Motherhood…and detachment

For once in my life, I am thankful that I don’t own nice stuff. There is sharpie on the couch cushions, scratches all over our tables, unidentifiable food stains on my shirts, and I think every game in our closet is missing at least one piece.

Being a fairly frugal person, I used to get bent out of shape when something broke or was lost because I didn’t have much and wanted to preserve the material objects I had. But now, my thought process (usually towards my toddler) is more like this:

 “Your fire truck doesn’t have sirens or lights because you left it in the pool and the batteries don’t work? Good thing I only paid 75 cents for it at a garage sale.”


“You broke a glass while ‘helping’ mommy unload the dishwasher? Who cares that we don’t have a matching set anymore and I can just buy more glasses at Ross.”

Motherhood is teaching me a lot about detachment and that objects are just objects. It’s the people and your experiences that can’t be replaced. But I’m learning not just about material detachment from objects, but detachment in other areas such as sleep, plans, and social events. I’m not going to be able to go out whenever I want. I’m not going to get to sleep through the night. I’m not going to be able to get my whole To Do list done today, so I better just embrace my cross and die to self.

There is freedom and holiness in detachment, and my kids are helping me to see that. I remember hearing a homily about St. Francis of Assisi in college that shared this on Francis’ poverty:

“Francis reasoned, what could you do to a man who owns nothing? You can’t starve a fasting man, you can’t steal from someone who has no money, you can’t ruin someone who hates prestige. They were truly free.” (

So here’s to detachment. Thank you, children, for helping me to realize what it means to be truly free.


One thought on “Motherhood…and detachment

  1. I remember reading Mother Angelica’s biography. She told the story of going over to a friend’s house growing up. She opened the front door to go into the house, and her friend said, Oh no, we have to go in through the back door. We’re not allowed in the living room.” Then where do you live?”, the then Rita Rizzo asked. “Down in the basement.”, came the reply. “Can I have a peek at the living room?”, Rita Rizzo asked. “I suppose if you take your shoes off, “came the reply. Mother said, “The living room looked like a showroom. The white carpet looked brand new. All the furniture had plastic covers. I was so glad to go back to my grandmother’s house, where I could put my feet on the furniture, and you could tell the house is lived in!.” Last December I went to visit my daughter Angela, and our now son-in-law and grandson in Pennsylvania. Jack will be three in February. Their living room is a lesson in paradox. My former mother-in-law’s original paintings are on the walls, and there is a plush. comfortable couch. But, in spite of the fact that there are shelves and a toy box, there is still a hurricane of toys on the floor! I’ve no doubt that some of the toys are missing pieces, or that there are times when both Angela are sleep deprived! Their house may never look like a page out of Better Homes and Gardens. But I have no doubt that the three of them have lots of fun, and Jack is dearly loved! In our case, we have Jim’s cousin and his three kids with us now. There are times when cups and glasses, (most of which do not match), get left on the coffee table, on which you can see scratches. IF you can find the top of it! Various articles of clothing get left on the couch at any given time. The list of flaws is endless! But, there is no doubt that the children are dearly loved by all the adults here! Our house will never be mistaken for House Beautiful either!. But it’s probably the most stable home these children have ever known! In the end, I think a home with love, no matter how messy is a lot better than a house without it, no matter how outwardly beautiful!

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