Because God Chose You
(Tiny Sister Stinky and her adoring mother.)
I've been talking to the mothers I know lately and there seems to be one underlying fear in all their minds, as well as my own -- the fear of failing your child, of not being good enough for them. All of us seem gripped with the fear that we won't be able to make the right choices for our child. To immunize or not? Homeschool or public school or Catholic school? Cry it out or soothing to sleep? Child-led or parent led weaning? Breastmilk of formula? The choices a parent has to make these days are endless, and no matter which one you make, someone will tell you that you're making the wrong choice or wrong combination of choices.
It's enough to make any parent feel inferior.
I have gone through many a rough parent when I feel inadequate as a mother to Sister Stinky. I have also gone through periods where I have felt like a "good mother." Many days, though, I second guess every decision I make, and wonder if I should be choosing something else for my daughter.
At some point in my motherhood I discerned something beautiful, and it continues to keep me going on the rough days. God has chosen me for my child! God has chosen Sister Stinky to be my daughter, but He also has chosen me to be her mother. He did this knowing what my strengths are, as well as my weaknesses. He did this knowing what graces I would need, and is ready and waiting to give them to me. Of course, this means discerning who it is that God wants me to be.
One of my favorite passages in all of Scripture is from the 2nd letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians. In chapter 12, Paul is struggling with something and asks God to make his suffering go away. Rather than taking it away, God tells him, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness."
This should be our mantra as mothers! How our children turn out does not depend solely on us and our efforts. Ultimately, God calls us to be open to the graces He gives us because He has chosen us to be the parent of our specific child. In order to be the best parent we can be to that child, we must simply trust in the grace that God has given us, and do all we can to discern where He is calling us. His love will not fail us, and so we need not be afraid of failure. We need only to trust.
Of course, this is easier said than done, but once we realize this a certain freedom comes. God is not asking you to be like that mommy blogger you adore, or like your mommy friend from storytime, or like the mother who works next to you at the office. God is asking you to be you to your child. He is asking you to love your child as best you can, in keeping with how He has created you. Your only effort (and it is an effort that is strengthened by God's grace!) is to try to become the person it is that God has created you to be.
Truly, this is what sainthood is - becoming most fully ourselves, most fully the people God has created us to be. This is what He wants us to gift our children with. I, myself, am not there yet - but I hope and pray that one day I will be.