Mothers today face an onslaught of mixed messages about how best to parent in the 21st century. Podcasts, blogs, and books on mommy-ing abound, but many of them indulge regularly in shallow parenting advice and fallacies about excessive self-care or “me-time.”
In the midst of the coronavirus quarantine, moms on social media often advise diametrically opposed strategies: Take regular mental health breaks while your children gorge on Netflix, or schedule out every minute of children’s at-home education so they don’t fall behind in productivity. The message seems to be either “love yourself first” or “pour all your energy into your children’s future.”
Neither side answers the more important question: How do we mother like Jesus Christ during this particular cultural moment? In the words of an overused adage, “What would Jesus do?”
In Motherhood: A Confession, Natalie Carnes, associate professor of theology at Baylor University, attempts to answer this question by sharing her personal experience of raising three daughters. She follows the structure and style of Augustine’s autobiography, Confessions, and elevates the conversation about motherhood from the self-centered to the spiritual without ever losing touch with the beauty of the ordinary. Part memoir and part theological study, Motherhood: A Confession explores “how motherhood, infancy, and children disclose what it means to be human in relation to the divine.”
Carnes’s core argument is that mothering imitates God. We birth forth disciples, hand down tradition, and grow our children into the church. By knowing the maternal attributes of God, we better mother our own children, and we also ...1
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