Everyone seems to need us. That’s a good thing because we are blessed. But it’s not always an easy thing. We need us too.
March, the month for spring and new life is a good time to take inventory of our mom-needs. The days are getting longer and it’s time to come out of hibernation. Do we need some motherhood renewal ourselves?
Now that our youngest is a senior in high school and his nine brothers and sisters out of the nest, I often reflect on the gift that motherhood has been. Here are some ways that often helped bring my own motherhood to higher ground and build me up.
What if you feel you are failing at that or not getting anything out of it? We still need prayer because we need God and prayer connects us to him. Sing praises, read Scripture, sit in front of the tabernacle, talk with God, read a prayer book, pray the Rosary and Chaplet of Divine Mercy … you have choices. Just do it.
Develop a Relationship with the Blessed Mother
The Blessed Mother gets it. Sure, her Son was God, but she understands stress. Imagine giving birth in a stable with animals and not even knowing where you were going to stay to begin with. Imagine your loving son giving of Himself to others only to be persecuted, tortured, and killed. The Blessed Mother makes our stresses her business. Consider that the very first miracle Jesus performed was because His mother asked Him to help at Cana, simply to relieve someone of their stress.
Join or Start a Mothers Group
If you have godly women as friends, that is wonderful. But many women don’t have that. I know you don’t need one more thing to do, but a mother’s group is the gift that keeps on giving. It can be a book study or Scripture study where you meet at each other’s homes or in a church basement. It can meet in the morning, at lunch, or in the evening when childcare might be easier.
Consider also starting a mothers group simply to connect with other women at your parish. Absolutely fantastic resources can be found at CatholicMomsGroup.com to help you find or start a group. It was founded by Dorothy Pilarski who came from a devout Polish immigrant family and yearned for role models and prayer partners. She began Dynamic Women of Faith to nurture and inspire mothers. They meet over coffee or tea, to pray, to learn about the Catholic faith, and to talk.
Their mission is to remind moms that motherhood is a vocation — a call from God — which is so often forgotten in our modern world. “It is our hope that our work will help in some small way to restore the dignity of motherhood … that each child is a gift from God. … Motherhood is an opportunity for sanctification for both the mother and the child.”
It may not be New Year’s or the beginning of Lent, but anytime is a good time to identify ways to feel better. What’s making you feel bad; what makes you feel good? How can you tip the scale in a positive direction? Diet, exercise …. oh pleeze, right? But sorry/not sorry: make changes to feel good about yourself. Find a friend who will help hold you accountable. Make simple changes to start so you are more likely to build on them instead of feeling overwhelmed and quitting.
Got to Confession
Sin makes everyone feel bad. Go to confession frequently to rid yourself of sin, fill up on grace, and develop better habits that will make both you and God happier.
Great friends and inspiration can be found in books. Here are some especially suited for nurturing Moms.
Our Friend Faustina: Life Lessons in Divine Mercy. Essays by women about their friendship with St. Fausina, sharing stories of ordinary and extraordinary graces.
Don’t Forget to Say Thank You. This book is so cute and so is the author—Lindsay Schlegel. If you meet her, instead of handing out business cards, she hands out prayer cards and affirmation cards and writes your name on it. Lindsay shares 15 phreases we use as moms and how those very ideas can point us to god change our own lives.
Joyful Momentum: A Catholic Handbook. Full of inspiration about creating a thriving Catholic women’s ministry or expanding on already existing groups.
Giving Thanks and Letting Go: Reflections on the Gift of Motherhood. Well known author, TV host and podcaster, Daniel Bean ponders her emptying next and overflowing heart and she encourages others to join her in leaning on God to discover joy in this sacred season of parenting.
Pray Fully: Simple steps for becoming a Woman of Prayer. Full of inspiration and ideas for overcoming frustrations and develop a deeper prayer life.
The Handbook for Catholic Moms. This is Lisa Hendey’s classic award-winning resource to help new parents balance and integrate the deeply personal needs of their hearts, minds, bodies, and souls with the demands of family life and faith commitment.
A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms. Another Lisa Hendey classic to get to know saints and develop our own charisms alongside them.
Be Brave in the Scared: How I Learned to Trust God During the Most Difficult Days of My Life. Mary Lenaburg shares how the overwhelming demands of caring for her severely disabled daughter taught her trust and actually let to joy. It’s deeply moving and witty and relates lessons for us all.
Copyright 2020 Patti Armstrong