Strange. This year as Mother’s Day approached, I noticed things coming across my feeds that were disturbing. There were so many moms being “very convicted” by blog posts about things like “how not to be disappointed this Mother’s Day”. What? I saw post after post about entitlement, ungrateful children, indifferent husbands…from writers who were “graciously and lovingly” calling moms to sacrifice their desires and lower their expectations. The gist of “how not to be disappointed this Mother’s Day”? Don’t have any expectations. Don’t expect to be served. Don’t expect a thank you. Don’t expect a gift or a meal or anyone to even think of you. In this way, you won’t be disappointed. And do it in the name of Christ. (Don’t desert me; keep reading.)
I believe in conviction. Without it, we don’t grow; and I definitely believe in not expecting to be served. But who on earth was the audience for these posts? These women who were sharing and finding these posts so convicting surprised me. I don’t know these women. I was, frankly, truly disturbed by these posts because the apparent felt need for them indicated a rash of women who seem to think Mother’s Day is about me waking up and you serving me and they needed a message outside themselves. I didn’t get it, because most of the moms I know are dramatically unbalanced in the opposite direction: sacrificing rest and balance in service to their families, and generally just rolling with it without complaint. So, with that said, I’d like to share my take on how to feel like every day is Mother’s Day.
Here it is…are you ready for this? Be content. Simply choose to be content. I feel like we’re just overthinking this. Here are a few simple thoughts:
- Your husband wants to be with you. Trust me. He does. He may not go all-out for Mother’s Day, but believe me when I tell you that if you’re a decently kind woman, he wants you with him and he loves to have time with you. You. Not someone else. You. Respond to that like you believe it. Don’t take advantage of it and DO find joy in it.
- Your children love you. Again, trust me on this. They may push your buttons. Your road may be tremendously difficult (after all, some of you are raising kids from hard places…your days can be so hard you want to cry sometimes). Rest assured, though, that you are a meaningful and important person in the lives of your children. Know that although they may not articulate it that way, they know it, albeit sometimes in an age-appropriately immature way. When they’re little, their appreciation looks like, “Mom, don’t go anywhere including into the bathroom because I need you.” Take it as appreciation, because for a little one, that’s what it is.
- They may not say thank you. Yes, they should use their manners and say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. Yes they should be respectful to their mama. But thanking us for being mama? Nah. We aren’t in this for the thanks, are we? We do this mothering thing because we love our families, we are committed to helping our children become quality adults, and because we love God. As our Pastor said recently, “Even if they did say ‘thank you’, it wouldn’t begin to capture it. Kids and husbands have no idea how much mom does.” Now, with that said, once in a while it’ll come. Every now and then I get a, “I’m so glad you’re my mama,” from my son. If it comes, treasure it. If it doesn’t, it’s okay. They don’t owe us…not in the way the world thinks about it.
Here’s the deal as I see it: every day is Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day isn’t about a day when I get a card and a little gift and my husband cooks and all are there to serve me. Mother’s Day happens on the days when I get dandelions handed to me because, “I thought you might like this flower, Mama.” Mother’s Day happens on the days when my son climbs into my lap because when he’s tired or worn out, I’m a safe place. Mother’s Day happens when my husband corrects my children and requires them to show respect…and then they do it! Mother’s Day happens when my child says something that clearly indicates something I’ve been working on teaching him has taken root in his heart.
The photo above is of some wilted dandelions that were gifted to me. They sat on my windowsill for several days. They were given to me by a precious seven year old boy, and they are a treasure. They indicate that in his egocentric world that’s typical of most children, he is learning to think outside himself. He is learning to think of others, to slow down and consider what might make another person smile. That’s a life skill, and he’s getting it. He will likely slip out of it tomorrow and need some additional teaching and reinforcement. Don’t we all? Today, he’s getting it. It’s Mother’s Day.