Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My beef with Mary...yeah...THAT Mary.

Mary, mother of Jesus, is referenced often in one of the mommy groups I attend. The group meets at a local church and it is actually a 'mommy' group in that there is childcare for the kids and the mom's get to meet together and actually have time to talk without the distractions that a ton of kids bring into the equation. Mary comes up a lot because there is a lot we don't know about Jesus' childhood but we all figure, at some point, he HAD to be two.

Of course, another topic that comes up just as frequently is that Jesus is the only human to have never sinned. So maybe he wasn't such a difficult two year old. Maybe he just sat around with his hands in his lap looking reverent. If this is the case, than I am a bit embarrassed to say this, but I don't think I would be friends with Mary in a mommy group.

It isn't that there is anything wrong with having an easy time raising your's just that I can't relate...and I don't believe it, either. Jesus I could believe. But I still wouldn't relate.

The thing is, I should know better than to react that way. I had an amazingly quick, pretty easy, beautiful birth of my son and he was ten pounds, five ounces. He was a hoooooooorrrrrrible napper for the first seven months of his life, but he slept through the night (waking up once for a bottle in the very early morning and then going back down until seven) when he was only six weeks old. Yeah. Let's just say I kept THOSE facts to myself when I was sharing with my various mommy groups filled with tired mommies who had been up all night who were still recovering from harrowing birth experiences.

It reminds me specifically of a segment from my all-time favorite new-mom book, Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year, by Anne Lamotte. I actually shared this same snippet from her book way back when I was pregnant with Little G.
January 30

It’s great to have so many friends who had babies right around the time I did – even if it did make me bitter and resentful that they also got to have husbands and nurseries – because they all have extremely bad attitudes and sick senses of humor like me. It would be intolerable to call a friend, a new mother, when you were really feeling down and for her to say some weird aggressive shit like “Little Phil slept through the night yesterday, isn’t that marvelous since he’s only eight weeks old, and guess what, I’m already fitting back into my prepregnancy clothes.” You’d really have no choice but to hope for disaster to rain down on such a person. me pessimistic. Call me rude. But if Jesus was perfect and never sinned, and Mary never had to deal with the antics of a two year old - let alone the antics MY two year old tosses in my direction - than I don't think I could be friends with Mary in that mommy group.



  1. This is the way I see it: Jesus was human, for His time here on earth. And part of being human is the learning process of growing up, complete with tantrums and frustrations and Not Understanding and not knowing yourself. So I can't believe that Mary had an easy time, and that Jesus was a lil' sweetie pie all the time. I'm sure there were times when He was overtired and couldn't sleep, and there were times when He didn't want to come when called, and times when He sassed His mama. It's part of being human, and you can't have a complete understanding of the human condition without it.


  2. Interesting! I had never really thought of Mary, or her relationship to Jesus in this light. And while I agree with The Pale Wisconsinite above that Jesus was perfect — the only sin-free human to ever walk the earth — I think I have to delve into my Calvinist roots and bring up the idea that we, as humans, are inherently sinful. And never have I been more convinced of this until I became a mother.

    I know that what I write here is controversial, but yes, I believe that even babies are sinful. We do not teach our children to throw tantrums, to be selfish, to be destructive, etc. They are born this way, and we have to teach them to be good.

    So in response to your post...I *think* that while Jesus as a baby and child did go through the trials of growing up, and that while Mary probably had her share of sleepless nights, Jesus probably was an easy baby.

    Could I relate to Mary? As the mother of a high-maintenance baby, I, like you, have trouble relating to those who have easy babies and easily gush about them. BUT just the fact that she *is* the earthly mother of Jesus makes me want to relate to her. Probably more so than the other mothers of easy babies, but I guess that's where my religious prejudice comes in.  ;-)

  3. Yeah...with this thought process, I'm taking the Jesus-as-our-Savior and Mary-as-his-Mother part out of the equation.  Sure, if Mary and Jesus were walking among us and I believed what I believe about God and Jesus I'd totally cut Mary some slack even though I couldn't relate to her...but if I cut out my religious beliefs and just focus on this woman, who has this two year old that never really gave her any grief as a baby and never really gives here any grief as a toddler...I don't think I can honestly say I would relate with or to her and thus I probably wouldn't be friends with her.  

    This post really came out of a situation while we were at the beach. Little G was being a total pain in the ass and I had had it up to here and I looked at my sister and her friend, both pastors, and said, "In my mommy group at church, they sometimes talk about how Jesus was the only human that never sinned...but I'll tell you, if that's true, I don't think I would be friends with Mary in a mommy group."  My sister laughed and said, "That'll Preach!!"