is short and very good! It is really clear in reading this article that the burnout we all feel isn’t new. What is interesting is that the remedy has changed. When we think about self-care now, we think about going to target by ourselves; taking a bubble bath; getting our nails done; or, scrolling through social media while the kids play sports or on the playground. Modern “self-care” is “mother culture” reduced stollen moments of distraction. I plan for the group to talk much more about this in the future but for now I will say that distracting ourselves and zoning out for a while maybe a necessary part of self-care. Sometimes we need to do something mind numbing just to calm down and lower our cortisol levels.
However, while distraction may be necessary, it is not sufficient. The article says “there is no sadder sight in life than a mother who has so used herself up in her children’s childhood that she has nothing to give them in their youth.” The author goes on to say that there is a need for “mother culture” a time set aside when the mother can “read, and think, and remember”. The idea here is that we can’t sacrifice our minds and our interior life to our to-do list. We need new stories and ideas now to fuel the conversations we will have with our children and spouses in the future. I want this group to be a time set aside for us moms to be introduced to new ideas and be inspired to pursue a time of “reading, thinking, and remembering” on our own.