I was stunned and thrilled to read that Danielle Bean has been named editor of Catholic Digest. Talk about a positive change! I can't wait to see what she is able to accomplish.
I admit that my very first thought after "Hooray!" was "How on earth does a mother of 8 manage such a thing?" But I dropped it there because I assume she takes her vocation very seriously and that she's not going to abandon her children for a magazine. I gave no more brain power to the thought... until I read this post from Elizabeth Foss in which she responds to this comment:
Do you really think you should be congratulating Danielle on taking on yet another job? She has a TV show, too. And she's homeschooling 8 kids? That's ridiculous and you know it. Shouldn't we be praying she stays home with her family?
Elizabeth was somewhat annoyed with the comment. She knows Danielle Bean and knows she takes her motherhood and the will of God seriously. She knows she wouldn't take this position if it were detrimental to her family. Her response is worth reading and I agree with most of what she says. But the comment got me thinking again...
The commenter says "That's ridiculous and you know it." Yes, I know it. I would never be able to do what Danielle Bean is doing and be able to properly serve my family. In fact, I can't think of any homeschooling mother of many (who I personally know) who could without extreme stress on self and family and loss of sleep (unless multiple children have grown up and moved out). I see women perpetually struggling in these areas. I see them looking perfect and successful and energetic on the outside.... and then I catch a glimpse of the cracks that begin to form under the pressure. And it ain't pretty. Nobody can do it "all."
So, yes, Danielle's life seems unreasonably overcommitted for someone like me. I am losing sleep over a one-day craft show for crying out loud! Even a little blogging is a bit much to be totally honest. I don't know how she does it. I don't know how she can find the time. But she does it. And I can't speak to her life, her energy level, and God's will for her life.
That's the key. What God wants for her. And there's no way for me to know.
I'm going to assume that she is highly organized (much more than I). That she needs less sleep than I. That she is naturally more energetic than I. That she has a home that runs more efficiently than mine. That she has at least some children who can take care of their own physical needs and assist younger ones. That her husband is more available than the average. Or that they very much need the income... or have a much greater income than most and can afford help.
If she's like me in any of those categories, I do think she's doing the wrong thing. Because the Catholic Church will not fall to pieces without the Catholic Digest, but we know for sure that God has called her to take care of her family. The woman who made the comment sounds more like me. In fact, I am guessing that most women are more like I am than they are like Danielle Bean. Because I've seen their tears and heard their words of anxiety and desperation and depression. The more people I meet, the more I realize that very few people and families are equipped in that way; to do all those things well enough, all at one time.
I will join Elizabeth Foss in praying for Danielle Bean. And in assuming that this is exactly where God has called her to be right now. I will also look forward to actually buying a subscription to Catholic Digest which, I assume, will be going through some awesome changes in the near future. :)