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It’s that time of year (minus the current virus chaos). The time of year that brings mixed emotions for parents, especially moms. We have almost reached the end of the school year, which brings graduations (whether kindergarten, eighth grade, high school, or college), first Communions, and the start of the carefree days of summer. We are preparing for the daily routine to change: no more lunches, no more school drive-thru line, no more bus pick-ups, hopefully no more early mornings, no more pressing uniforms, and no more late nights of homework.
But this year is looking quite different. With this forced quarantine, parents have now turned into primary educators in the home, while possibly working at home, caring for younger children, cleaning the house, and squeezing in laundry between school lessons, dinner prep, outdoor landscaping, and family time. Many parents are wondering if graduations will happen, will first Communions be put on hold, and ultimately, will summer look much different than the last two months? We don’t know for sure and the future can’t be predicted, but we do know that all of these daily priorities are mounting and the onset of emotions are bringing us into confusion. We can find solace in one important fact: God is in control and so we can rest in his Sacred Heart.
Knowing that God truly has already won the battle is of great solace. But what can we do to help ourselves when the “burnout” feels so very real? Instead of resigning ourselves to the out-of-control aspects of this situation, let’s find ways to remind us of the beauties of motherhood. What brings us closer to God, our family, and our vocation as mothers?
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- God has given mothers the beautiful role of raising souls for His glory. It is not a small task, but one that God infuses with many graces. When it seems like too much and you need a break – take a break with God. Pray the Rosary and ask Our Lady to intercede for you. Invoke St. Michael to defend you in this battle and your family in every battle. Your guardian angel is also there to assist, don’t forget to ask for his help. Make a Spiritual Communion so that you may be close to Our Lord, even though the solitude of a church seems so very far away.
- Mothers bring smiles and warmth. Even when we are overwhelmed, it is through our smiles and hugs that children feel safe. In those overwhelming moments, don’t focus on the negative. Instead, cuddle on the couch with the kids. Read them a book or sit outside in the sun watching them play.
- Mothers bring peace. It isn’t necessary to always be playing board games or creating “lasting memories.” Just the presence of a mother brings stillness and quietude to the house. Find time each day to read, knit, do needlepoint, or paint. These are the moments that children remember fondly and it gives us all a break to focus on our passions while being a good example to our children.
- Mothers bring joy and creativity. When the it’s time to switch from quietude to playfulness, turn on your favorite music and have a dance party. Or take out a family recipe and bake with your children. This is a great way to focus your attention something that doesn’t seem of great importance in the moment, but you will be teaching and creating memories of happiness in your children.
- Mothers bring life and completeness. This isn’t always easy as we juggle housework, schoolwork, and possibly business work. While attending to these many responsibilities find time to fulfill yourself. If mothers are struggling, the entire family and the entire world is struggling. So, let’s make time for our passions. While folding the unending laundry, say the Rosary or listen to an audiobook. While sending out emails, listen to a favorite podcast. While watching a show at night with your husband, organize the mounting stack of papers that is out of control on the counter. The small bursts of attention to yourself will be of great value to your mental and physical health as you move forward through this winding path of motherhood.
Motherhood isn’t about perfection. It is about seeking God in everything we do through our vocation. There are many saints who were mothers, but not one was a replica of another. Knowing that, let’s move forward with confidence in God’s love for us and know that He will give us the graces and strength to move forward even when the “burnout” feels overwhelming.
Copyright 2020 Danielle Heckenkamp
About the Author
Danielle Marie Heckenkamp is a stay at home mom and freelance writer who lives in the beautiful state of Wisconsin with her husband and five children. Motherhood has allowed Danielle to re-discover her love for writing. It is through her daily experiences as a mom and the love for her Catholic Faith that show forth in her writing. Danielle is the co-author of a nonfiction book about manners and common sense. She is a coffee-drinking, Midwest girl, who loves to spend time with her family, attempt outlandish recipes, and read any book she can get her hands on. You can find more of Danielle's writing at Loving These Days or step inside her daily life at her instagram account (@dmheckenkamp)