Last week, I decided it was time for me to "solve" Patrick's sleeping problems. So, when I face a new situation, I tend to head to the library, check out a bunch of books and start reading. Well, long story short....things weren't working out in real life with Patrick as the lady in the book about baby sleep habits said they should. And I did what I do best- called my sister (mama of 2 amazing girlies) and cried onto her figurative shoulder. Then, she did what she does best- reassured me with words of wisdom and talked me down from the "I'm a horrible mother and my kid's gonna end up screwed up because of me" ledge. One thing she said has stuck with me since then, and I think I've thought about it every day. In our conversation about how being a mother is hard, she pointed out that one of the things that makes it hard is that we have to die to self. Our days of being first are gone. We need to look to the ultimate example of motherhood- Mary- and emulate her. Mary has been on my heart since then. Every time I've picked Patrick up, I have flashed to an image of Mary picking up the Baby Jesus. I feel so connected to Mary now that we have motherhood in common. Granted, her situation was quite a bit different than mine- I'm not raising the Savior of the world-but I think all mothers have something in common: that magical link of tenderness and awe towards their child. Many a night I've changed Patrick, swaddled him up, and cradled him in my arms for a few moments before putting him in his crib, admiring his sweet face, plump cheeks, and long eye lashes. How incredible is it that Mary has done these very same things? How gently she must have stroked his cheek, or kissed his forehead. There are also many challenging moments as a mother, that aren't as sweet as the ones I've mentioned. There are those moments when Patrick screams at the top of his lungs for no apparent reason, and all I can do is try to burp him, quietly shoosh him or rub his back, and sometimes those take a while to calm him. In those moments, when I know he has a gas bubble that just won't come up, I feel so bad for him that it makes me want to cry, too. But now, I'm trying to remember Mary. Because along with her gentleness, I also imagine Mary had a sense of calm, and an amazing inner strength. She faced unimaginable challenges, and yet in my heart and from what I've read in Scripture, she accepted the challenges with faith, trust and surrender to God's plan. I'm trying to remember these character traits in my challenging moments as a mother, and in my happy, sweet, amazing moments. It may sound strange to ask "What Would Mary Do?" instead of "What Would Jesus Do?" and I don't mean for it to sound like I'm putting Mary before Christ, because I'm not. However, when it comes to looking for women who were amazing mothers to serve as role models, Mary tops the list. Having a love for Mama Mary is one of the things that I love about being Catholic. Final thought: I recently heard a man on the Christian radio station saying the following: "God isn't concerned about how much money you do or don't have. God isn't concerned that your baby is keeping you up at 2 am. God doesn't care that you're the CEO of a company. God isn't concerned that you just lost your job. He IS concerned about how you react in those situations. He IS concerned about your heart, and your attitude when facing challenges, or when trusted with great responsibility."