Ok, it is confession time… I don’t love Mother’s day. Before you think I need years of therapy, hear me out. Is it because I miss my mom who died too young? Probably so. But, I think it also has to do with the intense – yet highly imperfect – love I have for my own kids. Come to think of it – it’s probably a combination of both.
So, I compose some version of the same letter in my head every Mother’s Day:
Could we please have our Sunday back? See, on the very day when so many women and children are being bombarded with pictures and sentiments of motherhood – there are far more left with holes in their hearts. My friend whose heart’s desire to have a child – can she have a little break? My dear friend whose kids have abandoned the family and the faith – they really can’t handle the photos of a perfect family dinner. Please leave them alone for a little while, or better yet … maybe offer them something which can actually sustain.
For all of you who are irritated right now about my inability to spend a day focused on the beauty of mothers – I get it. You’re thinking, “doesn’t the Bible talk about honoring mothers and family and being a good parent?” Yes, I know, it’s there – it’s throughout the scriptures. Please pastors, when you get to the place in the Bible that speaks to this, please tell us about honoring mothers and being mothers, and loving mothers…
But please, I beg you – give us Jesus too. Give us motherhood in the context of the whole of scripture, bathed in the redeeming love of Christ. Make Him the center of the story, even on Mothers Day.
No matter how you frame it, we moms long for more than this day can offer. This holiday is tied up in one’s success or failure as a mother, one’s joy in having children, or sorrow in missing them. It’s so man–centered. And any time, we put too much confidence in people (even those adorable, smiling children on the Mother’s Day commercials) – we shouldn’t be surprised when we are often left empty.
Although I love my children’s creative gifts and attempts at serving, the whole day (and the lead-up to it) is honestly quite a struggle for me. All of the “family perfection” thrust upon us – in the name of honoring us or simply selling us peanut butter — makes my inadequacies so plain. I’m not perfect, my children aren’t perfect, and my meals never look like June Cleaver’s. Not even on Thanksgiving. As I’ve aged, I’ve grown to appreciate how this time of the year leads me to some hard places. I pull out the memory box and cry. Some years, I visit my mom’s grave. Others, I try to push her memory from my mind.
And I know other moms must feel the same way. So, to all your other imperfect moms who feel like Mother’s Day is more like ripping off a Band Aid slowly than a day of honor, take comfort.