Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Homeschooling Mom of 8 New Editor for Catholic Digest

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. :)


  1. How rude.. I love your blog but come on. We should not judge others. Look at how you took the time from your family and wrote critical things about Danielle. If God wants her to do it... then He will give her the graces to do so. We all need to pray more and all need to follow God's will to the best of our abilities. We need to be about our own business. Take the beam out.

  2. Anonymous- I'm not seeing what you're talking about. I didn't judge Danielle at all. I said that many of us couldn't do it and that it takes a particular situation and person. If anything, that's a credit to Danielle. I'm super excited to have her running that Catholic mag. My thoughts were a reflection on the comment left for Elizabeth Foss... not a judgement on Danielle, but an understanding of where the comment came from.

    I'm going to read my post again and see if I came down on the good Mrs. Bean. I read it 5 times before I posted. Perhaps I am just a lousy writer.

    I hope that you comment again and let me know what critical things I wrote about her. I certainly wasn't thinking it and didn't intend to communicate it. God bless you. :)

  3. Okay... I just read it through again and I still fail to see it. perhaps you just skimmed and missed the point. I do things like that all the time... particularly when I'm visiting blogs quickly.

    Anyone else want to chime in and tell me if I was totally confusing? I think my final paragraph sums up my thoughts pretty well but I'm open to constructive assistance.

  4. I don't know who you are but you clearly have an interest in my wife, my family and our personal life, so I will inform you. "If she's like me..." She isn't like you. She doesn't slither into the personal lives of other women and suggest they aren't devoted mothers and wives. She is the most loving person I've ever met. She is the hardest working person I've ever met. The truth is you have no idea what our household is like and shouldn't be pretending you do.

  5. Dear Anonymous-

    I honestly think this is a case where my writing just stinks. Because what you got from it... I just didn't intend. My point was that I don't have what it takes to do what she does... and that because I understand (painfully so) my limitations, I can understand how the particular commenter cannot see how another woman could. I was particularly careful to point out that I have no idea what God allows, provides or ordains to another mother. None whatsoever. I also pointed out that I am very happy to have this tremendous Catholic woman at the helm of Catholic Digest.

    I did make general assumptions because I have to assume she is not much like me. I have major limitations in this regard. I don't do well with a lot of busy and commitments and have enough trouble getting my dishes done and hair brushed. So... I assume that she is NOT like me. Not because I think I'm great and balanced. But because I stink at that stuff.

    I was not writing this post to pick on Danielle Bean. I wrote my thoughts on what was posted on Elizabeth Foss's. If you read my post, you would have read that I AGREE with Elizabeth Foss... who also happens to be a great supporter of your wife.

    I said, "If she's like me...". That bothered you. But I know she is not like me. And that was my point. And I thank God for it. My limitations are too many.

    Please feel free to contact me privately via my email. I would like to discuss this further so that there is no misunderstanding and the right thing can be done by your family.

  6. Melody,

    We are called to judge what is good and pleasing to our Lord, you did just that. Your post was not a judgmental condemnation.

    May you continue to write and share in love.

    May obedience to God be our concern.

    Pax Christi,

  7. I know I'm late to this but wow... I totally didn't get anything rude from your post Melody. I got what you were saying. I know I couldn't juggle all those things. That doesn't mean other people can't. I just know I can't.

    That's what I got from this post.

    Sometimes when people are reading more into things it says more about them than it does about us. At least that's what I always think when people go off on my blog about things that I never said...


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