Motherhood is the most lasting accomplishment in life. Being a mother involves hard work, sometimes suffering and difficult decisions as well as much happiness and satisfaction. The relation between mothers and their children passes through stages, but once a mother, always a mother.
The role of motherhood
To love: Love is not simply a warm sentimentality. In the daily routine of caring for children, love is hard work. The strength of motherly love sustains children in time of doubt and confusion. Thanks to the love of our mothers we recognize our value as persons, our sense of being, the ability to do our job well, to love and feel worthy of love.
To educate: A mother tries to take advantage of the opportunities to show her children how to be lovable persons. Her concern for others, her words, her attitude and values and her judgments are powerful examples. Education in the faith is one of her most powerful and lasting lessons.
To educate is also to listen, and this requires an open mind and heart. For example, children express themselves with words and gestures. The attentive and listening mother can discover in these signs hidden problems. Silence in her children may hide despair; rebellion in young people may be a cry for help. The mother who listens to her children can educate them more successfully.
To accept: Mothers do not choose their children. They are given to them by God to care for them with all their peculiarities, gifts and weaknesses. The children are not angels, nor are any of them the same. To accept children without making comparisons among them or with others, is an essential task of mothers. Only with an understanding and loving mother can a child grow to become what God intended him or her to be, namely, a mature adult capable of choosing one’s own path in life.
To pardon: One must pardon children for both their small irritations as well as big offenses. Nevertheless, pardon does not exclude a just discipline. With discipline mothers teach their children responsibility and self-respect. Some mothers, in order to keep the peace, are too permissive and consequently fail to help their children mature and may even lose their respect. To pardon is not to be permissive without limits.
To teach about God: Mothers by means of their example reveal the face of God. By their lives centered in God, by their faith in prayer, their participation in community and in their religious traditions, they give their children an opportunity to enter into a personal relationship with God.
Mothers are not perfect: Often we idealize a mother’s love, and forget that this love is not free from error, doubt or fear. Mothers are human, with all their faults, sentiments and needs. The myth of the perfect mother is harmful and not founded in reality. It may create a feeling of failure in the woman who realizes that she cannot live up to the ideal. Women who try to be super-mothers frequently end up tired and overbearing. True love does not demand self-destruction of the person. Every mother needs support; for that reason the help of the father and other family members is so important for the welfare of the mother and children.
A deserved reward: Finally, together with the sacrifices of motherhood come marvelous rewards. To see their children grow up and develop their individuality and character a great satisfaction. To experience their love is priceless. There are also daily joys and unforgettable moments full of accomplishments and high hopes. Joy and thankfulness to God are the most valuable inheritance that a mother’s love can leave to us.