From the Archives: January 14, 2008
Christmas is past and soon January will be gone. February stretches before us as we move into the longest days of winter (or what at least feels like the longest days). Since it’s also a leap year we get an extra day of that, ever so short, yet ever so long, month.
February is notorious for burnout. Gray skies, cold temperatures and restless children can leave even the most enthusiastic of mothers feeling discouraged and tired. It’s only natural, but then maybe that’s the problem. The problem that is, of “me”.
When I feel the stress and challenge of these days I am tempted to go inward. Not spiritually, but selfishly. I want to hibernate, relax, do something for me. But a funny thing happens at my house when I start focusing too much on myself; everyone else starts focusing on themselves too. . .and I’m sure I don’t need to tell you why that’s not a good thing!
Recently I was having a bad morning and feeling quite grumpy as we made our way to mass. Right as we sat down in the pew my toddler became very fussy. I began rocking her in an attempt to soothe her and in untypical fashion she fell asleep immediately. I was concerned she may be sick so I spent the entire mass sitting very still so she could sleep. Holding her, focusing on her needs and participating in the mass as much as I was able, I had no time to think about myself and my grumpiness. She woke up right near the end of mass and was fine but I had gotten the message. You know, the one about how happiness is to be found in focusing on others and not on oneself.
Yep, as always, it’s all about love. It’s about following our Lord’s example and laying down our lives. It’s about burning up that which is not of God and turning towards Him by turning towards others and away from ourselves.
I’m not saying we moms never need time alone to recharge. Sure we do, but if I am being honest I have to admit that most of the time it’s my own selfishness that leads me towards burnout and not the legitimate demands of my family. And while it can sometimes be tricky discerning what’s necessary and what isn’t, I find recourse to constant and sincere prayer usually helps sort all that out.
Oh I know. . . that’s so contrary to what the world would tell me. The world would tell me that I need to find myself and be fulfilled. But I don’t need to find myself, I know exactly who I am and what fulfills me. The world has no clue. But thanks be to God, I do.
Copyright © 2008 Michele Quigley