How Mary helped me become a better mother
This stage of my life is motherhood. As a mom of three children under the age of 9, it’s a busy life. It’s often thankless, needy, and there is little time to catch my breath. It can be consuming.
If you’re like me, I’m not great at my vocation and I struggle with accepting this place God is putting me in right now. Despite nearly nine years of parenting under my belt, I still have no idea what I’m doing and make mistakes constantly. I can’t even get through most mornings without losing my patience over the amount of time it takes my kids to get their shoes on — it really is an unbelievable amount of time for such a simple task.
Still, there is much to be appreciated in flaw-filled motherhood. We get every moment to course correct, and we get every little lesson with our children to appreciate the gift we were not only given, but the gift of being such a huge part of the life God entrusted us to nurture and carry. Even if nurturing sometimes means hiding in the closet to eat candy and be alone for five minutes (one to two minutes if you have children under 5; fewer if you have a new walker).
Leaning on the Blessed Mother
I have learned to turn to Mary for strength in helping me overcome the parts of motherhood where I need to improve: patience, sometimes the right kind of love, and often the fleeting appreciation I should hold my children closer to my own heart more often. I have learned to lean on Mary. This has taught me the following:
- She not only hears my requests, but will always deliver on them in an easy and gentle way.
- She wants to help me get to heaven and be closer to her Son.
- She will help me let go of tension, frustration, and control with grace and reminders of what matters most when I need it the most.
- She knows where I need help, so by giving some time in devotion to her, she helps take care of things without me even asking. This is often through reminders of how easy motherhood can be if I focus on loving my kids and not trying to control them.
- She is there to help me become a better mother. Since motherhood is my vocation, she shows me the areas where I need improvement such as apologizing when I’m wrong, practicing patience, and putting my children before myself.
I was first introduced to Mary a couple of years ago after my grandma passed away. I have always known Mary as the mother of Jesus. I had never known Mary as my own mother. I found her through:
Penance. After a series of confessions, I noticed all my penances were Marian related. The more I went to confession, the more specific these penances became. They started as Hail Marys, graduated to the Memorare and novenas, and finally became devotion to her. It took some time (thankfully she has an overabundance of patience), but I finally started to see that maybe she was seeking me out.
Prayer. Asking Mary to take over the things I couldn’t was simple: “Mary, I give you the right to use the grace of my prayers as you see fit.” A simple line of total devotion became a common prayer for me every day for everything. If I didn’t know how to do it, I knew she would and I would say that before a quick Hail Mary. And in the process, I could help others, as well.
The Rosary. This was probably the single biggest step to growing toward Mary. I prayed the Rosary every night for an entire Lent and it continues. I used each decade to pray for an intention, a struggle, whatever I needed help with the most. The changes were gradual and subtle but over time, the more I continued to devote myself to her, the more positive changes of peace and calm I felt in my life.
‘My purpose in life’
Because of Mary, I strive to be the best mother I can be. When I slip up, have a bad day, or completely fail, I know I can start over again with her help. Motherhood used to be a chore and a thing I had to do, but today it’s more than that. It’s my purpose in life and I don’t have many years to make it count. I see now, with her help, that my children are children for such a short time and this is the time to give as much of myself as I possibly can and show them the joy in my journey.
Since learning to trust in her guidance, I have often experienced soft-spoken thoughts that come to me when I need them most. When I don’t how to handle moments of motherhood, when I’m at my wits end, she shows me a different perspective either in thought or through my own children with a sign of affection or a moment of sudden overwhelming love for them.
Mary shows me what matters most. This has helped me grow to understand ways to bring my children closer to me. I do this by spending more time getting to really know them as individuals, loving them, giving everything I am to them, laughing with them, taking the angry or frustrating situation and finding a happy way to spin it, or just accept it — because whatever it is, isn’t that big of a deal.
What [Mary] has done is bring me inner peace.
Mary doesn’t make my journey as a mom trouble free nor does it always make my life any easier. What she has done is bring me inner peace and holiness as well as a greater appreciation for Jesus’s life and the gift of my children. I never considered motherhood an important vocation until I had my own children and looked at them through the eyes of how Mary must have seen her Son. She has shown me their joy is my joy and their pain is my pain. We are connected together forever and the love I show them now is crucial to their well-being today and always.
That might not sound like much, but it’s all you need to overcome anything in this life. It certainly is enough to help an overtired, burned-out mom realize that no matter how hard things get, my best is good enough. Mary will always help you.
We can trust in her guidance and entrust ourselves to her care through prayer and devotion. She will never lead us astray. She will never abandon us. She will love us the way she loves her own Son and show us that we, too, can love our children the same way. That may actually be the single, best way to succeed as a mother.