We all know THAT Mom. The one who manages perfect balance in her life..between her children, her husband, her home and still somehow has time to take perfect care of herself, making it a priority to exercise and keep up with her friends. The one who homeschools and makes everything from scratch and soaked grains. The one who shows up to mass with her family looking pristine and miraculously keeps the children quiet and attentive. The one who, when you show up with baked goods of some kind, shows up with something far more impressive. The one who has time for personal prayer, regular confession, adoration even! and don’t get me started on daily mass. The one who has time and energy to love her husband in all ways big and small. The one who gets 5 hours of sleep and still manages to function without coffee the next morning. The one who celebrates only Catholic holidays, no secular ones and wouldn’t even consider letting her children associate with non-practicing Catholic children. The one who blogs daily, while her children happily entertain themselves in the background. The one who’s home looks like it is out of the pages of a magazine.
Friends, I am not ‘That Mom’. I have shed many tears telling myself that if I just try a little harder, stayed up a little later, cleaned my home more often, spent more time praying, sewing, baking, that maybe I could be almost as awesome as ‘That Mom’. You might be thinking, “who is she talking about? who is ‘That Mom’??” We’ve all met ‘That Mom’…she might be your sister, your friend, someone you know from your parish, your neighbor, whatever. She may even be a combination of several women you know, all morphed into mega-mom in your mind. We’ve all met someone like her, chances are someone even thinks that I am her! Ha!
I am the mom who hates working out, and will do most everything to avoid it. I am the mom who’s children both want to be held by her 24/7 which becomes a major issue in mass..leading to Lucy eating lots of cheerios to keep her quiet. I am the mom who knocked over said cheerios all. over. the. floor. in the middle of mass. I am the mom who at times ends up arguing with her husband on the way to mass because we were running late. I am the mom who loves to bake and does most of it when her toddler is in bed because I don’t want her help..I enjoy doing it alone! I am the mom who drinks coffee every morning and afternoon. I am the mom who lets her kids watch cartoons, walk around the place with their snacks and lets them get bored on purpose so they will grow to think more creatively rather than entertaining them all day long. I am the mom with zero interest in homeschooling, although I would be highly embarassed to admit it to my friends. I am the Catholic mom who LOVES Halloween. I think it’s fantastic.. why not enjoy one day of dressing up a little silly, let people give you free candy and enjoy a bit of childhood magic? Although I won’t do it, I love the fact that my mom dresses up like a witch every year to hand out candy. All of these thoughts have been brewing inside of me for a little while now and they go hand in hand with something major that happened the other night.
I finally got to have reconciliation! It had been a longggggg time since I had last been. Too long. My confessor kept noticing that I would refer to ‘That Mom’ and how I just couldn’t measure up to her. He finally asked me, “Who is that mom?” and I just laughed and said, “I have no idea!”
She is in my mind, this image of the perfect Catholic mother. The sad thing, is that the image I have is not of Mary..and it should be. I like to think that Mary wasn’t ‘That Mom’ either. Uneducated, poor and average in every sense of the word except for the fact that God chose her. This teen mom, insignificant and small in her own eyes was chosen by the God of the Universe for this incredible task of carrying, birthing and raising Jesus. I’m sure most of you have heard the old expression: “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.” I may not have all of the skills needed to raise teenagers or adults but that’s okay..because my girls are still babes. God is handing out the graces for today..not tomorrow. He knows what I need before I even ask Him for it, but I still need to ask Him. I still need to remind myself in every moment that He is God, and I am not. It’s easy to read an inspiring blog post somewhere and think suddenly I am equipped to be super mama, totally forgetting that He called me and that the grace comes from Him.
I am not ‘That Mom’ and chances are, you aren’t her either. Although I have my days of wishing I was her, I am really glad I am not. If I was, I wouldn’t be me. I wouldn’t be the wife and mom that only I can be to my husband and girls. It’s time to work on getting a true image of a Catholic mom in my mind. It’s time to silence the mega-mom in my head because she doesn’t inspire me to do better, she cripples me. She makes me believe that I can never be as good as her, so why bother trying at all?
Mary was and is a truly beautiful witness to us of what fierce, tender, holy and loving motherhood can be. She went through this season of life, just as we all do as mums of young babes and God raised her higher than the Angels. This gives me hope! Because it isn’t in being perfect that we become good mothers. It is in the daily fight to love and serve our families that God perfects us day by day. Nothing in this life is perfect, so why should we expect it of ourselves? It’s almost prideful. Only Christ is perfect and I look to Him for the way to raise these girls of mine. My confessor said to me the other night, “Do your kids know that they are loved? Because that’s all that really matters” It made me wonder if I have become so busy belly button gazing that I have forgotten to take the time to tell the kids that I love them, and more importantly that God loves them. It is such a simple thing to take a child’s face in ours hands and tell them how precious they are to God and how He adores them. I can imagine our Blessed Mother doing this with Jesus and it warms my heart to know that even He needed to know that His Father in Heaven loved him.
Let’s be kind to ourselves today, sisters. God is doing a good work in all of us, we can be assured of that but it is in His time and not ours. Let’s ask His mother for her prayers as we strive to be the mothers that God intended us to be..
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary that never was it known that anyone who fled to Your protection, implored Your help, or sought Your intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, we fly to you, O Virgin of virgins, our Mother. To You we come; before You we stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not our petitions, but in Your mercy, hear and answer us. Amen.