Vocation Versus Avocation

I was recently asked, “What is your vocation?” Judging by the tone of voice which accompanied the question, I knew it was a trick.

In a very timid voice, I hesitated in answering, “To be a wife? And, a mother? You would probably say being a wife, but I think God has also called me to be a mother. So, it would be both, right?”

The chaplain smiled at me and asked, “But which one is the Sacrament?”

This set of questions had followed a discussion on how everything I choose to do in the volunteer community should enhance my vocation. That led him to challenging me to identify what, indeed, was my vocation.

So many Catholic mothers identify their vocation as “wife and mother,” which isn’t necessarily an incorrect philosophy. However, as the chaplain pointed out to me that day, motherhood, while never-ending, is not something that is sacramentally binding. Instead, it is the marriage which will remain after our children are grown and gone.

In the midst of sleepless nights, growing children, school productions, sport commitments, cleaning the home, cooking food for every meal and snacks of the day, and everything else that comes with the avocation of motherhood, I think it’s easy to lose track of the focus. It is so tempting to begin viewing marriage being about my children, rather than my children being about my marriage.


The more the chaplain and I discussed the vocation of marriage, and how the avocation of motherhood should be enhancing the vocation of being a wife or husband, the more I began wondering how does my motherhood enhance my vocation of wife?

I’m struggling to come up with the answers, and over a month after discussing this with our chaplain, he has conceded there might not be an answer.

But, in honor of the Month of Love (aka, Valentine’s Day), I will be writing posts about the vocation of marriage, and how my journeys of being a mother should not simply impact my vocation as a wife, but rather should be focusing on enhancing my vocation as a wife.


9 thoughts on “Vocation Versus Avocation

  1. One of the downsides of a marriage of two fully-committed individuals who understand the sacrificial nature of unconditional love is that it’s all to easy to put the relationship on the back-burner. Thanks for the reminder that marriage should be the first focus, not the kids.

    1. 100% agree!! I think our chaplain is slowly making me be more intentional toward my marriage – haven’t quite figured out if that is his intention, but it’s definitely an idea I will be blogging about this month!

  2. Great post. My sons are grown and out now but yes it is so easy to put a marriage on the back burner. I do think that does a disservice to our kids as they learn they are the center of a family instead of the husband/wife bond. When they see the commitment of husband and wife it teaches them what Biblical marriage should look like.

    1. Yes! I agree completely, and have realized I need to focus more on the marriage aspect of our family, than just “raising the next generation”!

  3. Pingback: Lesson Learned

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.