(Book Study: The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers by Meg Meeker - Habit #1)
Let me start this reflection with a quote from the book – If every mother . . . could wrap her mind around her true value as a woman and mother, her life would never be the same. We would wake up every morning excited for the day rather than feeling as though we’d been hit by a truck during the night. Although we do many things for our families, we tend not to consider them of much value. How often we rattle off the list – chef, laundress, nurse, teacher, chauffeur – but because we are not “really” any of these, we must be nothing. Not every mother is all of these, but every mother is something. We are needed and loved by our children, even when they don’t want to need or love us. So what does this have to do with waking each morning with anticipation? My son is taking a college history course from a professor who has blended his Catholic Faith with Eastern Spirituality. This strange blend often creates conflicting beliefs, but is nevertheless, an exhilarating adventure to the young people looking for meaning and excitement in a world that is largely negative and boring. Am I much different? Not really – I am looking for adventure as well. Most of us approach our lives as a series of tasks to complete – not very exciting to be sure. But our lives can be different if we embrace the value that God has given us, and view each day as an opportunity to use our gifts for the good of others. The challenge is to begin the journey so that we can experience the adventure.
The first step (or habit) is to recognize that we are valuable and to like who we are. In a culture where motherhood and mothers are viewed as unnecessary, we must be strong in order to survive. But we are not alone in our vocation. Back to the book – Finally, I believe that every mother is born to fill a higher calling. Every mother is gifted uniquely and she is to use those gifts to make her world better. A mother uses those gifts in parenting. Many mothers use them only there, but others use them outside their parenting. God has given each of us gifts, unique to us, that we are meant to use first in our own homes, and then sometimes outside. As a mother, I often (daily) feel inadequate to raising nine children, two with special needs. I worry that I can’t meet all of their needs, and to be honest, I can’t. And perhaps, it is best that I can’t. However, the gifts that God has given me correspond to my children’s greatest needs. That knowledge is not only comforting but exciting as well. For mothers, the hardest part is often identifying and acknowledging our unique gifts, but with humility, we can do it. Once we understand God’s purpose for our lives and begin to use our gifts, our lives take on a fullness that we never anticipated.
How do you approach each day? What are your God-given gifts? How do you use them in service to others?