The Perfect Catholic Mom
- doesn't have a television.
- either homeschools with a classical, Catholic-centric curriculum or has enrolled the children in an independent- perhaps Legionaire- Catholic school.
- takes the kids to daily Mass and confession once a week.
- smiles serenely as her husband drinks wine and smokes cigars a la G.K. Chesterton.
- prepares only vegan food every Wednesday and Friday and everyday during the fast periods like Advent (St Phillip's Fast) and Lent (Great Fast) for her Byzantine Catholic family- or meatless every Friday for her Western-rite family.
- doesn't celebrate non-Catholic holidays like Halloween or the secularized versions of Christmas and St. Valentine's Day.
- stays out of politics except to vote.
- only buys fast food during the 40 Days for Life.
- smiles serenely as strangers gawk at her 8 kids at the supermarket.
- knits and/or crochets while she waits for her sons to finish altar server training and/or her girls to finish Little Flowers.
- knows that her kids know their catechism perfectly.
- can keep her kids quiet in church with a simple look and doesn't need juice, a toy or a book to calm her toddlers.
- smiles serenely as her OB/GYN sighs when she comes in for a 12-week pre-natal check-up again.
The Perfect Catholic Mom (TM) is a figment of fantasy, of wild optimism, of impossible expectations and perhaps depression over self-imposed perfection that hasn't been met. Still, many of us Regular, Doing-Our-Best Catholic Moms (TM) find it difficult to reconcile ourselves to reality and our humanity. I am one example of:
The Regular Catholic Mom
- has a television, but most likely with no cable. She likes the kids to be able to watch Blues' Clues while she gets dinner ready. She even might let the kids' see Veggie Tales. Less screaming when Dad gets home. Dad might like to decompress after work with a DVD, as well.
- educates her kids in many different ways. Some kids go to parish schools, and others even might go to a public school. All good, regular Catholic moms, however, know that it is her and her husband's responsibility to be extremely involved in the kids' education. They know what is happening in the classroom. I, a regular Catholic mom, homeschool my kids, using the resources of a homeschooling, public charter school.
- is always at Mass on Sundays and major feast days.
- tells her husband that GKC wouldn't want him using Catholicism as an excuse for smoking. I might grumble about a cigar if it isn't to celebrate a new baby.
- struggles with going meatless- it's so easy to throw a chicken in the oven! We have been doing well with going without meat during Advent and Lent- going all vegan is another story.
- lets her kids go trick or treating- just no scary costumes, please! Balance everyone! Saint Nicholas/Santa Claus is fun, but Mrs. Claus- sorry- all bishops are celibate. She doesn't exist- Rudolph also doesn't exist- he's not in the original poem :)
- can be a bit passionate about politics, talking too much at dinner parties and running to turn off talk radio when the kids can hear.
- sometimes has pizza night from Dominos or another place just because it is Wednesday- and perhaps only made it to a pro-life event a few times this year with promises to herself that she'll improve. Meanwhile- where is my knitting bag?
I think you have got the idea! We regular Catholic moms have the same goal as those fictitious perfect moms- we want to do what is right for our kids and help get ourselves, our husbands, and our kids to heaven. We expect a big family reunion- face to face with God and His saints. My greatest hope is that imparting a sense of balance with my kids will help them love the Lord. I might let them buy themselves Silly Bands to trade with girls after ballet, but they will participate in church and be proud of the faith that has been given to them. My big kids will sing in front of a casket at a wake, but I won't expect them to go to the three-hour funeral the next day if they don't personally know the deceased. We might just say a prayer and make a good dinner for Dad when he gets home.
I'm just a regular Catholic mom,doing my best like all the rest-
trying to learn to 'smile serenely'...