Mothering/parenting, while it has many rewards can be very frustrating, and we have to be honest with ourselves about that or else we fall into this trap of having to be perfect: a perfect wife, a perfect mother. I speak from experience. I have been married 30 years have four children: two sons 29, 24, twin daughters 19; and our house has have had EVERY possible parenting issues you can imagine: troubled teens, drug and alcohol, preemie twins, ADHD the list goes go.
Say you are a young mom with very young children, who like all young children get swarmy, fidgety, hungry, bored. As this young mom you are trying your best to keep those children as quiet and prefect as possible, but it’s hard. You can feel the eyes boring in on you. You can feel them drilling holes in the back of your neck. You feel exposed, vulnerable. Than it happens. Call it mommy hormones, lack of sleep/rest, but you find yourself balling like a baby right along with your infant hungry child. You had just reach your tipping point and the tears came. Those who don’t get it or who are annoyed by what happened are dealing with their own issues, and for the most part that issue is, frankly, perfectionism. It something I have seen time and time again, Take the lady who said “GAH” to you, who rolls her eyes in that: “My God!” derisive way; for her Mass is an ordered and quiet perfection. She likes it when nothing goes wrong and when it does well you, mother, are not doing your job right. Again the trap of being perfect.
Perfectionism creates no support only derision. In Matthew 5:48 Christ tells us to “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect”, you could just as easily replace prefect with complete. None of us can be as prefect as God but we are all call to strive for that perfection, some people just forget the striving to be prefect part and demand perfection from others NOW.
But it is much easier for us to see how we can be as complete as God: Grace, mercy, hope, faith. The Sacraments help us achieve this completeness, our turning from temptation, doing Acts of Mercy. In the Old Testament people who were striving for this completeness would be called righteous.
To combat that perfectionism I found I had to keep my eyes on the prize, and the prize is a moving target: infancy…keep them feed, happy and dry. Toddler/young school child: teachable moments of life, faith and the world. Preteen/teen helping to guide them through the pitfalls of hormones and the second toddler-hood. And part of that fight to be prefect meant I had to ignore those who were judging my calling on how I was to be a mom. You can’t please everyone, so you might as well please the person who matters the most: God.