I have a friend who is great at giving me perspective. She’s fabulous with advice that is nitty-gritty and practical. She speaks from experience and she sets me straight when I stray into the dreamland of unrealistic personal expectations. She saves me from my attempted self-crucifixions and martyrdom attempts (neither of which ever lead to Heaven, I might add).

She is nothing less than a gift from God in my life.

She’s a friend, and she’s an advisor. She’s the voice of reason in the midst of mothering mayhem, and she’s an oasis of wisdom in the struggles of strong-willed toddlers. She’s the real-life person I end up turning to – many times accidentally – when I’m at the end of my rope – though I may not know how perilously close to the edge I am when she sweeps in and saves me from a potential crash.

Today, I was bemoaning my lack of organization, my inability to cross things off my work to-do list, and, in general, my life as a mother of two kids who go to work with me. Now, I didn’t INTEND to bemoan or whine or scream for help. I was really just ranting and raving, I thought. I didn’t INTEND to pick the scab off a wound I’ve been nursing for many months. I was just pointing out my own deficiencies in a safe harbor, I thought. I didn’t INTEND to start an out-loud debate in my head about what the problem really was. I was just sending an email to a friend who asked a simple question and got a more-complicated-than-expected answer, I thought.

Well, this friend of mine set me straight. She might not have known it, but she pointed out to me, through her voice of reason and her years of experience, that what I was REALLY upset about was my vocation. Am I complaining because I am so busy at work or because I’m “stuck” with my kids (through choice, I might add)? And if I’m complaining about those kids, why not consider day care or a sitter?

There’s nothing like being humbled when you don’t even really know you were flying a little too pridefully high.

One of the reasons I have this job is that I CAN take my kids to work. The option is there. I work for a parish, and being open to life means having kids in the office. The parish community is very supportive, my boss (the priest) is very supportive, and my coworkers are very supportive.

We mothers – we women – are all too likely to set the bar too high for ourselves. Kids will get sick, my friend pointed out, and you will have to stay home with them. Things will not turn out as you planned, she gently reminded me, and sometimes THAT is where God’s will lies.

At the end of her straight talk email, my friend said something that resonated so loudly I’m sure she heard the CLICK at her house miles away.

“Of all the jobs on earth, I think you are in one where the Mother of all Mothers stands in your presence, putting pressure on you (us) , to emulate her in every way. Isn’t it ironic that in the end, she had to give up her child, so that he could pursue HIS destiny for a much higher purpose. All Mothers everywhere spend their lives preparing themselves for that day when our children leave us, but just like Jesus, they always stay in our hearts.”