Escape from Motherhood

Motherhood. You don't have to be a psychologist to know that quality of mothering is crucial to every human. It can make or break children.

The mother-relationship is a most important relationship in every human being's life. Her character, personality, and method of child rearing have more influence on a child than all other forces combined.

As writer Rita Kramer of the New York Times magazine put it:

"It's in this relationship that the child begins to develop security and trust - a good feeling about himself and a sense that the world is worth moving out into and exploring."

Yet despite its basic, top-level importance, lots of mothers escape from mothering. The symptoms are all around us. It's a most disturbing deterioration of our time.

We see it reflected today in growing numbers.

Women not wanting children. Inability of mothers to communicate with their children. Unhappiness of the children.

Growing teenage drug problem. Increase in youth suicides and runaways. Vandalism. Teen promiscuity and crime.

I'm reminded of a 33-year-old mother who fled to another country to pursue an affair and a career. She left behind a 4-year old daughter and two teenage son and daughter.

Prior to her retreat, she became an agent of an entertainment company. In her business, she worked with a director and actors and actresses with loosened restraints on sexual impulses.

And so that's where her retreat from motherhood took root in fertile ground. Her degeneration of sexual morals and a new career philosophy made mothering a drag for her.

Obviously, popular culture, media, and society play a role here. They exert great influence on women's attitudes toward the value of motherhood.

Fidelity, maternity, and family values are curbed in favor of materialism, romanticism, and sexual "free love" alternate lifestyle.

But these polluted cultural values and repressions - beside personal factors - have little to do with what is real. They're lies we tell ourselves. They damage mothers. They ruin lives.

Good mothering then needs adequate psychological, emotional, and spiritual support to make it thrive. From God. From men. From family. From media. From culture and society.

Psychologist Dr. Eric Fromm writes,

"The mother-child relationship is paradoxical and, in a sense, tragic. It requires the most intense love on the mother's side, yet this very love must help the child grow away from the mother, and to become fully independent."

Our next generations depend on healthy mothering. The survival of humankind and civilization hangs on it.