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The Job of a Mother

Someone recently told me that my job as a mother is sacred. I heard the words, I accepted their comfort, but I didn’t quite feel their full weight. They felt good as it gave me relief that the long days were important. But I realized the sacredness isn’t just about finding worth in my efforts; the sacredness in being a mom is also, and perhaps more so, about the impact we create on our children.

A song came to mind one afternoon that sent me flying back to church during the late 80’s. I heard the strum of the guitar, my mother’s voice relaying the hymn and slowly drifting into my mind, I saw a beautiful vision of her hands and the veins that fed them while gripping the wood pew (Back then, I was likely around 40-inches tall. I couldn’t see much at mass so I had a “fun” game of pressing down the veins in my mom’s hands. Now, in my late 30’s, I realize how much she must have LOVED it…). And as this brief memory of a moment came to a close, I was struck by the realization: The sacredness in a mother’s vocation isn’t so much about giving her self-worth (she is already immensely valuable), it is about shaping her children.

The sacredness of motherhood is that the vocation is a gift for her children, to God’s children.

Now, my kids are extremely rowdy. They are high energy, make a heck of a lot of noise and are visibly chaotic. Looking at all of the other moms and their seemingly well-behaved, quiet children, it makes a woman take pause. It makes it feel like the job done is not so well done and perhaps could even be considered a failure. But I’m realizing that my children’s behavior isn’t what matters here. What matters is the impact, what they will take forward with them in the future, what they will look back on, just as I now have, and recall the woman at the helm with great fondness because of the love she gave and the feelings she invoked within them.

For a moment, think about your own childhood. Who resides in most of your memories? Maybe it’s not even your biological mother, but rather someone who took the job as a mom in another capacity. Reflecting on my childhood, almost all of my memories involve my mother. Even if she wasn’t actively engaging with me, she was there. Maybe it was her gentle tone in the background, her sacrificing as she scrubbed the rust-colored floors of our sunroom or perhaps just her presence was enough to create an impact. We always had a meal (to be specific, roast chicken and boiled carrots), clean clothes and a mostly, worry-free life. Because my mother took the caregiver role, the majority of my memories include her, even if she just warmed the recollections with her presence.

There is something so special about being a mother.

So if you feel your job as a mother doesn’t matter or that you aren’t doing it well, remember that your children will remember you, even if it’s just you being a side story to their memory or someone in the background. They will remember how they felt with you by their side – safe, cared for and loved. And no memory and no impact could ever be greater than that.

Keep up the good work, Mom. Thank you for the important job you are doing and please, have the happiest Mother’s Day.

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