I don’t like Mother’s Day.
There I said it.
I don’t like this day. I don’t like the expectations put on children or spouses. I don’t like the demands we’re tempted to make – our one chance, our desperate grasps at recognition for a year of choices that often leave us drained, cranky, overwhelmed, full of doubt, and sometimes covered in bodily fluids that are not *always* our own.
I don’t like the guilty reminders of how much I really am failing as a mom.
I cringe when I see those Facebook “cards” that we like or share about motherhood being the most important job, or that every other vocation in the world exists to support motherhood.
I am heavy-hearted in church services on Mother’s Day, wondering how many childless women–that are no less and no more extraordinary than the rest of us–are there, aching to be called, “Mommy”.
I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s Mother’s Day parade. Really, I’m not. But in my observation, this day has become an out of control form of worship for the almighty mother…instead of a quiet day to reflect on the blessings God has given us. This year, I called my own mother and asked her to join me for a special lunch earlier this week, just the two of us. We went to a lovely tea house, talked about life and God and finances and our dreams. We left the restaurant and poked around an antique store. I followed my sweet little Mama around and marveled at how much she knew about the things in the store. She had an answer for every little gadget and it made the visit so much fun. To listen and observe and appreciate the knowledge she joyfully passed on to me. She didn’t expect the day and I didn’t fall at her feet in worship. We enjoyed a day: mother and daughter and it was wonderful.
A few years ago, I decided to see what the fuss was about. I took a break from my dislike of Mother’s Day and I actually asked my husband for a specific gift. I sat him down at the computer and showed him the Lisa Leonard necklace that I wanted. And I waited.
And when Mother’s Day came, I opened my present from my family: a shiny, new…Panini maker. And my inner-brat roared to the surface. I stomped and cried and sobbed. “Is this what I am to you?” I heaved at my baffled husband. He honestly thought I wanted a Panini maker. And, eventually, I stopped ignoring that device in my cupboards and now use it often. And I shake my head at myself just a little every time. It was ugly and I never want to see that side of myself again.
Maybe in my secret insecure places I don’t like this day because I know how very much I fail at this life–this calling–every day. When I read cards or listen to yet another passionate poem shared about the high positions mothers hold in the world, I know those poems and cards are not about me. I am not miraculously calm. I am not selfless. I am not quick to listen, or gentle with my instructions. I am often impatient, exasperated; hiding in my closet with my hands over my ears in desperate prayers for God to interceded and love as He loves because I am ready to lose it! Anybody?
I realize now that the Mother’s Day I spent expecting some sweet “You’re a great Mom” present from my family, I was actually seeking affirmation for the life I live each day. And I was seeking it from the wrong source.
Being a mom isn’t a job. Let’s stop calling it that.
No, we don’t get paid; that would cheapen it.
No, we aren’t given awards or honored in museums; if that were the goal, wouldn’t there be more of a temptation to throw in the towel and tell them where they can shove that award the first time our child threw a tantrum in the Walmarts?
Again, I’m not trying to rain on the Mother’s Day parade. But maybe we could dial it down a bit? Maybe we could remember that mothers – ours, our friends, ourselves – are regular people living life. Failing at times, rocking at others. Women who are not mothers are just as important and have just as much to contribute to our lives and churches as the rest of us.
Maybe today we could remember that all of the things we want to be as women: patient, caring, kind, self-sacrificing, wise, etc is actually found in one man: Jesus Christ. He is all I strive to be and I cannot be anything without Him.
I am thankful – beyond thankful – to be a mom. I love my girls and I learn so much through their curious minds and tender hearts. I am keenly aware that I am to point them back to Christ every day. And maybe that’s really my issue with days like this. For just a slice of time, it feels like we shove Him out of the spotlight and soak in the praise for the day. And the praise should never be shifted from Him for even one second.
Even for mothers.