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Elaine Sinnott shares her thoughts about the countercultural nature of motherhood and the beauty of living our vocation as mothers.

From Terrified of Kids to Mother of Seven 

I have been listening to Lisa Cotter’s Feminine Genius course on the Hallow App lately (highly recommend), and in the fourth class, she talks about the qualities of the Feminine Genius in Saint John Paul II's Letter to Women, one of them being maternity. 

At one point in the course, she mentioned the qualities and asked us to talk to God about which one we resonated with the most. Maternity stuck out to me instantly, most likely since I am a mother of seven. But as I sipped my coffee, looking out the window as the sun was rising (and all the kids were somehow miraculously still asleep—seriously that never happens!), and thought about how maternity resonated with me, I chuckled as I thought back to how I was as a teenager who was afraid of kids and avoided them at all costs. Our culture had me viewing children as an annoyance. 

Then I also pondered about how amazing one’s life can change when one allows God to take control. 




The Lies of Today’s Culture 

[Women] are relational beings at the core, and if we as women neglect our gifts, our families and communities will disintegrate. 

There is a harmful cultural message delivered to women that suggests that a life of self-sacrifice through motherhood or caring for others is less valuable than one marked by productivity and achievement. This has caused our society to devalue what Saint John Paul II described as the Feminine Genius, our unique ability to create room for the other, to see people and their value not because of what they do, but for who they are. (Lisa Brenningkmeyer, Ordering Your Priorities)

It all comes down to this: today’s culture completely tears down eternal work, which includes godly motherhood.  

Wayne Muller says “a ‘successful’ life has become a violent enterprise” and I believe this hurried lifestyle is a threat to the Feminine Genius that the Heavenly Father has instilled in us. 




Being Countercultural 

With twelve years of experience as a wife and mother, I can see why the enemy wants to keep women from motherhood, why he wants to glorify achievement and productivity over wiping runny noses, singing lullabies, and changing dirty diapers.  

Because with each new runny nose, I grew closer to God.  

With the birth of each child, I acquired more qualities of the feminine genius (like sensitivity, intuition, receptivity, among others).

As I became a mother over and over again, my heart expanded in love for my children, for my husband (I fell in love with him more each time), and for others. I resonated with more people and became way more compassionate than I was as a teenager. Much suffering has come with this vocation, yes, but suffering only leads to more compassion for more people and their circumstances.  

We are not put on this earth to live for ourselves—that is not the Christian way. 

The enemy has convinced many that this holy pathway is instead a prison. But the truth is if we do not follow our holy pathways set before us, planned by God as our entrance to Heaven, we will become like the two high priests who passed the man left for dead on the side of the road instead of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). 

I learned that motherhood is my pathway to Jesus and has led me to incredible people along that path so far. 




A Lonely, Beautiful Offering 

Motherhood can also sometimes feel like it doesn’t count for God, especially when you can log onto social media and easily see other lives being lived. But one day as I was thinking about religious life, it occurred to me motherhood is a hidden life, just like some religious. Our religious have their own mission fields and I realized my mission field is in the chaos.  

It can be a lonely life, and I often feel forgotten. I’m sure many mothers can relate to this!  

But I then try to remember those feelings aren’t Truth; instead, it’s the enemy trying to devalue the important eternal work I am doing! Discouragement is a powerful tool of his. 

Motherhood, this vocation, requires MUCH endurance! It’s completely exhausting at times. Sleep deprivation is especially no joke. I am not a nice person when I am up with a baby for hours in the middle of the night. 

But, dear friends, Who better to live for, to be exhausted for, than the Lord? What a great opportunity as an offering to Him! A beautiful, messy offering. 




God’s Accompanying Hand 

God has gifted mothers with incredible qualities in each season of motherhood, gifts that can bring others to Jesus through the feminine genius. It’s like those qualities are awakened within us as we grow closer to God. 

The reality of my calling wasn’t anything I expected, like the level of chaos involved in our daily life, the almost non-existent time alone, the homeschooling life. But this calling has drawn me out of myself and allowed the Savior to sit on the throne of my heart rather than myself. 

Motherhood has made me more selfless and more appreciative of the little things, like the warmth of a fire in our home each cold night in the winter, the hot cup of coffee as I begin the school day with my kids, and holding my husband’s hand in the car as we are traveling somewhere.  

These God-given gifts are little joys along the way to brighten our days, a little love note saying, “You’re doing AMAZING!” from our Father above.  


Click to tweet:
Motherhood is my pathway to Jesus and has led me to incredible people along that path so far. #CatholicMom


What gifts has God placed along your path in motherhood? What little “love notes” do you notice from Him as you do your own eternal work in raising your saints? 

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Copyright 2024 Elaine Sinnott
Images: Canva