Genuine Motherhood


Karen Gempel // Genius of the Call

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June 5  

Last week in conversation, I learned a new word: Tradwife. Defined by Dictionary.com, tradwife is “a married woman who chooses to be a homemaker as primary occupation and adheres to or embodies traditional femininity.” 

The next day, I happened upon a famous TV talk show host interviewing a tradwife about her lifestyle.

The young, preternaturally beautiful guest was an Internet influencer popular on Instagram and Tik Tok. On the Internet, I found a mixture of anger and praise for this particular woman, and then I discovered other tradwife influencers – indeed, a whole subculture of women who’d taken up the banner!  The community’s responses to these other influencers were much the same—either rage or rapture. 

This approach of espousing the ideal wife and mother as soft and submissive is not new, even in modern times. In 1963, a Mormon mother of eight named Helen Andelin wrote a book called Fascinating Womanhood, that enshrined the submissive, smiling, and ever-understanding wife and mother as a model of happiness for the American family. The book flew off the shelves, and to this day is a best seller. 

Radical feminist Betty Friedan, whose book The Feminine Mystique, was published the same year, proclaimed, ‘The feminine mystique has succeeded in burying millions of American women alive.’  

I asked my grown daughters their opinions:

Isn’t it strange that internet tradwives preach dependence on a husband’s paycheck and a willingness to sacrifice their careers when every click of rage bait or hoorays are making them money?’

Maybe the woke left planted them as a strategy!’

‘They are playing a role. Who knows what they’re really like?

Doesn’t everyone know by now that 9-5 is 9-5, but motherhood never ends?

As Catholic women and mothers, we should be on guard against the twin trains to nowhere that usher in angry feelings that we’ve been cheated somehow, or else lead us down a sunny path of easy fixes if we could just be a little more _______. You can fill in the blank. There are so many choices, so many trains leaving the station.

There is a greater truth that overarches all the chatter.  We know that Jesus’ invitation to the Way brought him to the cross, and his followers often met with death and hardship. We must educate our children about both meaningless prophets and hell-raisers, and lovingly lead them to the truths ever present in the Trinity—of sacrificial love and genuine respect for the human person made in God’s image (and this includes our husbands and children)

We Catholic mothers are strong women, women whose lamps stay lit, who lead our families principally by Christ’s and Mary’s examples of sacrificial love. 

Proclaim the Genius & Share!
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