Not everyone is called to have a large family but not everyone is called to be a career woman or single or a working mother. For some reason my lifestyle pushes people’s buttons; perhaps they think that I am a self-righteous fanatic or that I am condemning certain lifestyle’s or choices but this is simply not true. I stumbled and fumbled my way to discover that for me, mothering was my vocation.
I am a conundrum: a rather outmoded sort of woman, ridiculed by modern career women, vilified by the earth’s prophets of doom and sanctified by the religious right. I was the least likely candidate to have a lot of children. I had never even held a baby before my first born.You would think having nine children would have turned me into a frazzled wreck with a figure like the Pillsbury Dough Boy and a brain gone to mush, but I remain quite articulate, with a quirky sense of humour, standing at 5’1” and weighing in at 106 lbs. Not quite a rosy-cheeked, robust, matronly looking mother of a large brood.
When the words The Joy of Mothering popped into my head as a sub-title for my short stories, it was like an epiphany for me because those few words verbalize my experience living with little people. The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people. Embracing an outdated lifestyle on a traditional, small, family farm has been a struggle through confusion, guilt and even public condemnation to finally reach the point where I am at peace with my vocation.