Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sometimes I just need a reminder

When you're Catholic, and you regularly hang around with Catholics, you see families with a lot of little kids. I feel like it's somewhat less prevalent in my area, because so many couples get married on the later side and have less time to have really big families, but it's still not uncommon to see families with four, five, six kids around here.

It sometimes makes me feel like a bit of a fraud. I only have experience with this one kid. I only know how to deal with his sleep, his moods, his food preferences, his behavior, his little quirks. By the time moms have three, four, five kids, it seems like they've seen it all. They handle kid phases with relative ease--or at least without freaking out completely--because they've handled them before. In my mind, they've built up this vast supply of Mommy Street Cred, and if we're being honest, I sometimes feel inadequate as a mother by comparison.

So I think it's important to remind myself that this lady, Our Lady, the model of perfect motherhood, had one child.
The Holy Family? It looked a lot more like mine than like those big families in my parish directory.
And this guy? He reminds me that only children are nothing to sneeze at.
Now, I'm not comparing myself to the Blessed Mother or my son to Our Lord or my family to the Holy Family. Not by a hundred thousand miles. Nor am I criticizing big families. To the contrary; I think they are beautiful witnesses of generosity and openness to life.

But openness to life doesn't necessarily equal a big family, and that can sting. So when I'm surrounded by the big families, where children and love and evidence of God's blessings abound? When I feel less like a mother than the woman in the next pew expertly wrangling five children? It helps to remember that there's no shame in Just One.

No shame at all.

{Images from monasteryicons.com}