Saturday, March 01, 2008

Being a Catholic Mom

Being a Catholic shapes all of my decisions, but the area in which it has its' most significant role is that of being a parent.

I can remember as a child, my mother used to pray the rosary on a daily basis in hopes that one of her children would ultimately become either a nun or a priest. None of us entered into the religious vocation, so does that mean that all of my mother's prayers were for naught?

I think not. I think that mom's prayers also served a purpose of helping us choose the vocation God actually wanted for us. For me, that vocation was/is being a mom.

Over the years, I have tried to model my parenting by keeping the phrase "gentle but firm" as my mantra. I tried to imagine how Mary, the mother of Jesus, would handle certain situations, and I relied a lot on that image. Some of you may remember the miracle that TP experienced in November of 2005 when she was so deathly ill. If you don't recall, please go back through my archives (wish I knew how to link to it but I don't have a clue) to read of how I asked Mary, as one mom to another, to help me through that situation and to ask God for a miracle on my daughter's behalf. It still sends shudders up my spine each time when I think of the response to my prayers!

My youngest daughter and I were having a very serious discussion the other day. She's experiencing a deep crisis of faith right now, as I mentioned in a post a few days ago. As she was explaining how difficult it is for her to believe in our religion right now, I was thinking of how my mother used to tell me that a mother's job is to raise her kids so that they make it to heaven. So, as my daughter is telling me how she wants to "explore" other religions, I found myself getting really sad - thinking that somehow I had let her down, and let God down, by not keeping her on the "right path" to her salvation. I thought of how sad I would be if I did get to heaven, and not being able to see her eventually some day if she decided to reject God. I felt like such a failure! So, I explained to my daughter that when I was in college, I read a lot about other religions besides Christianity, and I found them to be fascinating. But, eventually I found my way back to Christ because He holds the key to my salvation. I let her know that her questionings and doubts were understandable, given what happened to her - and that reading about other religions would help her understand how they differ from ours, and might even help her to ultimately decide (like I did) that she does want to stay a Christian. I didn't chastise her, I didn't yell at her - but I may have inflicted a little bit of a guilt trip into her when I told her what my mom said to me about raising our kids so that they get to heaven (I'm great at giving guilt trips - the hallmark of a true Catholic mom!). She seemed relieved that we were able to talk and get it out in the open, and she promised me that we would have more talks about it as she went through this process. I am grateful that she will be living at home during her college years, so I will still be able to have some influence over her to a certain degree. So, I still have 5 more years of praying and encouraging, and helping her heal from the trauma she went through several years ago.

My oldest daughter went through her own rebellion for a couple of years, but is now back on track, thanks to a lot of prayers from a lot of people. The culture out there goes against the very things which we try to instill in our kids - a respect for life, a respect for our values and teachings, a respect of our traditions, and a willingness to follow God's will for our lives. This young lady had never given any of us any trouble, until she got involved with a man who was the direct opposite of all we had taught her to believe in, and he did all that he could to pull her away from our influence. Another man came along who pulled her even farther away from God and all that we held dear. Fortunately, she was able to pull herself away from these destructive and abusive grips on her, and she is now very active in her faith again.

I do not take my vocation lightly. I will always guide my girls in the way of the Lord. And that doesn't always make me the most "popular" mom around and I've been accused of being pretty old-fashioned. But God chose me to be my kids' mom for a reason - and that reason is to help them through their crises here on earth to prepare them for the joy which awaits them when they meet Him in heaven. And I am SO grateful and blessed to be their mom.


At 4:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen. Been there, still there.. All my kids are still Christian, but I can't call any of them Catholics, for they do not practice it. Unless my son finally made it to confession and communion between July when he was deployed, and now somewhere in Iraq.

Our culture is severe, the battle is fierce--much worse than when we were their ages. There is no "village" anymore.. all venues seem bent on skewing chastity. It's all about "Me".. very frustrating. But as my son said, "You laid the foundations. You did what you could. And you pray." True, but will they be ok?

I don't know, but you've given me solace today, in making me think God chose me to be their mom. Thank you. I'll pray for your girls today. And for you.

At 9:21 PM, Blogger Gina Burgess said...

The Proverb, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it," is so very true.

Questions, doubts, all are the beginnings of the deep dig. Praise God for the Holy Spirit who guides and directs. If not, we'd surely get lost in this foreign world. Amen.

At 7:54 AM, Blogger My Kid's Mom said...

Dear JM - What a wonderful comment. I think what your son said is SO true - "you did what you could". That is all that we can do, and the rest is up to our kids. And thank you for your prayers.

Gina - Hey, friend, welcome back! Thank you for the gentle reminder that questions and doubts are all part of our spiritual journeys, and a very necessary part of them. Hope all is well with you.

At 7:12 AM, Blogger Barbara said...

Amen. With the wise comments of from your friends here I can add nothing more...

Only that we can plant the seeds on good, soil, add compost and water...and let them grow... hopefully and prayerfully into the light...

At 6:18 PM, Blogger Damama T said...

I dreamt of you a few nights ago. I knew it was you because the house in your header was in the background. You were pushing something very heavy and kept looking to me for help, but all I could do was stand and watch. I felt so helpless. I've been trying to find you again ever since... don't know why I lost track of you in the first place! LOL! I finally located one of your comments and here I am.

Now, reading about your struggles with DQ, my heart breaks for you. As in the dream, there's not much I can do but offer a shoulder and some moral support. One thing that gets me through all the venom that sometimes pours fourth from my daughter, and previously from my youngest son, are Cheryl's words that often kids chose to vent on their moms because we are safe. They are angry at their life situation; at themselves for either not being able to, or just simply NOT making better choices; at other people who will walk away if they release the full power of their anger on them. They cannot forgive themselves, and so cannot even being, yet, to her our apologies for our own mistakes and forgive us. So, we mothers, as the unconditional, unshakable love givers get blasted. In some sick, and often hurtful way, it's sort of a compliment!

This whole mothering gig is such an enigma. We are the most loved, most honored, and most hated all at once. We are the dream makers and fun takers; rule makers and exception takers - all at once. My only solice is that, in the end, THEY FINALLY GROW THE HECK UP! ;o)

You are a professional and I know you know all of this - but I thought I'd toss it out just in case the mother needed a reminder. If there is anything I can do to help you through the maze, I'd be honored to assist.

I wish you peace and will hold you in my prayers.

At 6:34 AM, Blogger Vicki said...

Appreciate your motherly heart, my friend. I can sure relate! And this may sound strange, but it wasn't until I left Catholicism behind, that I found Christ. It's quite a story. God used my concern for the spiritual upbringing of my three children to reach *me* first:-) It blew me away (in a good way:-)

I'll keep your daughters and family in my prayers. He loves our children even more than we can...and He is able to draw them and keep them with His grace.


At 8:54 AM, Blogger My Kid's Mom said...

Barbara, Damama, Vicki - thank you for your concern and prayers. I feel so safe and protected knowing that I have people from all over the world praying for me and my family!!! Happy Easter!

At 12:46 PM, Blogger Greg said...

Hi Val: You can reach me at Thanks!


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