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By Alison Blanchet | Image By Getty Images/GCShutter | May 2022

May Gives Us a Comparison That’s Worth Pursuit

I became a mother rather suddenly on a sunny afternoon in October. I worked until 2:00 p.m. and left early because the seven-year-old we were about to start foster-parenting got out of school at 2:15.

With little fanfare, I introduced myself to him, and we walked to my car. I made sure he was buckled in. Then I realized I had no idea what to do next.

“Do you have a toothbrush?” I asked.

“Nope,” he replied.

We started there.

The next 24 hours I felt like I was trying to jump on a speeding train. There were so many things to learn and remember! I forgot to pack a juice box. I forgot to check homework. It took me a solid year to learn that if a kid says they don’t need to potty, they still need to try before we leave the house.

It was quite the learning curve but little by little parenting felt more natural. I stopped being afraid I’d forget something, or someone, and learned to pack a coat and a snack.

I also realized, when I talked to other moms, that no one felt like they were acing parenthood. “Mom guilt” is real and for many, the last few years of trying to parent in a pandemic hasn’t brought out our best selves. Adapting to all the challenges families have faced has left everyone feeling a little like I did my first 24 hours as a mom.

Comparison can be the beginning of this distress. Looking around — either on social media or in real life — will inevitably reveal families taking more exotic vacations, wearing more coordinated holiday outfits or watering a garden that actually grew for them during the pandemic.

However, the month of May gives us a comparison that is worth pursuit, and of course that’s the example of Our Blessed Mother. While there’s nothing wrong with aspiring to create a comfortable life or picturesque home for our family, we’ll often find that when this is our end goal, these pursuits will leave us feeling inadequate because someone is always going to appear more put together than we feel.

Meditating on the life of Christ and Mary’s “yes” from the moment she was asked if she would be the mother of God can give us much needed perspective. The Catechism of the Catholic Church quotes Lumen Gentium, explaining “In a wholly singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope and burning charity in the Savior’s work of restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason, she is a mother to us in the order of grace” (#968).

The world will always hold stressors for families but looking to the example of Mary and the ways she directs us to Christ helps us rise above this. Meditating on the rosary or reading about Mary in Scripture gives us so many examples of how we can direct our thoughts, words and deeds toward eternity.

Mary, as the Queen of Heaven, gives us a wonderful model of how to focus our lives while we are on earth.


Alison Blanchet lives in Panama City with her husband and three children. She works as a therapist for children and teens. Email her at alisondblanchet@gmail.com.