Virgin Mary breastfeeding Jesus

Virgin Mary breastfeeding Jesus
Nursing Madonna (wikimedia commons)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Need some mothering encouragement?

Recently, I was in need of some mothering enouragement.  Even women who have been mothers for more than a decade and a half sometimes need refreshment!  As I mentioned in my last post, I went on a one day personal retreat and reread an entire book in addition to shopping and attending Mass.  The book is called Grace Cafe: Serving up Recipes for Faitthful Mothering, and it is by author, Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle.

This was the perfect book to remind me of how important my vocation as a mother is and how being a stay-at-home mom is a worthy profession.  I live in a small town where most people work at the local lab.  Thousands of employees at the lab hold Ph.D.s, and many of them are women.  I do know  many stay-at-home moms, but sometimes I wonder if what I do is as worthy as what the employees at the lab do.

In her book, Donna-Marie reminded me that I am first of all called to holiness - we all are irregardless of our career or vocation.  However, mothers have an extra special role to play in society - shaping little people into loving, compassionate adults destined for heaven.  Such a high calling with or without an outside career!  She reminded me to savor all those little moments, because they really do fly by!  One day I will forget about the overwhelmingness I experienced at times and will miss my little ones and possibly even the chaos!

If you are looking for a spiritual read in particular, this book talks about how we are called to be prayerful - even mothers - and this does not necessarily mean spending long hours in the chapel.  Mothers can make all their duties a prayer, all the times we focus on our children as a prayer.  Donna-Marie suggests different ways to teach our children to pray and how to weave our Catholic faith into our daily lives.   She also shares personal stories of her relationship with Mother Teresa and  discusses the Church's support of mothering and at-home mothering.

In terms of the nitty gritty of mothering, she emphasizes the importance of looking for God in the present moment and enjoying each moment - the late night feedings, the laundry, the 'round the clock nursings.  Donna-Marie even briefly mentions ecological breastfeeding as a great way to space babies and to bond with our children.  I also really liked that she wrote that mothering does not end once our children leave the nest; it is just different.  We will always be connected to our children.  Even science confirms this - children's cells were found in their mothers' brains.  How amazing!  I can eternally revel in the knowledge that I will always be a mother to my precious children!

If you have just a few minutes each day or possibly a bigger chunk of time to read it in its entirety, I promise that you will not be disappointed with Grace Cafe, and your appreciation of the awesomeness of the mothering profession will increase :)