I am a far cry from the perfect mother. My home doesn’t look like the inside of a cathedral, nor does it look like a scene from any of my Pinterest boards.
Some days my daughter spends half an hour playing with the box that her diapers arrived in because it keeps her occupied long enough for me to cook dinner. Some days dinner comes out of a box. Or a can. Or a pre-packaged Gerber container (my daughter’s dinner, that is. I don’t eat her baby food…unless I’m desperate. Kidding. Sort of.). My daughter doesn’t have a sensory board or have different kinds of ‘playing experiences’ each and every day. Some days she naps like a champ, other days she refuses naps.
There are some – admittedly rare – days that I feel I’m on my motherhood game. It feels as though I know what I’m doing trying to raise this little saint. But then there are days – and this is the vast majority of days – that I have no idea what I’m doing. There’s food in my baby’s hair, there’s food in my hair, the house is a mess, my child is screaming and I’m doing my best not to scream back at her. There have been days I’ve placed her in her crib just so I could go scream into my pillow because I’m at my wit’s end. Trust me when I say that there are days that there aren’t enough Instagram filters in the world to make this motherhood thing look pretty. More often than not this motherhood thing brings me to my knees.
As the saying goes, though, being knocked to my knees leaves me in the perfect position to pray, which I do. A lot.
Prayer, I have no doubt, is what gets me through the day – far more than eating or breathing does. Lately, the prayer I find most comforting, most uplifting, most inspiring, is the Memorare. I remember that my confessor in college would give me that prayer (and any number of decades of the rosary) as penance. It never spoke to me quite that much as a college student, but in my own motherhood I find it so soothing.
I’d like to believe that Mary had days where it all seemed too much, and yet she was and is the perfect mother. Pinterest has nothing on her. Nothing. She loved with grace, she was filled with grace, and she parented perfectly.
On the days that I feel like a colossal failure as a mother, I turn (or fall on my knees – sometimes literally) to her. I beg her to share some of that grace with me, the grace that it takes to be such a loving, perfect, holy mother raising a saint for the Kingdom. It is in my most trying moments as a wife and mother that I find the most comfort in the Memorare. On the off chance that you’ve never come across this prayer, I want to share it with you – wherever you are in your life.
The older I get (not that I’m that old!), the more I find comfort in Mary, in her womanhood, and even in her perfection. She encourages me like a mother does. She never flaunts her perfection, she only offers it as a source of inspiration to pick myself up and keep going. Run to her. And I do mean run, don’t walk, don’t crawl, run to her. Satan fears her like no other because she – fully human – gave her unconditional yes to the Lord. She waits for you as a perfect mother, to embrace you, to encourage you, and to strengthen you.
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
We shall not be left unaided. Don’t crawl. Don’t walk. Don’t even run. Fly to her. Fly to your mother and be enveloped in her mercy and protection.