Wednesday, October 19, 2011

All Things Through Christ

Often when I'm cleaning up my kitchen in the evenings, I glance out the window over my sink. The curtains there are usually left open, because that window is my connection to the outside world. It overlooks my backyard, but what's more, it looks directly into the kitchen window of the neighbor behind us. Many times, I've noticed, the mom of that particular house and I will be cleaning our kitchens (or getting dinner ready, or whatever) at the same time. She is bent over her sink, I am bent over my sink, and together we are doing what mothers for centuries have done. Serving our families. Funny enough, I've caught her glancing my way a time or two as well, and I wonder if she notices the same thing. At least, it must not bother her that we see each other doing our chores, because she never does close the curtains of her window.

I don't know much about those particular neighbors. We've only spoken to them twice. Once when their dog jumped into our yard, and another time when Fritter kicked a ball into theirs. I do know her children are older than mine, and I think she works outside of the home. And I couldn't even begin to tell you their religion (or lack thereof). But in the end, we are both mothers. It makes me think of the connection I have with mothers the world over. Even if a mom works outside of the home on some fantastic project that seems to have so much meaning and bearing in the world, I believe that she still finds herself sweeping floors, washing dishes, and being loving even when she doesn't feel like it. Doing things that sometimes seem to have no meaning whatsoever.

I didn't realize it until tonight, but feeling that connection as a mother with other mothers is important to me. Seeing that I'm not the only mother that fails and then keeps trying. I'm not the only mother sweeping the floor at 8 o'clock when I'd rather be in bed. Seeing that my children really are just kids and striving for perfection for them is not only unrealistic, but can be harsh and unmotivating. Of course it's important to have standards, mine just happen to be sky high. And in this way, I not only set them up for failure, but myself as well. Which brings me to my next point.

Monday was a very bad day, and Monday night was a very bad night. I yelled, I cried, and I fought tears most of the day. I felt inadequate, I felt that nothing that I do makes much of a difference. I was tired and my negative thoughts got the best of me. It didn't help that nothing went as planned and my dear husband has been working almost 12 hours a day. Every. Single. Day. I was being selfish and could think of nothing but myself (and how imperfect I am). Tuesday found a better me, after a night's sleep (I won't say good, I'm still nursing at night, you know how it is), but those nagging thoughts continued to haunt me into today. I wondered what God was thinking when he gave me my precious children. Me? When I'm so imperfect? What business do I have raising children?

And then this evening my husband asked if I ever read Little Catholic Bubble. I said I do, but hadn't had time recently to catch up on it. He (providentially?) stumbled upon her newest post Why I Never Should Have Had Eight Children.
When I was a happy mother of four, seriously considering and deeply desiring another child, an odd feeling overcame me. Over several days, my excitement at the idea of a new little soul became mixed with feelings of discouragement and fear. It began to dawn on me that I was barely good enough "mommy material" for the four treasures I already had, and that any further parenting would be irresponsible. It came to a head one evening: I remember standing in my kitchen, full of fear and anxiety, telling myself that I had no business -- no business! -- having another baby. Not now, not ever.

All my shortcomings and sins came to the forefront of my mind, and I stood there reeling from the truth of it*:
After reading the rest of the post, I realized what I had been doing to myself (and what lies I had allowed the devil to tell me about myself). None of us is perfect. Many of us fail time and time again. But we were given this vocation of motherhood from God himself who knows all of our shortcomings. And yet he decided to entrust these precious souls to us anyway. If we stay open to His grace, allow Him to change us, and seek support and give support to others around us, we have a chance. And so do our children.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." --Philippians 4:13


Erica said...

Thanks for being courageous enough to write about your bad day! It makes me feel better to know I'm not the only one who has days like that.

Kate said...

Dear Cmerie! I've had a bit of a difficult week as well. It is always so comforting for me to remember that even the saints battled their faults until death. We must keep fighting "the good fight", as St. Paul said. You are a wonderful mother and God will reward you a thousand fold for all of the sacrifices you are making....even the smallest and most insignificant act, done out of love for Him becomes a priceless treasure. I heard a priest say once that one sweep of our Lady's broom was worth more than the greatest sacrifices of the martyrs, such was the intensity of her love for God as she did it. Amazing.
Sorry, that this has become so lengthy. May God bless and keep you, dear friend. We are in this together!


Cmerie said...

Ah Kate! What a great thing to reflect on! Thank you so much for your kind words. They mean more than you can know. :)

miraculousmama said...

Sorry Im late reading this, but Candice this is a great post, many times I feel the same way, and it is overwhelming!! Love and miss yall!

Southern Ramblings said...

Such an inspiring thought. I find myself in the same situation quite often. I love that our heavenly Father is always there to wash away the fear.