"My dear, if you could give me a cup of tea to clear my muddle of a head I should better understand your affairs."~Charles Dickens

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"I find myself wondering if I am doing enough to serve God"

Hi Donna-Marie,

I recently purchased your Prayer book for Mothers and absolutely love it.  I am a 31 year old mother of two, a one year old girl and a two year old boy.  I live in Southern California.  I have a wonderful husband who works very hard so that I can stay home with my kids full time.

I love my children and husband and have completely and utterly devoted my life to them.  But, I find myself wondering if I am doing enough to serve God. On a daily basis I ponder what I can do (with and without my kids) to help others, volunteer, and serve God not just within my own family.  Lately, I've found becoming more and more frustrated with my kids and losing my patience quickly.  I don't know if it's because I'm tired, if I feel like I'm not doing enough in life, etc.  But, I keep praying and asking God for help.

I guess at this point, I don't know where to turn.  I don't know if I am the mother God wants me to be for my kids, and I don't feel as though I'm doing enough outside my family to help others.  Can you provide any guidance?  I would greatly appreciate any suggestions you could offer!

Thank you and God bless,

Anonymous wife and mother in 
Orange County, CA.

Dear "Anonymous" in Orange County,

Thank you for writing. First of all, I'm glad to hear that you're enjoying my book, Catholic Prayer Book for Mothers. It sure sounds like you have a busy life, being a wife and mother of a one-year-old and a two-year-old!

You know, many Catholic and Christian Moms are wondering the same thing as you: How can they do more and if they should do more? It's not surprising that you may feel impatient or frustrated at times because being a Mom is a sublime and busy vocation in which you are "on call" to your family twenty four a day, seven days a week. Even with help from your husband, most of the work in the home and with the children falls squarely on your shoulders. Try to offer your feelings of frustration or impatience to God and ask Him to help you. Pray for the graces to be able to deal with the difficulties that come with the territory of caring for a young family.

It's wonderful that you want to help others, but I don't want you to feel guilty for not doing so right now. You say you are wondering if you are "doing enough to serve God." 

I'd like to gently remind you that your children are very young right now and really need your guidance and presence to them at this point in their lives. I would like to put your mind at ease by letting you know that you are doing exactly what our dear Lord wants you to do by being there for your children and caring for them. God is depending on you to care for your family. He has placed you in the heart of your home specifically to work out your salvation there within your domestic church and to help your family work out theirs as well.

There's nothing wrong with you, from time to time, going out with your children (or without them if your husband or another relative or close friend can watch them for an hour or so) to visit a lonely neighbor or relative to bring them so cheer - to brighten their day with your smiling face and comforting words. You may know a new mother who could use a hand once in a while or merely your moral support. Perhaps you can visit her. You can also make a phone call to a relative or someone who could use some encouragement or would just love to hear a caring voice.

You can send out cards, letters, or emails to people you may know who would enjoy a friendly note. So, you see, there are things you can do from home which may seem little, but remember Blessed Mother Teresa preached that "small things done with great love bring love and peace." There are also things you can do outside your home as I mentioned, (visiting a lonely person, new mother, etc.), again, if you have proper care for your little ones or if you can take them with you without upsetting their routine. 

I'd like to also mention that you should try to get the rest that you need whenever you can because young children, as you know, are full of energy and in need of constant supervision and guidance. Being over-tired can make one feel grouchy, frustrated and impatient, right?

Perhaps you can meet with or talk to other like-minded mothers in your area and share your thoughts and your faith. Is there a Catholic or Christian play-group you can start or join? The kids can play nearby and the Moms can chat or even do a book study. Perhaps you'll even together come up with a wonderful apostolate in which you can help others - something to think and pray about. 

However, please don't be so hard on yourself, worrying about doing more right now. You're exactly where you should be, devoting yourself to the care of your family. Our Lord is pleased, I'm sure.

Enjoy your time with your children. As a mother of five children, I can attest to the fact that life speeds by and our children grow up so fast. My oldest just celebrated a birthday and reminded me once again how fast life speeds by. 

May God bless you and your family in your domestic church!


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