Perfect Motherhood? {Rethinking the Paradigm}

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The past few days, I’ve been working on a presentation for the upcoming Faces of Mercy Lenten Retreat by Catholic Conference 4 Moms. I’m really excited to be a part of this awesome endeavor, and writing my talk has really forced me to look more deeply at some areas of my life.

Like, for instance, my idea of perfect motherhood. What defines the perfect mom? What standard should I hold myself to?

Maybe a better way to find the answer is to ask: What am I really striving for in my vocation? What’s the real goal?

Well, the real goal is Heaven. That’s it.

To work and pray and love and strive so that our spouses, our children — and our own hearts — will finish the race and hear Him say, Well done.

Heaven.

It’s not about winning an award from Better Homes & Gardens. {Although it’s ok if you want to try for one — I’d actually love that!}

It’s definitely not about comparing ourselves to other women.

Because God delights in you. He delights in me. With all our faults, our successes, our failures, our talents, our weaknesses, our fears, our dreams. He sees it all, and still says, You are good. We are His beautiful creations, and His deepest desire is for us to live with Him in perfect love forever.

This should lead us to a shift in perspectives as we go through the daily grind.

I recently saw this meme on Facebook, from Martina of Catholic Sistas:

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I love the message here!

The point is, perfection isn’t found in the state of your house on any given day, whether your heart overflows with joy at the mere thought of dusting, or you’d rather lose your big toe than clean a bathroom.

Perfection isn’t found in the attitudes of your children during Mass {thank goodness}.

It isn’t found in how great a homemaker you are. Or what kind of grades your kids make. It isn’t even found in how many Lenten Pinterest crafts you can successfully pull off. 🙂

Your perfection as a mother rests only in how well you love. Your perfection — as a mother, as a wife, as a woman, as a human person — consists only in how well you love. All the saints tell us this.

When we die, the Lord will look at our actions, yes, but whether or not they were filled with love, indifference, or hatred. How well do we love?

Not just how well we love when it’s easy  like when our kids are sleeping peacefully and we’re enjoying a glass of wine in the quiet just before bed. “I just love my kids so much!”

But how well do we love when it’s hard?

When there’s yet another tantrum? When we’re up in the night changing wet sheets? When we’re cleaning up broken dishes, or washing five more loads of laundry? When our teenagers scream “I hate you, mom!” or when they make choices that break our hearts?

Thankfully, love isn’t about mushy feelings or flutters in the heart {although that comes with it sometimes}. Love is actually a choice, an act of the will. So even in the moments when we just don’t feel like we can love, we can still choose to.

“Do small things with great love” was one of Mother Teresa’s life mantras. And I think it’s a perfect one for moms, too.

small things great love3

Also, look at the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She is the ultimate model of perfect love in motherhood. Her life-long fiat was the crowing glory of her motherhood, and she’s just waiting to teach her daughters how to love in the same way. Ask for her intercession, and dare to love today.

Heaven is the goal, so perfect love is all you need to expect of yourself in this moment, right now. 

And actually, that’s quite a lot to strive for.

 

Copyright 2016 Lydia Borja
Featured Image: Unnamed image via Pixabay, by TheDanW, 2015, CCO Public Domain; text added by Lydia Borja
Meme: Good Moms, by Martina Kreitzer, Foundress, CatholicSistas.com

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About Author

Lydia is a happy wife, a busy mama of three cute and crazy little people, and a two-time overcomer of PPD. She loves strong coffee, dark chocolate, and all things Southern and Catholic. Follow her at http://www.flourishinhope.com, where she's building a community of hope and encouragement for postpartum women.

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