Being a mum has a way of pointing a very powerful microscope at all our inadequacies before publishing the results in the ‘How To Be A Bad Mother’ review. We celebrated Mother’s Day yesterday and I suspect that some of us (no, no, not me!) felt a small twinge of guilt at all the Super Mum accolades.
I’m no Super Mum:
– My son watches a fair whack of television. Every day.
– I wash his sheets when they look dirty (what’s an iron?).
– A nutritious lunch means choosing grainy bread over white bread for his sarnies.
– He needs a haircut (the jagged fringe-line is because I did try).
– I’m not really into kids’ play so when my son asks me to “Build tower?” or “Blow bubbles?” I do, but reluctantly (oh, the guilt in confessing that…).
– When he’s been really naughty (like, spitting Weetbix in my face and then flinging it on the walls – true story), I do the ‘time-out’ thing. Then, I squat down to his level for the ‘I’m sorry mummy’ chat. But when he instantly wraps his arms around my neck and gives me a slobbery kiss my resolve melts and I just hug him right back.
This is what motherhood has done to me! Yet, I cannot shrug the sense that I have been chosen to mother this child, for this time. It’s me he needs. He is my responsibility. I am sufficient.
I remember the last time I read of Jesus’ birth – probably at Christmas – and how I was struck by the fact that God chose Mary. “You have found favour with God,” the angel told Mary, “You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.” (Luke 1:30-13)
God, being God, could have just plonked Jesus on earth. But He didn’t – He gave weight to the parent roles of mother and father. God. Chose. Mary. He selected the woman who would mother His son, who would carry him to term, feed him, teach him to walk and talk, demonstrate things like love, manners and respect.
Yet Mary was no saint – she was young and naive, with her own raft of insecurities.
I believe that each mother has been chosen by God to raise the children planted in her life. God chose Mary for Jesus, and He chose you for your particular child or children. Somehow that realisation puts a different slant on things. Because to choose someone for a particular position, to select one to the exclusion of all others, implies that they are the best fit.
This little epiphany doesn’t make the journey any easier. Some women have been chosen to mother a child with severe disabilities, with behavioural problems or, as with a dear friend of mine, a child with cancer. Some women have been chosen to mother an adoptive child. Praise God for all these mothers.
When your inadequacies are big as a billboard, and unrelenting in their campaign, remember that you are chosen.
You are the best mum for the job – God says so.
As printed in The Examiner newspaper for Keeping the Faith column on Monday May 13, 2013.