It’s easy to worry, as a mom. I think one of the reasons why is because there are varying opinions and viewpoints about EVERY aspect of taking care of a baby: sleep positions, diapers, food, vaccinations, layers of clothing, etc. It’s hard to know if you’re doing it right or not. For every person that agrees with your philosophy, there’s a person that recommends you try it their way.
We think that the more we worry, the more it means we care about our kids. The more it means that we love them. But is that really true? Is it possible to love and care for our kids without worrying? Maybe it is.
“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” Translation: worrying accomplishes nothing.
I decided that if I’m trying my best-by protecting Sophia from known and obvious dangers, by giving her my undivided attention in intervals throughout the day (not all the time, because that’s impossible, and because I want her to learn to be independent, too), by feeding her when she’s hungry, by having at least a general idea of how she’s developing at this point in her life and how I can further stimulate her emotionally, mentally and physically without going overboard-then that is all I can do. I must release the rest to God. He knows Sophie better than I do, anyway, because He made her.
“Mother” and “worrier” should not be synonymous.
Of course it’s not easy. On Wednesday, I spent far too long reading articles online about the sleep regression that supposedly happens to every 4-month old and, yes, worrying about how we are going to survive the sleepless nights to come. And I wonder if the swing that we put her in sometimes to calm her down is damaging her posture. And then there are the big things, like how to make sure she grows up to be a girl who loves Jesus and treats her friends with respect and pays her taxes as an adult. No, it’s not easy.
But maybe what is easy is God’s way. It’s hard to get there, to admit that we’re doing a horrible job of not worrying and that it’s only God who can help. But once we’re there and once we surrender, He makes it easy. Because His burden is light, He says, and in Him we will find rest for our souls.
The Prayer of Abandonment is something we recite at the end of mass every Sunday. I’ve always liked it, but it resonates with me now in a way it never did before Sophia was born. Even though moms are notorious worriers, this prayer reminds me that it doesn’t have to be that way, that there is another way to live:
Father, I abandon myself into your hands; do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me, and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul;
I offer it to you
with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.