What is a “Good Catholic Family,” anyway?

Today I came across an excellent post by Karen Edmisten (August 16) about what it means to be a “Good Catholic Family” — and the dangers of faulty comparisons. As an adoptive parent, I’ve thought about this a great deal. When we started the foster care/adoption process, we toyed with the idea of having a group home of six or eight … Thankfully, God did not hold us to that starry-eyed notion. At the end of the day, He knew (and just as importantly, I knew) the two special children He wanted us to parent would be more than enough.

The truth is, good Catholic families come in all shapes and sizes. It’s not about the quantity of people — it’s about the quality of the life they live together. I’ve never given birth, but motherhood has changed me in ways I couldn’t have imagined when we first started this process. (For one thing, I’ve discovered some barely-discernable artistic talents … don’tcha like my dancing dinosaur? Sarah and I did this today.)

Seriously, I’ve learned a thing or two about what it means to have a “good Catholic family.”
  • I’ve learned that to be “open to life” (at least in my case) means to be open to whatever God wants, at each step along the way … without trying to rush too far ahead of the moment at hand.
  • I’ve learned to tune out the critical voice in my head that tells me that I will never, ever tame that “Mommy Monster” that keeps me on edge and hyper-critical.
  • I’ve learned that sometimes the best way to raise up a child is to search out those moments when I can stop “shoulding” on myself, and remember what fun it can be to be a mother.
  • I’ve learned that sometimes even the most “gifted” of mothers sometimes feels like she’s flying by the seat of her pants. And that she’s grateful for even a glimmer of gratitude. So here’s yours today, Karen. Thanks for putting into words what I’ve been thinking all day!

3 thoughts on “What is a “Good Catholic Family,” anyway?

  1. That was a great article! (Both yours and the other one!) My husband and I had two children and that was it – not our choice. I have often felt like I should wear a sign “DID NOT STERILIZE” We are trying to adopt, even though we are middle-aged. I know that if God gives me a chance to do this Mom thing again I will be way, way, way more relaxed. You are on the right track!!!


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