It seems, facing a deadline and a deadline, that the writing suggestion that most resonates with my current frazzled and harried is that of writing a list. So, prompted recently by the screams and howls around me and inspired by a friend who has more kids than I do and still manages to keep her sanity, I decided to reflect, once again, on the ways motherhood has made me a better person.
Because it has. And that gives me hope.
Patience isn’t just for saints.
I have never been what anyone would call a patient person, yet recently, someone close to me looked at me with a strange look and remarked, “You are SO PATIENT with them!” She was referring, I think, to two children who were demanding and, well, being young children.
She’s right. I am patient with them…at times. Motherhood has stretched me into more patience, and it will continue to do that. The stretching aches at times, but, in the end, it also draws me closer to God as it gives me the skills to deal with the growing-bigger-by-the-minute people in my life.
Priorities – they’re what’s for dinner.
I have always been planner-oriented. I love calendars. Task lists are fun.
I had no idea, though, that planners and calendars and task lists would be such an integral part of motherhood. Really, though, what matters isn’t the tool, it’s the prioritizing that has to happen for there to be peace in our family life.
I have to know what’s most important and be able to prioritize. Do I need an hour to recharge so I can better serve my family? Should I play online or get dinner ready? At what point does housework trump the other work? Discerning these answers, and being open to the reprioritizing that happens within different seasons of family life, is definitely a way motherhood has improved me.
Maybe I can’t, but I can try.
One of my children has a habit of saying “I can’t” with annoying frequency. My standard response is, “Maybe not, but you can try.”
The same is true for me. Maybe I can’t be Super Mom or have a spotless house or get all the things done on my list today. But I can try.
And while I’m trying, I can remember to turn to the One who gave me this vocation in the first place, allowing myself to be blessed by it in an even greater way.
I can plan to be spontaneous.
I have motherhood to thank for the small steps I’ve made in the fine art of “going with the flow.” If I’m able to deal with sudden company, a last minute change of plans, and four body explosions, all before lunch, then I have my vocation to thank (and another rosary to pray).
Who says death is always bad?
It wasn’t until I gave up sleep and my own agenda and so many other things in the interest of these new little people in my life that I really started to get a glimpse of just what “dying to self” means.
Motherhood asks us to be greater than we are, bigger than we think, more than we imagine. It’s a HUGE undertaking, but we don’t walk alone. We only need to look beside us to see Mother Mary cheering us on.
Copyright 2011 Sarah Reinhard