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Danielle Heckenkamp considers ways to savor the slow process of raising children and fostering family life.

Love is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as a “strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties.” That definition is a good start to the concept of love, but it is far from what the word truly encompasses to a wife and mother, who are a “Friend of the Cross.” St. Louis de Montfort stated that “Friends of the Cross” is “a wonderful name! […] It is the unmistakable title of a Christian.” As mothers, we often believe that our daily actions are not enough for ourselves, not enough for those around us, not enough for the world, and more often we are not enough for Christ. How far these thoughts are from the truth!

The world portrays a superficial view of motherhood. Young mothers, often fall into a trap. It is the thought process that the family is important, but staying home and raising the children is not enough. It becomes a daily battle that we aren’t doing enough. We should always want more – to be more efficient, produce more, but also desire any convenience that comes our way. Interesting combination, right? My goodness, how exhausting!

Motherhood is a slow process. There is no quick result in raising children and fostering family life. Considering this idea, do we really desire to wish away the years, the joys, the sufferings, and the daily routine? Probably not. We have forgotten to find love in the daily norms. The long years of child-rearing may also bring much suffering, but that is where we can become “Friends of the Cross,” a true Christian.

Isn't it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different. (C.S. Lewis)


As mothers, we are far too aware of the daily acts of love we must gift to our family. However, those gifts change over the years. The early days of pushing three small children in a stroller at the zoo look much different than the evenings of deep discussions with tweens and teenagers. This is life. It is the daily change of life that helps us grow in love. It is the Cross of Christ that helps us grow in love. The definition of love seems too simple, too superficial. Love may be a strong affection, but perfect love doesn’t stop there and what better example do we have than that of Christ and His Cross.

mother with toddler in high chair


As we grow in motherhood, we also grow in our devotion and love of Christ. It is through suffering and years of family life that we discover the goodness in the daily grind, the perfection in our sufferings, and the ability to accept the necessary graces to progress further in our vocation. Christ does not forsake us and Our Lady remains especially close to her children. So, when we feel unaccomplished or when we delude our mind with thoughts that motherhood does not prove our worth, we must seek assistance outside of this world. We may find peace under the mantle of Our Lady who prays for our continued perseverance, but ultimately, as a Friend of the Cross of Christ.

It is the daily change of life that helps us grow in love. #catholicmom

How to Love the Daily Grind:

Take your hobby and gift it to your family.

This could be a love for baking, gardening quilting, or even organizing. Make your hobby part of family life and something that you can all enjoy together or at least your family can also reap the benefits from.


Focus on the details when necessary, but don’t forget about the big picture.

Don’t worry about the future, especially, if there’s no imminent decision to be made. Motherhood is giving it all to God. It is a self-less vocation. We are to do our best with what we are given, but it’s too difficult to control everything.


Love what you have.

This is easier said than done. God has given each of us the children and life He desires for our spiritual growth. Yes, we have the free will to choose our paths, but oftentimes the most grace-filled suffering is what God sends to us, rather than what we bestow on ourselves. Love your life and learn to accept it. (My husband and I have five boys in a row – I’m still learning to accept that chaos…)

It is the mundane tasks that helps us grow.

This is not what many of us want to hear, but it is the daily dishes, the home-cooked meals, the freshly baked bread, the clean laundry, and the daily Rosary that builds a holy family life. God has given each of us our own monastery, within the home, to foster our spiritual life. Learning to accept the mundane tasks may take years, but this is something we can begin to love today. Eventually, these tasks will become more than just habits, but acts of love for the family and ultimately, for Christ.

Copyright 2021 Danielle Heckenkamp
Image: Canva Pro