So while I hope that my daughter has every choice in life, I also hope that she has the chance to be a mother. And perhaps my task now is to make sure that when she is, no one can make her feel ashamed or diminished by making that choice. I hope to teach her that baking Barbie cakes and reading "Harold and the Purple Crayon" and sitting on her child's bed listening to stories about his day even though her back feels like someone went at her with a two-by-four—are, inconsequential as they seem at first blush, the very warp and woof of a mother's life.
But, how exactly do I convey to her that whether or not a mother's seemingly inconsequential, menial tasks 'fulfill' her, nurturing children is innately good and just might surprise her fulfill-o-meter? How can I help her resist the need for affirmation from a culture that will probably never give it to her—and to embrace motherhood not as a second-class citizen, but with the kind of femininity that is paradoxically as strong as nails, as soft as a kiss?
I'm not sure. But someday, when the thumbscrews of mothering start to tighten on her, one thing I will do is remind her that despite her momentary exhaustion or discouragement, mothering remains a profoundly worthwhile undertaking, one that Chesterton calls nothing less extraordinary than "the mystery of the making of men."