I shall accommodate myself to them as far as I can, and as long as I live I shall serve God in them in unfeigned love.-St. BernardLast month there were a couple weeks that had some moments of funk in them. The funk came and went at random times. My funk has lead me to, at times, feel insecure as a mommy. Insecure in my abilities, in my judgement calls, my decisions, my sense of accomplishment, and more. So, after the funk coming here and there as well as trying to embrace the day-to-day (or moment-to-moment, for that matter) call to love and selflessness of motherhood, I decided that being a mommy is tough stuff (Such insight, right?! I blame sleep deprivation. That is all.). As soon as I get a grasp of all the to-do's of my little one something new comes up that I have to figure out how to approach in the best and most loving way possible.
After some thought I realized that this experience of funk is a little different for me. Let me explain.
Prior to mommyhood, I graduated from high school and went on to undergraduate school to do the same, which then helped me get into graduate school. I went to graduate school which prepared me to become a licensed professional. I sought out mentors and maintained my caliber through my colleagues, supervision, and continuing education. I then transitioned to a new profession, after some discernment, through seeking out a mentor program. This mentor program as well as my new colleagues helped prepare me to be the best that I could be. Throughout all this time I've always had some sort of feedback, educational foundation, colleague, or book I could rely on for guidance, education, and encouragement.
All these things that I excelled at previous to becoming a mama all came with specific foundational preparations and societal/cultural praises. And then there was motherhood. My vocation. A vocation that I am so glad that I was chosen for by our Lord. The vocation of being a mother full-time so that I can raise my son and be the best wife possible. A vocation (not truly considered a career by our culture) but one that has challenged me more than the careers that I have experienced up to this point in my life. One that I've desired for so long. This vocation was a seed that was planted in my heart many years ago. A seed which I then nourished with prayer and the sacraments. And yet, after everything has been said and done, this beautiful vocation came with no instructions or educational preparation.
Sure, there is always the wonderful support and ways that are passed down from parents (which I do treasure and have helped), and there's what you can remember from growing up, the doctors who know best, the internet with a plethora of information, as well as all the oodles of books and theories that each have their own say as to what is the ultimate best thing for your child. All of these things are good (Sometimes overwhelming, but good nonetheless.). But when it comes down to the day-to-day, there is nothing that can prepare you for all that comes with raising another human being with a beautiful and perfect soul.
As you can only imagine, I am not a fan of the funk in any capacity except for this: that it has encouraged me to pray more, to seek God more, spend more time meditating on our Blessed Mother, to search from within and try to better myself, and to reach out to other moms. These amazing women who have been where I am now and the amazing ones that are exactly where I am now. The beautiful thing about my reaching out to these lovely women has been the responses that I consistently received. I've found there to be a common theme. A theme of love.
Which leads me to this new blog. The month of January has been devoted to transferring my previous blog to this present one. In this time I was forced to find a new blog title, which was exciting and exhausting because I, of course, want something that is meaningful and just 'perfect'. And like I mentioned before, through all my conversations with friends and loved ones, the theme of love was constant.
These friends and loved ones reminded me that no other person will love my child the way I do. That all throughout time, God intended for this little one to be under my care, and that that is good. That I should trust that. That I should trust the deep-rooted love that I have for my son whom I carried in my womb, by the grace of God. I was reminded that, because I love him so much, all that I do is therefore done with love by default. And as we all know, God is love, making my efforts of Him and good. I was also reminded that I am not alone. I was encouraged to trust the love and the path God has given to me that ultimately pours forth onto my husband, my son, my family, my friends, and all I meet.
During these times of prayer and reflection, I picked up a book that is very dear to me - Fulfillment of all Desires by Ralph Martin. In there he was talking about the fruits of our work. He was talking about love. At one particular part he was sharing about St. Bernard and how he preferred to "Err on the side of love" when it came to all things. That statement clicked for me. When in doubt, when I am confused, when I am insecure in my own abilities, I need just err on the side of love as well as remember the value of what I am doing which I was reminded of by stumbling across Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen's wisdom below.
To value only what can be "sold" is to defile what is truly precious. The innocent joy of childhood, the devotedness of a wife, the self sacrificing service of a daughter--none of these have an earthly market. To reduce everything to the dirty scales of economic values is to forget that some gifts, like Mary's, are so precious that the heart that offers them will be praised as long as time endures.
―Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
After all the thoughts, prayers, and readings, the title of this blog was born. In my life, I do want to remember this. I want to remember how St. Bernard lived his life erring on the side of love rather than caution (i.e. fear, insecurities, doubt, etc). I want to emulate this way of love, all the while, remembering the value of motherhood - the vocation I have been gifted by my sweet Lord.
Hopefully I can continue on remembering this way of love and choose to live it with all that I am; meanwhile, soaking up all the amazing goodness my son and husband, family and friends all share with me.
Have you ever experienced feelings like the ones I mention? How did you discern them? Or was transitioning to motherhood one filled with grace and ease? If so, what's your secret?
St. Bernard, Pray for us.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen, Servant of God, Pray for us.