After last week’s post on the All-Powerful Mother, I started to think about how we, as mothers, can ensure that we are setting ourselves up for success in our interactions with our husband and children. If it is really true that we “possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous” for our families, then we need to be intentional about making sure that we are physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy ourselves. How can we do this?
Of course, daily prayer is always the best place to start, and regularly receiving the sacraments of holy Eucharist and Confession are also crucial. After these essentials, however, everyone’s needs are going to be different and will vary depending on temperament, stage of life, etc. If I am a nursing mother of 2 young children, I am going to have very specific needs when it comes to nutrition and sleep, for example. In order to set myself up for success, I will need to make sure that I can nap at some point during the day, eat and drink plenty, and take care of my physical recovery after giving birth. Another example could relate to temperament; if I am an extrovert, I will need to make sure that I am engaged in playgroups and nights out with my friends in order to feel energized. If I am an introvert, on the other hand, while I may still enjoy participating in activities, I will need to make sure that I have at least 10 minutes to myself every day in order to re-charge, or else I will feel physically and mentally exhausted all of the time.
My challenge for each of you today is to take some time to figure out what your needs are – physically, mentally, and spiritually – and to write them down. If you’re stumped, think about your “good days” and your “bad days.” What are the triggers that set you off on a downward spiral? Lack of sleep or exercise? Busy schedules? Feeling isolated from your friends? Messy house? Now, think about what helps you to remain joyful and patient in your daily family life. Is it frequent conversations with your husband? Regular exercise? Small, thoughtful gifts or acts of service from your friends or spouse? There are no right or wrong answers here, and believe me, it isn’t selfish to do a self-assessment like this once in awhile. You are simply taking the time to be honest with yourself, with the greater goal of becoming a more joyful and peaceful individual. Who could argue with that?!
Once you have come up with a couple of items, bring your list to prayer and ask God to help you come up with a plan of action. You may start with just one or two small goals that will help you in your daily life, but the point is to be intentional about what you need in order to set yourself up for success. Daily life as a mother can be tough, and there are many trials that will come. Our children need us to remain joyful and steadfast through it all, and we need to be honest about how we can make this happen!
Our Lady, Help of Christians, pray for us!