Mid-way through Mother’s Day I got a message. It said, “I am sucking at Mother’s Day this year. In the full throws of disappointed pouting.”
I love honesty and I love the Mama who sent it.
I wonder if you didn’t have a similar day or even moment of your day. I’ve sucked at Mother’s Day so many times I’ve lost count. My boys can easily recall one in particular. “Remember the one where you were crying in the office?” they say. Yeah. Yeah, I do.
Thing is, Mother’s Day is hard. It’s hard because we’re human and we believe lies – especially lies about our mothering. On a good day we’re quick to assume we’re failing, or at very best just staying afloat. We can easily translate someone’s glance in our direction as judgement on our child’s behaviour. How many days do we throw up our hands wondering if we’ve done everything wrong?
We believe a different sort of lie though, on Mother’s Day. The same sort of lie our sister, Eve, fell prey to in the garden. We believe that we deserve something on Mother’s Day. I’m not sure what that looks like for you – it could be anything from lavish gifts to obedient children to having children at all – but either way it ruins the day for us.
It ruins the day when we get anything less than what we feel we are rightly owed. Eve was owed the fruit from that tree. I remember feeling like I was owed not having to lift a finger and all of the gifts in my mind that I’d never verbalized to any member of my family I even want. And then, when that didn’t happen every horrible scenario would run through my head and I would think my entire family are jerks and I wonder if they’ll ever not be selfish. They probably will be forever, I surmise. I think about all of the time and energy I put into planning the perfect birthdays for them. The gifts, the balloons, the birthday wake up song. The dinner, the cake, the card with all of the words I want them to know about how much I love them and how thankful I am for them. Then I would move onto every other thing I do for them. The sports, the driving, the constant grocery shopping and cooking. I would run through every unselfish act I did for them in the past 364 days and wonder why on earth they couldn’t do one thing right on just this one day! For me!
The enemy preys on our hearts and mind on this day, Mama’s. 364 days of the year I am so thankful for each of my kids. They are a gift from God and it’s an honour that I get to raise them. To be entrusted with their very lives is the biggest privilege I’ve ever had. I know that the work that I do for them is good. I know my job, while challenging on the best of days, is worth every second I pour in. I know this is kingdom stuff, the raising of our babies to adulthood, teaching them the ways of Christ. But for just one day our minds get all muddled up and we think it should be about us.
And in that moment, that moment where we believe the day is all about us, that’s where it all falls apart. Because if we believe it should be all about us and it isn’t, then we pout. Then we get angry, or worse, silent. Then we sulk around disappointed because how dare they!
No day was ever meant to be all about us, Mama’s. Not one. Ever. Each day is about Him and when we forget it, well – it just never goes well. It doesn’t matter that our culture has placed our handle on this day. It doesn’t matter that every ad shows us what we deserve. Those aren’t the point and they certainly are never supposed to be our focus.
Each day is the Lord’s and how we live each day doesn’t change because someone somewhere said we should be celebrated. No, each day, including Mother’s Day, we are to treat other’s as better than ourselves. Each day we are to serve those around us. Each day we are to practice love, patience, peace and kindness. We’re never told to take a day off from those – even just one – y’know, to be selfish, entitled, mean and pouty.
It’s been years since we’ve had a pouty Mother’s Day around here but I can’t say it’s come easy and I feel everything for my friend who was smart enough and brave enough to fess up that the day wasn’t going well. I’ve been there more times than I want to admit and even still I can feel it trying to creep in.
It takes heart prep and much prayer and constantly reminding myself of who I am and who He is and what that means my life will look like. It takes time spent alone in prayer asking the Lord to show me ways that I can serve my family on that second Sunday in May. It takes waking up that morning and opening my hands in prayer asking Him to help me love well on this day as on any other. It takes words lifted up and pleading for heart protection as I move throughout the day because the lies are thick and so easily latched on to.
Don’t believe them for a second. Not one little second. Mama’s, know that you are doing a great job. Know that your children love you and appreciate you. Thing is, they don’t know how to show it because they’re 4 or 8 or 13. You haven’t failed to teach them. In fact, you’ve taught them so much. You’ve taught them that they are safe and they are loved every single day, so much so that they don’t even realize what they have. You’ve given so much to them and they don’t even know to acknowledge it because they’ve never felt lack. You’ve given them a beautiful gift of being loved beyond measure. They know nothing of heartache or hunger or loneliness. So yeah, they take you for granted because they’ve never been anywhere else but in your loving clutches.
It’s a beautiful thing, Mama’s. Your work is good. It is your worship. Don’t give that up for a day of disappointment and pouting. Keep on. It is worth it!