There is so little honesty in our public discussion of motherhood. Mothers are either described in the pious underpinnings of Hallmark Mother's Day Cards or complained about as the ultimate horror show on Dr. Phil message boards.
Being a mother has two facets---the "office" and the "individual."
I have trouble with the office of Mother. I'm not used to being in authority. I like running the cheerful camp counselor sort of Motherhood where obedience is mostly inspired, rather than demanded. It's taken baby number five to start to realize that I'm actually running a small country here and there will be lots of household routines that are based on respectful order, versus unanimous agreement.
As an "individual", I'm finding so much more peace breaking out of the mold and discovering that the individual soul named Abigail is enhanced by marriage and motherhood, rather than diminished.
It's a strange dance I'm doing. As I become more "me" my family starts to look different. We do home-schooling differently than other families in my parish. We do Daily Mass differently. We pray, eat, and do the laundry in our own unique style.
Yet the more I become an individual in my motherhood, the more respect I have for the "office" of Mother. There are beautiful, beautiful things that are common to all Mothers, in all times, in all cultures. We all get our source from Mary, the Mother of God.
This Advent, I'm focusing on our Mother's life as explained in our Gospel of Luke. Our Mother had such an embarrassing birth story--so strange and so wonderful. She was humble. She encourages me to embrace the things about my own Motherhood that are little and shameful. She reminds that the Infant Jesus will still find me at Christmas, now matter what state I'm in.
Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.