Motherhood is not easy at the best of times. There’s no time to yourself, incessant demands for playing, food, drink, cuddles, to read a book, turn on the television, wipe bottoms, as well as the constant requirement for tidying toys, cleaning up spills, washing clothes.. well, you get the point. On top of all of this, for me, is the lack of time to contemplate my faith. I suppose I could make the time to ensure this was not the case, but whenever I have a spare minute or evening, I am too “busy” recuperating my energy reserves to prepare me for the next encounter with my kids. This is doubly as difficult with another baby on the way. As a result, my personal faith suffers.
Despite this, we all continue to attend Mass weekly, say daily grace, listen to “J is for Jesus” and read children’s books about Bible stories and what God is like. My eldest daughter (3.5 years) regularly blurts out funny comments about her understanding of God, like “Mummy, did you know, God is everywhere. That means He’s in our furniture.” Also, “Mummy, I feel God! He’s real, and He’s alive!” She sometimes has little arguments with me regarding what God is like. “Mummy, did you know there are lots of gods”… me “No sweety, there is only one God.” DD “No, there are lots of gods mummy.” I continue to be amazed at how frequently she wants to talk about God, and what she says regarding God. Recently,she has talked about God just about every day.
So, putting these two facts together – my lacking of personal faith, and a child who is interested and verbal about God – I’m feeling a little bit like I did in the weeks leading up to my wedding. Strange analogy, but let me explain. When approaching my wedding day, nerves were setting in, and they made me consider every possible worst case scenario regarding having a bad marriage. However, there was also a feeling that when I said “Yes” to marry my partner, I must have been of sound mind and able to make a rational decision based on the qualities of this man. I had to trust that “version” of myself who seemed to know that following through with the wedding was not the worst mistake of my life.
Similarly, I feel that I have to trust that “version” of myself that so trusted and believed in God pre-children. I was of sound mind. I had considered all the reasons for my belief. I didn’t just fall into belief by inheritance of my parents – I personally believed in a loving and intimate God. This is what is pulling me through these difficult years of parenting young children.
However, I don’t want to just rely on this to pass onto my children. I want my faith to be real enough for them to experience God through me. I don’t quite know how to do this yet. Something tells me I might have to rely on my past faith to pull me through for a little while yet. I am comforted by the fact that I still consider my faith regularly, and pray when requested to by friends, and occasionally when at Mass (if not too distracted by children). Its the actual experience of faith, of God, that I am missing.
In saying all of this, motherhood is a blessed time. To be co-creators with God, to form the morality and conscience of a new human being, this is an amazing prospect. Perhaps I need to find the God in my children. I have found glimpses, like when my daughter shows empathy beyond her age, or when my son (18 months) cuddles me when I am upset. As my daughter reminds me, “God is in my heart mummy.” That is where I must look for now.