I write this for the guilty mom. You know who you are. Guilt surrounds you like a spider spinning thread around its prey, or like a jumble of toys growing rapidly on your living room floor, threatening suffocation and feelings of uselessness. You bear a sense of guilt for many things. Indeed, the guilty verdict is always before you, and it shows on your face. Of this guilt St. Anselm says: "To lie hidden, will be impossible; to appear will be intolerable." You cannot hide it, nor hide from it. You are the guilty mom.
And just what are you guilty of? You are guilty of wasting time. What on earth did you accomplish this week, much less today? You are guilty of failing another supper, complete with overcooked veggies and undercooked meat for one child, and undercooked veggies and overcooked meat for another. Perhaps you should not have left the cooking to the last minute? You are guilty of spending too much time on Facebook, and the pain of regret devours your conscience, especially when your perfect friend is posting continuously on her perfect life and perfect family. You are guilty of ignoring your children. Deep down you believe this was better than simply yelling at them all day. You are guilty of jealousy towards your husband and his career. His recognition of achievement, and his ability to have a break from raising children throughout the day, is so far removed from what you do. You are guilty of going out in public with unsightly clothes, ignoring the dirty bathroom, leaving a mess of greasy dishes for your husband to do when he comes home (that selfish blockhead), spending too much money on children's clothes, not exercising regularly, forgetting to pay the water bill, finishing the chocolate, and finally of beginning the next day without any hope of change.
The guilt of the mom is further weighed by the guilt of living the status quo. Idleness is the devil's workshop, and sadness and regret its instruments. Fear not. You do not have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great. Can it not be that change can begin in small ways?
What if children were prayer-trained? When you first wake up they could have a bisquit and a book, and be taught to be quiet while you pray. Perhaps five minutes to start, and onward and upward. Would this not help? What if a quick load of laundry, with the selfish need of getting yourself a clean shirt, could be actualized from time to time, rather than doing all seven overwhelming loads at once? What if meals were planned out, or at least you knew that on Tuesday was pasta night, Wednesday brunch-for-supper, Thursday stir fries, and so on? Would the consistency be of benefit? What about making to-do lists? Checking off accomplishments? Limiting Facebook to certain times? Knowing that a break from your children is ok? That yelling at them should scream to you: "Go have a nap woman!" What about asking your husband for some alone time instead of resenting his career? Seriously, just ask (politely!). You see, the guilt requires but a small step, and then another, and before long you no longer need to feel inferior to Mrs. Facebook-Perfect and her cavity-free perfect children.
Guilt must not freeze your efforts. Start small, but go the distance: “You cannot be half a saint; you must be a whole saint or no saint at all,” (St. Therese of Lisieux). Guilt might never leave, but it must not leave you paralyzed.
Finally, know that you are guilty of other actions which must not be forgotten. You are guilty of nurturing a home and not a house. Did not Christ Himself will to dwell in and sanctify a home? You are guilty of raising children to be responsible, happy, and faith-filled. When your daughter walks around with a baby doll, she is telling you that what you do is dignified, worthy of imitation, and all around amazing. You are guilty of pushing yourself beyond what you thought capable, with little to no recognition. That extreme fatigue is anything but the devil's workshop of idleness. You are guilty of pride; pride for the gift of life God has bestowed on your family. You are guilty of love. It is a love that sacrifices, hurts, cries, and keeps moving forward. It is a love that changes diapers in the night, holds a sick child with no thought towards contracting the illness, worries for their future, longs for the husband to be near, dries tears, laughs and sings, and ultimately brings joy and peace to the home; perfect supper or no perfect supper. Yes you are guilty of love, and in the end you will only be judged by how much you have loved.
Photo Credit: criminaldefenselawyers.com.au
Popular posts from this blog
An update of my thoughts on Exodus 90 can be found HERE . Exodus 90 is underway for many Catholic men. It is an intense 90 day program based on prayer, asceticism, and fraternity. For 90 days these men will take cold showers, abstain from alcohol and most media, fast twice per week, give up snacks and desserts, along with various other spiritual tasks. I applaud such a penitential spirit. The inevitable…. HOWEVER… However, I do have two concerns about Exodus 90 which could use some explaining. 1: Sundays The Church already has a wise, if not perfect, system of fasting and feasting. Catholics are encouraged to do penance on Wednesdays and Fridays (some add in Saturdays as well). In addition, there are specific periods of penance (Lent, Advent, Ember Days). Feasting occurs on Sundays as well as on major Feast Days and Solemnities (e.g. the Assumption of Mary). There is a built in balance to life. My problem with Exodus 90 is that, from what I hear, Sundays and F
There is always a certain amount of fear and trembling when I begin writing a piece on a somewhat unfamiliar subject. Perhaps all that will be demonstrated here is my ignorance and incompetence. To which I suppose my wife would reply: “You’d think you’d be used to that by now.” But I write this piece simply for the fact that Catholic trends, even good ones, need sober reflection and refinement. I refer to the Exodus 90 program. [i] Earlier in 2020 – simpler times to be sure - I listened with interest to a podcast on Exodus 90. In it I heard that this program, which was founded in 2013, is an intense 90 day program based on prayer, asceticism, and fraternity. For 90 days men take cold showers, abstain from alcohol and most media, fast twice per week, give up snacks and desserts, meet weekly with a small group of participants, exercise regularly, all the while following a regimented prayer schedule. I applaud such a penitential spirit (though it seems that cold showers in the de
951 Songs/Psalms/Commentaries $17.09 USD Oregon Catholic Press Every now and then a book comes along which is rich in wisdom and beauty, and profoundly enlightening to all who encounter it. The latest Breaking Bread 2021 hymnal is not one of those books. Tiresome, inane, fluffy, fruity, and worthless are all words that come to mind when I consider the latest liturgical offering from our bishops. 2020 was a rough year. 2021 is already off to a mortifyingly awful start. Enough with the suspense. Let's dive into it. Behold a few examples of what to expect at a church near you in 2021: At first I misread this title and thought it was Guns & Roses with Knocking on Heaven's Door. And then I thought of Paul McCartney singing "Someone's knocking at the door...." Sadly, it is neither. I love the juxtaposition though. "Somebody's knock-in' at your door," versus the Stabat Mater . I can just see the choir director, "Hmm... shall we meditate on t
Mark Twain once mused that “all you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.” These seem like fitting words to begin as I, quivering with emotion, scribe a few words on the death of the fictional (and yet real) Susan from the Parish Council . Her ignorance was inestimable, her confidence impenetrable, and her success undeniable. Not that I can confirm Susan has indeed passed from this life to her eternal… reward. To further cite Twain, perhaps reports of her death have been greatly exaggerated. I suppose Susan can rise from any alleged demise. Truth be told, if Susan is not cremated first, I imagine her funeral as such, with the priest requesting additional “ministers” of Holy Communion, and Susan rising from the casket to pump the Purell and serve Jesus to all her sisters and brothers. But for now, I will dare to speak of Susan as having died. Her online “group newsletter” via Facebook/Twitter has gone silent. She warned recently she was sick
The following is a talk I recently gave at a Catholic men's group: Let’s begin by examining the secular “wokeness” on fasting. Gone are the days of weight loss programs like Weight Watchers… where you simply eat less each meal! Sounds simple, right? Fewer calories means you lose weight. The problem is that it never worked that well. The reduced number of calories per meal also reduced one’s energy as well, dipped into muscle storage, and offered frugal results. Science now shows that full out fasting is the perfect method for proper health. The secular world’s latest trend is intermittent fasting . One builds up how long a person can go in between meals. The ideal is to eat one meal a day. The meal could consist of almost your regular day’s intake (say 75%). What happens is that your body, when full out fasting, actually dips into fat storage for energy. You maintain your energy, lose weight, and it’s perfectly healthy, if not natural. Science shows that intermittent
It is our first full day on our family vacation. After being imprisoned far too long in our little area due to COVID regulations, we are bursting at the seems to traverse and climb the Rocky Mountains. But first, a night in Drumheller, Alberta. The scenery is stunning, yet we are perhaps too excited to see the mountains to give Drumheller its due respects. Also of note, we are a little rusty at camping. It's been a few years since we went on a major trip. This being the first full day, we are disheveled already, and misplacing items left and right. Never mind. It is morning, and before we pack up the campsite I decide to go for a quick jog. I take out my combat rosary , place it on the picnic table at our site, and head out for some exercise throughout the stunning landscape. What a beautiful place. Alas, I return, and our packing up begins in haste. Soon enough we head into the van, eager to hit the highway. Suddenly I slam on the brakes! "Where's my combat rosary!?!"