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Surrender to Motherhood

I’ll be totally honest. I am such a failure….and then I remember my spiritual director’s advice and how I kept on failing.  This weekend he said to me “Don’t get insulted okay? But you keep doing this and it has to stop.” I was in tears!  I think he wanted to charitably say, “You fool! I told you what you needed to do now LISTEN!”  I mean, I should know better, I know the order of things should be 1. God 2. Marriage 3. everything else; but I get so distracted so easily.  The thing is that I want to go the easy route, it’s much easier to distract myself with social media or anything else.

Want to know what the worse part is?  I felt like a hypocrite because I was praying and thanking God for my family but then I chose to ignore that which is the first thing I should be doing: focusing on my vocation as mother and teacher.  From the outside, if you showed up at my house, you’d never know it.  Lessons were complete, the house is clean, and food yummy…but I was stressing and I was also stressing my children.  The worst part is that I kept getting mad at the children for not doing their part and then I realized it was ME who wasn’t doing my part.  I get so distracted….and then things don’t run as smoothly as they should and I start calling myself a failure.  This all because I was giving other things importance so things around here were suffering.

When I get to this point, I want to quit homeschooling, being the housewife, and just go the easy route and go back to work and put the kids in school.  A life, I have already led and hated.  So I begged God to give me THIS life, and so He did…and I’m so ungrateful because I abuse it.  So what was my breaking point?  I was having a conversation with a seminarian friend of mine and asked him how things were going.  He said he struggled with keeping with the strict schedule and routine at the seminary.  He grew up in a homeschooled setting but apparently his mother was “frequently and easily distracted”.  He might as well have slapped me on the face!  So, as I was kneeling in Adoration I asked myself, why?  Why do I go down this path, time and time again….when what I want and need to do to get my family there is RIGHT IN MY FACE?

After all, I want my children to succeed in life and be able to keep a schedule but more importantly, if the Lord calls them to the religious life or priesthood, I don’t want them to struggle with this…because it will be due to my lack of fortitude.  “When things go wrong in the day, step back, grab your Bible, say a prayer, and relax.  Then try again,” Father said to me in the Confessional this past Sunday.  “Don’t let yourself go to THAT place.”  HOW on Earth did he know that I go there?  {I know it’s really the Holy Ghost speaking through him.}  But it’s like a snowball coming down a hill, feeling sorry for myself, feeling like a failure…and all sorts of things.  I have to stop, it’s not the kids, or my husband, it’s me…I let this happen.   So when my husband got home one evening, I sat with him and we spoke about what we wanted to be true for our family, what kind of example we wanted to be as a family to others, and how to use those principles to make good decisions about our priorities and commitments.

When I told my dear friend that I was going to write about this on Catholic Sistas she immediately said, “Oh, you know it’ll come across as super holy and pious.”

I laughed.

It might sound this way to you…but how could it?  I failed to fulfill my vocation as mother and teacher to my children.  I’m horrible at two things that makes this get worse:  1.  getting to bed at a decent time and 2. sticking to a schedule.  Then I thought about my own childhood and my beautiful, wonderful, amazing, pious and loving mother had these same issues.  So what do I know?  I don’t.  But this is the moment to stop, listen, read, educate, learn, and practice this…not just for me, because it’s my duty as their mother but for them, and their future.

I’ve tried all the cool and latest methods and modes of keeping a schedule.  I did learn that a super strict schedule is my demise; I fail faster.  But just like anything else in life, if I set a small goal and meet it, then I can set another and meet it…slow and steady wins the race.  Since I am not an organized person by nature, never was as a child, nor a young adult, and now as an adult, it has been one of my constant struggles.  When I first read books like A Mother’s Rule of Life by Holly Pierlot, I thought, “There is no way I can micro-manage my life like that – NEVER happening, nope…I will be miserable!”  Honestly, I believed that becoming a micro-manager in my home, homeschool, and daily life would equal a tormented mommy and wife.  I mean if every aspect of my life was organized and timed and schedule, when would I find the time to “play”, “relax” and really “enjoy life”.  So I went with the flow like I always did, organized my homeschool, some, the house, some, my prayer life, some.  But my so-called “freedom mentality” was just the opposite!  Yeah, I admit it, I was dead wrong!  So it’s time to change my old habits…go hide in my little cocoon (my house), and grow into a different kind of person, a different mom and wife.  The one that God called me to be not the one that I am now.

A wise Catholic friend of mine, Bernadette Walker once said something that stuck with me, “If the only “monastery” we create is our children, let’s personally teach them to love Christ and His Church. If we do, the faith in our families will be a living water, another Holy well to last throughout generations.”  I created an image to print and post around my house as a constant reminder that THIS is what my job is.  Creating a “monastery” for my children by being the Christian I tell them I want them to be.

Today, I kept all distractions at bay, focused on the kids, the housework, and guess what?  I had two whole breaks, one in the afternoon and another in the evening to enjoy the kids, relax and even get a little Facebook in.  So yeah, nothing pious and holy and perfect here….I am definitely a work in progress, we all are, right?  Which is why we are called PRACTICING Catholics and not the “we got this all figured out” Catholics.  My goal right now is to give back to God what He has given me.  Baby steps, little by little, a daily commitment that I am making right now.  Please pray for me as tomorrow is a new day and today was a fruitful day.  You know that Satan and his minions will be on the prowl since I now have told them to, “Shut up and leave me alone!”

 

I know the Lord will bless my life tremendously when I do what I’m supposed to do, in an organized manner on the home front.  After all, the woman is the heart of the home.  My children are looking up to me, and if I want them to be obedient I need to give them a good example.  I need to imitate Our Blessed Mother more.  By doing this I can bring more peace and love into our homes; and surrender to motherhood, the fruits of my marriage vocation.

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About Alessandra

Though I am a cradle Catholic, I was a little lost sheep for sometime. Thankfully, I found my way in December of my Junior year of High school. I now write from the NE USA, where I live with my husband, a convert, and five young children. I have a Master of Science in Reading Education. In 2008, after more than fifteen years in the education field, I “retired” to begin a new career as full time mommy and home educator--a world I felt so foreign to--but now have embraced it as a total lifestyle for my clan.

  • Colleen - Wow! This really spoke to me today. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. It’s amazing how a mother’s good example can be reflected in her children. I have been finding little discipline problems creeping in here and there, and I know in my heart it’s at least partly caused by things *I* am doing or not doing.
    My mom was the perfect example of NOT being distracted from her mothering and housekeeping duties, of industriousness, and of staying on task; unfortunately for me, I have a very, very different temperament than her, and even though I have her to look up to, I still struggle with it. Those little distractions that creep up suck me in! But you are so right – baby steps. We rarely can make giant leaps on the path of sanctity; it’s usually just tiny steps, but hundreds of tiny steps built upon each other, day after day, doing our duty, is what will eventually get us there.

    I had the SAME reaction to “A Mother’s Rule of Life”, by the way. I love the book in principle, and I think she has a lot of valuable things to say (especially her in-depth discussion of the 5 P’s), but it mostly made me feel like I could NEVER do it all and that a schedule like hers would make me feel so restricted. I want to feel spontaneous!! haha. 🙂 Obviously that spontaneity hasn’t worked too well for me so far. I have found that I do well with a compromise – not having every hour scheduled, but at least having a specific chunk of time set aside for school, cleaning, and checking things off the to-do list. And truly, when I set us up on a little routine, things run so much more smoothly around here.

    Thank you for this wonderful encouragement!November 17, 2012 – 7:25 amReplyCancel

  • Cindy - “The worst part is that I kept getting mad at the children for not doing their part and then I realized it was ME who wasn’t doing my part.” Me too, me too.November 17, 2012 – 8:07 amReplyCancel

  • Nikki - Thank you for posting this.November 17, 2012 – 8:26 amReplyCancel

  • Alessandra - Oh ladies, thank you for your comments; I am not alone! 😉November 17, 2012 – 8:39 amReplyCancel

  • BirgitJ - You and I seem to be on a similar schedule – failure, realization, and then correction. I loved the way you articulated the struggle but brought it home in a very faithful and hopeful way. God bless!November 17, 2012 – 10:33 amReplyCancel

  • Rachel M - Thank you so much for this! I too have been having these exact feelings lately. I don’t know if it’s middle of the school year blues or what, but my kids have started to imitate my crabbiness over the little things. Something I never wanted to happen, I’ve been praying and trying to change my behaviors. Baby steps, you are so right!November 17, 2012 – 10:40 amReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - This was great. I feel so much of what you wrote, and you definitely didn’t come across as “super holy and pious,” it came across as REAL. Thanks for putting yourself out here and reminding those of us who feel the same way that we’re not alone.November 17, 2012 – 8:35 pmReplyCancel

  • Allison H. - What you came across as is honest and much like me (and others, I see!). I thank God you had the guts to write this down and bare a bit. Love and prayers for you and yours ~November 17, 2012 – 8:42 pmReplyCancel

  • Erika - I feel as if I could have written this post. Thank you for being real. I am encouraged to try harder now!November 17, 2012 – 8:54 pmReplyCancel

  • Monica - Awesome post and all too familiar for this stay-at-home Mom. Remember ou are unconditionally loved and sustained at every moment by His Grace. That’s what I keep telling myself…on the tough mom days…of which there have been many…just this week!November 17, 2012 – 11:09 pmReplyCancel

  • Katie K - Well now. A good friend of mine sent me this link and thought that I should read it!!! Maybe it because I am in the same place with “ready to put the kids back into school and go back to work.” And that comment is coming from a task master mommy who is on a strict schedule and doesn’t seem to have any fun with the kids!!! GOD LOVE YOU! That really spoke to me. Now, I better shut off this computer and get a good night’s sleep so I can be a kind and cheerful mom tomorrow. 🙂November 18, 2012 – 8:47 pmReplyCancel

  • Karri Reiser - Boy did I need to read that. God must be really trying to get this message to me. While I subscribe to your blog, I will admit I don’t always get to every post, every day. I do however make sure to read every blog that links up to my Our Favorite Things Link Party. It is amazing how the Holy Spirit must have prompted you to link to my party for the 1st time. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I really appreciate it.November 19, 2012 – 1:20 amReplyCancel

  • Alessandra - Well ladies, it has been a week since I wrote this and I can’t say it has been easy to keep with my promise from this blog post. BUT it was been incredibly rewarding already! Especially in how my children act around the house and their focus on school. I’ve been forced to go to sleep earlier only because I’m so exhausted, but something I need to do anyway…so yeah, it’s so worth it all around. Oh, and my husband has been in the best spirit, why? Well he doesn’t have to continuously fight with me to do my part of the marriage commitment. Everything in the house seems so much more calmer and peaceful…it’s really lovely. I only wish I had noticed all of this sooner! Thanks for your support and please pray for me as I pray for all mommies out there working hard to keep their families: healthy, happy and holy!November 26, 2012 – 1:46 pmReplyCancel

  • Aixa - Thanks for sharing such a beautiful story.November 27, 2012 – 11:28 amReplyCancel

  • Shannon - Thank you – an answer to prayer in reading. I needed some perspective, encouragement and laughter into my easily distracted mommy and wife life. oMarch 6, 2013 – 12:55 amReplyCancel

  • Colleen - I just clicked through from your post today and read this and wanted to say thank you so much for writing it – then I realized I was the first commenter on here, when this post went live a year ago! Ha. Obviously I still “needed to hear it” and haven’t improved so much over this past year that I can no longer relate. 😉November 7, 2013 – 7:35 pmReplyCancel

  • Alessandra - Colleen, Just seeing your comment! I haven’t improved very much either, in some areas yes but then I let my guard down and I fall again! I should make this pop up in my email or maybe print it out so I can read it each month? LOLDecember 2, 2013 – 6:43 pmReplyCancel

  • Jen - Thank you so much for this. I’m sitting here with tears in eyes because its like you spoke from own heart. I’m definitely a work in progress and most days I dread the new day because of this feeling of failure. I will keep you in my prayers and ask you keep me in yours!!! Thank you for your post. We have to keep fighting the good fight!December 2, 2013 – 10:50 pmReplyCancel

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