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Motherhood: The World’s Toughest Job?

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The work of mothers is some of the most remarkable work to behold. Family is the “school of life” and the “nursery of love,” as Herman Bavinck describes it, and in turn, the stewardship of love and life involves far more than a simple set of tasks, chores, and responsibilities.

Motherhood is indeed far more than a “job,” as Rachel Lu recently reminded us. And yet, by comparing it to other occupations, we might begin to get a sense of how true that statement actually is.

In a recent ad for Mother’s Day, a greeting card company did precisely that:

As the video aptly demonstrates, mothers steward their children and families in ways that stretch far beyond the logic of basic transactional services. Motherhood involves far more than child-bearing, supervision, and meal-making. Work has meaning and transcendent purpose across all spheres, but mothers bear distinct burdens, sow distinct seeds of nurture and love, and yield distinct fruits that spread across civilization. The work of mothers sets the stage for the rest of us, and they sacrifice all for that great and mysterious cause.

As Evan Koons puts it in For the Life of the World, “Family is the first and foundational ‘yes’ to society, because it is the first and foundational ‘yes’ to our nature — to pour ourselves out like Christ, to be gifts, to love.” Mothers are the fountains of such gift-giving, helping us to not only survive and succeed for ourselves, but teaching us about our true natures and pointing us outward to others and unto God.

This Mother’s Day, let us remember and thank our mothers for the work they’ve invested and the sacrifices they’ve made — for being devoted, wise, and generous, and for pouring out a miraculous love that points the way to Christ.

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Joseph Sunde is an associate editor and writer for the Acton Institute. His work has appeared in venues such as The Federalist, First Things, The Christian Post, The Stream, Intellectual Takeout, Foundation for Economic Education, Patheos, LifeSiteNews, The City, Charisma News, The Green Room, Juicy Ecumenism, Ethika Politika, Made to Flourish, and the Center for Faith and Work. Joseph resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and four children.

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