On May 12th we honor motherhood by celebrating Mother’s Day.  May is also a milestone for the family.  During May thousands of children will receive their first Communion.  In Catholic families it’s a time to celebrate your child receiving the Eucharist.  And of course, May is also the month we recognize Mary; the ultimate example of motherhood, the one who carried Jesus in her womb, thereby making it possible that we all can experience the joy of receiving the Eucharist.  I believe these events are connected. 

Starting with motherhood, Is there a perfect formula for being a good mother?  I think yes!

Motherhood is one big ball of emotion!  Its unconditional love, fear, frustration, compassion, hope, anger, sympathy, grief, strength, weakness, confidence, insecurities, and grace! Essentially, you will never be the person you were before you became a mother.  Why do I say this?  Let me give you an example or two of what I mean:

You think to yourself, “Is that household appliance I want to buy going to become a “child killer?” 

When I drop my child off for kindergarten or college – the feeling is the same trust me; it feels like dropping a puppy off at the pound? 

You understand completely  the meaning behind the phrase “mother bear!”

Every hurt, every joy, every mean word, every word of praise, given to your child goes directly to your heart!

You pray your child never falls victim to bullying all the while reading up on everything you can get your hands on about what to do when it happens.

You are desperate your child isn’t excluded on the birthday party invitations at school.  When it’s time for your child’s birthday, you break the bank making sure they are made to feel special.  Every cupcake has to have the same amount of sprinkles on them.    It may seem ridiculous but this is about making your child feel good about themselves.

Your child throws up, no worries; you are there to catch it.  When you see a child (not your own) throw up, you look at their mother and nod your head in understanding.

You will not leave the grocery store without picking up new crayons or magic markers.

You make your child wear a sweater because you’re cold.

You are quick to anger if someone says something negative about your child.

Your life which you once thought important you would give up in a heartbeat to save your child.  You will begin to hope for more years, not so much to achieve your own accomplishments, but to watch your child accomplish theirs.

I can go on.  But, you get the idea.

Where do we learn about this important role of motherhood?  Mostly from our own mothers example.  I Know I feel blessed that I had a wonderful mother to learn about unconditional love, sacrifice, coping with challenges, and the importance of getting to know your children which I assure you is at the very core of what it means to be a good mother.  When you are a mother, your relationship with your husband changes.  You love him so much more when you see him play with your child and dry your child’s tear.

Finally, being a good mother ultimately can be traced back to Mary, Jesus mother.  She was our ultimate example of what motherhood is about.  She is the greatest of all mothers.

Motherhood has always been a sacred and noble vocation, but Mary raised it to even greater

stature when she became the Mother of God. As the mother who is “blessed among women”

(Lk 1:42), Mary gives us the clearest and most inspiring picture of what the ideal mother should

look like.

The gospel says that Jesus was obedient to Mary (Lk 2:51), which implies that Mary was firm but

loving with her Son.  When Jesus was crucified, Mary stood at the foot of the Cross and suffered with

him (Jn 19:25). She never abandoned her son; and God’s son, even during adulthood, particularly when

things were at their worst. This sort of unconditional love is ideal for the role of motherhood. 

Mothers like Mary stand with their children throughout life, especially when things go bad, even if they

are unable to alter the course of tragic events, to offer love and support in whatever way they can.

I want to tell all mothers  what I learned from my mother.  Your children are only on loan to you.  They are a gift from God!  God wants us to raise our children to one day lead back to Him.  Motherhood, a  piece of cake right?  Happy Mother’s Day!   It’s well deserved!

The writer is a member of Holy Trinity Parish in Beaverton.