Monica Portogallo finds motherhood less overwhelming when she applies Jesus’ advice in Matthew 6.
“It’s the toughest job you’ll ever love.”
I remember this slogan from Peace Corps commercials that ran on television when I was a child. While I don’t know much about what being in the Peace Corps is like, I know it is an apt description of my experience of motherhood.
Motherhood for me has meant being on call 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, no matter where I am or what I am doing. It has meant sacrificing my comfort and convenience, time and again. It has meant keeping my head when all about me are losing theirs. And at the same time, it has meant indescribable joy. I truly delight in my children as gifts from God. I have loved every second of being a mom, even the challenging ones.
Sometimes, those challenging moments seem constant. What I have found, however, is that nine times out of ten, when I feel overwhelmed by challenges of motherhood, it’s because I am worrying about the future instead of focusing on today. For me, it can take the form of trying to find solutions to concerns of the distant future, like worrying about where my preschooler was going to go to college. It may also surface as predictions of future implications of today’s events, like worrying my kindergartener will fall away from the faith as an adult because he didn’t want to go to Mass one Sunday.
Jesus’s admonition in Matthew 6 applies so well to my experience of motherhood:
“But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.” (Matthew 6:33-34)
When I seek to do the work my vocation of motherhood asks of me today, I can give my undivided attention to doing what God calls me to do. Admittedly, my daily tasks can involve planning for the future, but I don’t need to live in the future mentally.
So now when I find myself getting distracted by concerns that I don’t really need to address that day, I tell myself, “With God’s help, Future Me will take care of that. She’ll have more information, anyway.” With my mind in the present, I can focus on what is in front of me, whether it’s a diaper blowout, a kid with a fever, a 13-month old with a sweet little voice who just learned how to say “amen” at the end of prayers, or a third-grader who makes up jokes that are actually pretty clever. Whatever comes each day, I am there for it.
Copyright 2022 Monica Portogallo
About the Author
Monica Portogallo is a wife, mother, and registered dietitian nutritionist who does her best not to miss the lessons God sends to her through the joys and struggles of daily life. She lives in California.