Liturgical Living...and other things I am "failing" at...
We baked a cake for Mary’s birthday on Sunday, and honestly, that was the first “liturgical living” thing I have done all year. And mainly it’s because I wanted cake. BAD. And it felt really good to have done something with my 3.5 year old, like adding a few ingredients to a boxed cake mix, and making a huge frosting mess in the kitchen together. The dishes were in a pile in the sink, my husband was cantoring at the Spanish Mass, and the baby was napping, so it was nice to bond and talk about Our Blessed Mother. And still, in that sweet moment, when my big boy and I were bonding this thought came to mind, “Wow its already September and this is the very first real liturgical living thing I am doing with the kids…I am not good at this.”
I have had a lot of those thoughts lately, like, “Wow, my kids are screaming at Mass…I am not good at this.” “This house is covered in dust and sticky unidentifiable stuff…I am not good at this.” “I am so tired and annoyed that all my kids are awake at 3 am, and I have ZERO patience for any of them…I am not good at this.”
Those lies that we tell ourselves, and that voice that we hear, that is CLEARLY NOT God’s voice, that creeps into those moments when we are trying SO hard to be loving mothers, are just that: LIES. Because when I paused for 2 seconds to really dissect those thoughts, the Truth comes in like the sunshine when you pull back the blackout curtains, bright, full, warm, and blinding. The TRUTH is that I am doing GREAT. I just had a baby, like 7 weeks ago, and somehow every night last week, we had dinner at home, and laundry was done. It was in the dryer for several days, but it was done! And the kids all ate and were fairly content all week, with the exception of every time I turn off the TV, the boys are actually doing pretty great. And our baby? She is sleeping 4 (and sometimes) 5 hours IN A ROW! Granted, I don’t think that has anything to do with me, but STILL! I am doing a lot better than I think I am, and chances are that so are you. Does that mean we can’t have a bad day, or call our husbands at 5 pm and yell “GET TAKE OUT” frantically into the phone? NO! That means that we had the forethought to know what we could and could not handle, and making dinner that night was just not in the cards. Still doing better that we think we are.
The thing is, motherhood, and being a Christian in general is super hard. Doing both feels like climbing Mount Everest with ZERO prep. But I am learning that those things that I feel like I am “failing” at, those shortcomings that I think are massive and will ruin my children forever? Those are so small in comparison to the big love I give my children on the daily. I am betting that that is also the case for you.
So no, I am not nailing it when it comes to celebrating the liturgical year at home like I imagined. No, I for some reason cannot get my 2 year old to stop sticking his hands in his poopy diaper and squishing it in between his fingers. And no, I cannot seem to find a place to hide the markers from the boys so that they DON’T draw on every surface of our home. But you know what? I am NOT failing at this motherhood thing. I wake up every day and love my children to the best of my ability and my response to grace in that moment…and I am betting so are you.
Lately our son Oliver, the 3 1/2 year old, has been telling my, “I’m proud of you, mama”. This is a free compliment that I often don’t deserve. But every time he says it I feel myself grow several inches taller, it has helped me realize that I am proud of myself too. I hope that you are proud yourself today too. I don’t mean to be prideful, but to recognize your goodness and your efforts, no matter how small and insignificant they may seem, as your response to the grace you are given each day. Those small things done in great love are really the most important things.
So, have a slice of cake, and celebrate the fact that today, you are loving your children the best you can. Can we always be better? Yes! But that doesn’t mean being our own worst critic. I am in your corner mama, cheering you on! Heck, I am in my own corner cheering myself on, and I hope you are too.