When I was a new youngish mother I craved recognition and validation that what I did was important. I don’t mean I just sort of wanted it (that is still me today). I used to crave it.
Motherhood is one of the prototypical self-sacrificial vocations, and early in my parenting life I craved to be recognized, and even honored, for those sacrifices. I became a parent for the first time when I was finishing up my coursework for my PhD, and I was pregnant with my second when I donned the fancy robe and funny looking cap, and walked across that stage diploma in hand. I could have been teaching at universities or colleges but instead I was teaching in my home.
I was professor of the preschool and playgroup. And there was no recognition anywhere for anything that I did. Most people I interact with daily didn’t even know I have a graduate degree. No one told me how smart I was or what a great job I was doing, or how noble it was to give up teaching at a university to change diapers. My work was silent and invisible. And it was really really hard. It was harder and lonelier that I could have imagined. I look at today’s readings and I see the model that we are given in the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God.
When Jesus begins His preaching after His obedience to her at the wedding at Cana, His mother follows silently behind! Early in my parenting years I would have seen it as harsh that Jesus does not acknowledge her before a crowd as He preached. But it isn’t. Motherhood is about taking a child, loving him, setting him on his way, and being his biggest supporter even into adulthood. The need for recognition for our sacrifices fades as we see our work and efforts and love bloom in the lives of our children, and Our Lady put her Son's mission in the front of her heart even at the Cross.
Many of you are not mothers, but we are all Her daughters. Mary still stands at a distance loving us and supporting us in our endeavors, parenting, suffering with us, and more. Jesus gave us His mother to love. We are adopted brothers and sisters of Christ. As He says, "My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it." (Luke 8:21) He validates that fraternity we are intimately a part of. And Mary, who was the best at hearing God's word and acting on it, is our Queen Mother.
Mary stands apart in silent and invisible support for us all. Not seeking recognition, but only seeking our success, as we strive to know and love Her son. In whatever station of life we find ourselves, may we grow to be more like her, all the while feeling her loving and supportive presence.
Do you seek validation and recognition for your sacrifices? Make a hidden sacrifice today in Honor of Our Blessed Mother and in the hopes that we can all grow to be more like her.
MaryRuth Hackett is a full-time wife and mother doing her best to teach her four children to love God and country. You can find out more about her here.