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"Finding your inner grace" by Catherine Mendenhall-Baugh (CatholicMom.com) Image credit: Pixabay.com (2017), CC0/PD[/caption] Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 12. Why is it important to honor mothers? I think you need to first explore what it means when someone describes what motherhood is! As a mother and a grandmother I feel I have some expertise on the subject. I say "some" because I truly believe that there is no more difficult job than being a mother (actually I understand that this is true for fathers as well, but for today, let’s focus on mothers). There is no perfect answer as to what makes a good mother. I’ve been working for over 50 years and have had many different jobs. I started my working career as a babysitter at the age of 14. I’ve been a secretary, a check writer, a typist, an underwriter, and a senior underwriter. I was an underwriting manager, and I made ice cream cones and sundaes working at a dairy at age 15, and now, most recently, I work as an insurance agent. No job I have had as been more fulfilling and yet as difficult as the one I've experienced as a mother. Motherhood is one big ball of emotion! It's unconditional love, fear, frustration, compassion, hope, anger, sympathy, grief, strength, weakness, confidence, insecurities, and grace! After you become a mother, you will never be the person you were before. Every natural disaster will be an act of terror and will become a “what if” this were my child, once you hold that child for the first time. You think to yourself, “Is that household appliance I want to buy going to become a child killer?” Dropping your child off for kindergarten or college – the feeling is the same, trust me; it feels like dropping a puppy off at the pound. You learn the meaning really quick of what “mother bear” is. Every hurt, every joy, every mean word, every word of praise given to your child goes directly to your heart! You pray your child never falls victim to bullying, all the while reading up on everything you can get your hands on about what to do when it happens. You are desperate your child isn’t excluded on the birthday party invitations at school. When it’s time for your child’s birthday, you break the bank making sure they feel special. Every cupcake has to have the same amount of sprinkles on top. Your child throws up: no worries, you are there to catch it. When you see a child throw up, you look at their mother and nod your head in understanding. You will never leave the grocery store without some new crayons or magic markers. You make your child wear a sweater because you’re cold. You cut up everyone’s food because you do it so often for your child, it just becomes natural. You want to capture that special feeling you have when they are sleeping. It is a feeling of joy like no other. You feel guilt when you have to scold your child knowing they must learn right from wrong. You are desperate to make sure that scold is not yelling even though you can’t help how angry you feel. I can go on but the point is, motherhood is a 24-hour job. It’s all about a journey of finding grace. Essentially, we are given grace as a gift from God and the Holy Spirit. When God touches us with the help of the sacraments, He reaches into our soul and gives us the gift of His love and mercy. It’s this love and mercy that inspires us in our role of parenting. We are motivated every day as a mother to make decisions that are good ones, which we then pass on to our children. I don’t mean that everything you do will be perfect. My own mother strove every day to be a good mother. She wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination. I watched her make mistakes but I also watched her give out love to every child in her care. She was the ultimate “mother bear” when anyone approached her about any one of her children. Having nine children did not keep her from loving any one child more than the other. Her famous line was, “I may not have given you kids much, but I did give you each other.” She loved God and relied on the intercessory of her prayers to Mary, Jesus’ mother, along with the help of her daily Rosary. Her commitment to Sunday Mass and going to Communion brought her the grace she needed and found while raising her children. No, not perfect, but in her children’s eyes, she was close. Let Mother's Day give you pause and allow you to reflect on the good things you did for each moment you spend with your children. My mother use to say your children are only on loan to you. They are your gift from God and when they leave you it is up to you to accept your gift with grace. You remember what that is, right? Love and mercy! Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there! You are God’s gift to your child!
Copyright 2019 Catherine Mendenhall-Baugh