As you may or may not know, I’m a mom. I’m a mom all day, every day. While I am, at least technically, a part-time missionary, I am still a full-time mom, one who spends the majority of her days at home with two kids. On the off chance that the baby lets me set her down, my toddler instant perks up and wants to be held and spend that quality time with mom that she used to have exclusively before the baby was born.
Most of my day revolves around my kids, raising them, helping them reach milestones, etc. Whether it is teaching the toddler new words or encouraging the baby to roll over (and at the same time trying to enjoy the days of a baby who isn’t so mobile), most of my brainpower goes to mothering.
All of that is well and good since I know I’m called to the vocation of motherhood, but long before I was a mom, I was a daughter, and not just any daughter, but God’s daughter.
Recently I had one of those ultra-trying days as a mom. After an exhausting morning, both girls seemed to have their own meltdowns at the same moment which led to me breaking down and crying too. If you can’t beat them, join them, right? (Not my normal parenting philosophy!) At the end of the day, with the toddler asleep, my husband told me to go to adoration. He even took the baby for me at a time of night that she’s usually quite fussy.
I left the house – solo! – and drove to adoration. The chapel was quaint and simple. By the grace of God I even got some time with just me and Jesus in the chapel. In those quiet moments, I broke down. My identity had been lost in my children. My success or failure – at least in my own mind – as a person was wrapped up in their success or failure. Sure, most of my day revolves around these tiny little souls gifted to me with the task of getting them back to heaven, but if I don’t know who I am and where I am going, how on earth am I going to get these kids to heaven? I’m not, not if I keep up the way I’ve been lately. How can I remind them that we aren’t the sum of our failures but rather the sum of the Father’s love for us (JPII!) if I don’t know that truth – and live it – myself?
Motherhood may well be my vocation, but it is not my identity. My identity is first as a daughter of God and everything else flows from that. If I try to work it some other way, as though I’m a mom first and a daughter of God second, I’ll fail at everything. I’m a daughter of God first, then a wife, then a mother to my kids.
As I sat on that chapel floor laying my heart at His feet (yes, I actually sat on the floor like a kid at school because I am but a child, striving to learn from the Teacher) I realized that I’ve been living my life backwards. I have to take time to center myself as His daughter. I have to take time to be a wife. The more secure and aware I am of my daughterhood, the better wife I’ll be. The more rooted and firm I am in my daughterhood, the better mother I’ll be. I don’t become a better wife or mother by toughing it out all on my own and powering through each day in survival mode. I become a better wife and mother by being a better daughter, by taking time to listen to the words of my Father, and by taking time to talk to Him. If I’m not hearing Him call me daughter, I’m never going to be able to effectively teach my daughters to hear Him either.
It certainly isn’t news and it isn’t new, but it bears repeating because I (we) often forget: I am His daughter first. Above everything and everyone else. If I lose who I am in Him, everything else slowly cracks and falters. I become a better wife, mother, and person by being a better daughter, a daughter who makes her Father a priority in her daily life. After all, it isn’t just about talking the talk of being His daughter, it is about walking the walk, every minute of every day.