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"Motherhood: more than a mirror image" by Danielle Heckencamp (CatholicMom.com) Copyright 2018 Danielle Heckenkamp. All rights reserved.[/caption] That inevitable mirror. It's always there and we all do it. We all stand in front of the mirror every morning. Some mornings are less hectic than others, but we all stand in front of that mirror looking for the flaws, the pieces of us that only we can see. The pieces that really don't describe who we are inside. This has become part of motherhood. There’s something about mothers, who sacrifice each day of their lives for the sake of their family, but only focus on the flaws. There are very few of us who are an exception to this bad habit. It’s time that we begin to value our worth and learn to love ourselves as we are. We stand in front of that mirror with self-pity, something my grandmother told me to never have, yet there it is creeping in. But why? Why do we allow ourselves to only focus on the mirror image? Maybe it’s from the fact that we spend more time getting our children ready than ourselves. Shower? Who has time for a shower? Maybe it’s because we spend hours making dinner, but only get an opportunity to finish the toddler’s plate of picked-over food. But why don't we take a moment to eat? Maybe it’s because we no longer find the desire to go shopping for clothing because it either won’t fit or it will only get covered in the infant's spit-up. Maybe it’s because we would rather spend the time sleeping than taking a shower and putting on makeup. We have all have those days. Maybe it’s because leggings are more comfortable than anything else. Why do we find it more work to wear on a skirt? May it's because we long to have a date night with our husbands, but we no longer feel attractive. Motherhood does not take away our beauty, it heightens it. Moms, these aren’t good enough excuses. Yes, we have a tough job, one of the toughest in the world, as we teach our children how to love, behave in social situations, discover God, and learn life lessons, but they still aren’t good enough excuses. We are all tired, and yes, there are many different stages of motherhood. Of course, if you just had a baby, you get a pass. If you are going through mental turmoil, you get a pass. If there is a death in the family, you get a pass. But don’t allow these passes to become part of your everyday routine. If we want to teach our children to love God and be upstanding citizens one day, then we must be their first example. Teaching is more than just speaking words, it is actions. Just like the famous saying, “actions speak louder than words," something my grandmother would repeat to me on a daily basis. What are our actions saying to our children? Are we telling our children, by our behavior, that high expectations only apply to others? Or should we be setting the bar higher for ourselves so our children will desire to follow also? Are we showing our friends, family, and strangers that we have given up on life during this “stage” of motherhood? Because if that’s the case, then motherhood doesn’t look very appealing to other women. Motherhood is difficult, but did we really expect it to be easy? There are countless expectations pushed on mothers by society and even ones we put on ourselves. But we must remember that motherhood is a gift, a true vocation of pure selflessness. That doesn’t mean we should take care of everyone else and not ourselves. We must care for ourselves, because if we don’t, our families and friends will also suffer the consequences. Motherhood is not a mirror image. What you see is not what you get. EVER. But that is fine. We must be able to recognize who we truly are within ourselves, so that we can help our families thrive and our children learn to grow in virtue and goodness. If we are to look for what is good, true, and beautiful, as mothers, we should be the first to portray that image. For if families cannot be the first to give this gift to society, then what is left in this world? The world is full of heartache, yet what better place to bring light than through mothers and their children? We can’t personally change the unhappiness in the world, but we can start by taking care of ourselves, which will in turn transfer to our children – the ultimate gifts from God. Let's be the light to change the culture towards God's goodness and love.
Copyright 2018 Danielle Heckenkamp