Thursday, May 8, 2014

how I learned to have a better Mother's Day

I cried all through my first Mother's Day. A newly born mom myself with a babe in my arms, I expected the moon. I woke up to a sick husband. I went to church alone. I stood at the back of the sanctuary feeling like it was anything but, shushing a fussy infant and holding hot, angry tears. I barely heard the sermon honoring scads of monumental mothers before me, examples of virtuous women who surely never had a husband get sick on the most important day of the year.

I had a lot riding on that one Sunday in May.

Since then I've learned that I can be really good at creating a really bad Mother's Day. The bad has never been for a lack of effort on my husband and children's part. The bad has only completely been my fault. My own unrealistic expectations of one day always set me up for failure. I've learned that it's impossible for husbands and children to read my mind and produce for me the ideal Mother's Day, because the ideal Mother's Day does not exist and most of the time I don't even know what I want anyway.

I've learned that my sense of entitlement only me causes me to feel neglected, because no amount of love and appreciation from my kids can fill that selfish hole that I deserve this creates.

I've learned that the best way to celebrate Mother's Day is stop thinking about myself. Instead I think of my kids, and how I wouldn't be a mother if it weren't for them. I think of my husband, who had a very intimate part in making me a mother in the first place. But then I think farther back. I think of my own mom, and her mom, all down through the line. I'm just one in a long line of ordinary women who birthed babies and watched their hearts walk around with someone else's skin on. There is no Hallmark card poetic enough to do justice to legacy of motherhood passed down through the ages.

My Mother's Days became a whole lot better when I stopped thinking about myself and began focusing on others. And it's become even better still as I've shifted my gaze higher, focusing on the Mighty God who saw fit to place me in a long of regular, ordinary, redeemed, and loved by God women. Mothers, friends, sisters, we're all learning together what it means to raise a mighty generation and we just can't do it alone. We need each other. We need the grace of God. We need redemption. And we need rest.

When I lose my sense of entitlement, that idea that I deserve the flowers and the poetry and the pampering, then my day and my life will become infinitely better. I'm not saying Mother's Day will always be a dream from here on out. It won't. I'll be disappointed. I might cry. I might sing. I might need a nap. But I will be realistic. And I will practice focusing on others. Selfishness is the quickest road to disappointment. Mother's Day can be our biggest disappointment or our greatest celebration. It's all in how we look at it.


  1. Oh, I've had a few mother's days like that. I also grieved through many due to an estrangement with my mother, and rocky relationships with the women married to my father, one after an other. I hated mother's day. Now, I don't hate it, but I still don't make much of it. Truth be told, if I could have what I really wanted, it would probably be that cute tee I saw at Winners, and a nap. Not necessarily in that order. Learning to enjoy the process of mothering, learning to be mothered by others, and learning mostly, that God, with the ultimate parent-heart, fills all the gaps for me.

    1. Mothers Day can be such a complicated jumble of emotions. I think a nap would be heavenly. Also-so grateful as well for the way God parents us.


I love to hear from you! Thanks for coming by and sharing your thoughts with me.

LinkWithin Related Stories Widget for Blogs