Dorothy Pilarski's new book, “Motherhood Matters,” reflects a growing need for the vocation to be respected and appreciated in modern society.
“Our culture and economy, by making mothers too busy to care for their own children, has almost obliterated the sacredness of the mother,” Pilarski told CNA on Nov. 1.
We “put too much pressure on mothers,” she added, and are “squeezing out” a woman's “very nature, her dignity.”
Released in August, “Motherhood Matters” (Catholic Register Books, $14.99) is a collection of inspirational stories, prayers and quotes to encourage Catholic mothers.
“It is similar to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series in that the reader can pick and choose stories based on titles that intrigue them,” she explained.
Pilarski said that the motivation for writing the book came from her own reflections in hosting a Catholic mothers group in her home for the past 15 years.
“We meet monthly, starting off with the rosary and then have a speaker and then herbal teas, cookies and chatting,” she said. “Many graces came to me as a result of this mother's group.”
“In between the meetings I would be inspired to write letters to the mothers on my e-mail distribution list. Inspirations would come to me and I wanted to share them with other moms.”
Pilarski also said that she was encouraged to share what she has learned about motherhood by how she was raised by her own mother.
“(My mother) stressed that children were a gift from God, that the most important job a mother had was to pass down the Catholic faith from one generation to the next—and that a mother was in the privileged position to do exactly both of those,” she said.
“For many years I looked forward to having children—the thought of not looking after them never occurred to me since my own mother always stressed that a child's early years would affect them their entire lives.”
However, Pilarski said that when she had her first child, she was “startled” by what she began to notice around her.
“It seemed like my suburb was stranded during the day. There were all of these beautiful houses, but no children and no mothers,” she said. “It struck me odd that while we had these incredible homes, there was nobody home to actually at home to create a home.”
“Women were driving in and out of their neighborhoods leaving at the crack of dawn,” she recalled, “and coming back late in the evenings. I kept on thinking of all of the ironies of working so hard, but not having the time or children to actually relish in a family life.”
Pilarski remembers there being more nannies and daycares watching children than mothers where she lived.
“It really seemed eerie that many women who their entire lives looked forward to getting married and having children were giving up that privilege to a paid provider.”
The author observed that this dynamic can be traced to the basic problem that “motherhood is not valued in today's world.”
“The very thought that a mother is expected to have a baby and almost immediately go back to work is a clear indication that we are not valuing the mother,” she said.
“As a culture we are saying that it really doesn't matter who watches our children, so long as it's being cared for—that's all that matters. The mother child bond was not meant to be brokered into a financial transaction. The mother child bond is sacred and we as a culture have secularized it.”
She noted that many of the decisions families make in modern society “are based on the 'almighty' dollar.”
“Often when I ask moms why they are not watching their own children, they say, 'Do the math.' But there is more to family life than the bottom line, isn't there?”
Pilarski said her book challenges “our current North American cultural model of motherhood” and asks the reader “to prayerfully consider motherhood as a vocation a call from God.”