Confession: For years I've secretly dreaded Mother's Day. This
is should be that day of the year that I basque in the glory of my beautiful children and the wonderful job I'm doing to raise them. It is should be the day that I'm proud to say I'm a mom because no one else can do it quite like I can. It is should be the day that I don't have to listen to any bickering because in return for all the love I dish out to my family they, just for 12 hours or so, want to say thanks and show me love the way I will appreciate most.
I know it will start with breakfast in bed (well, unless it's like two years ago when everyone forgot until it was time to get ready for church). The fire alarms will go off and wake me before the kids can bring my food...I love that part actually. I'll hear them argue outside the door over who gets to give me the plate, and who has to give me the glass of milk or come in empty handed. They may even argue over who did more on the breakfast preparations. I wish they weren't so competitive and I could certainly do without the arguing but I do love that they want to please me. To show me they love me.
The day will be inundated with stories of our near perfect moms in our blog posts (Hey I do this too, I'm not judging), magazine and news articles and talks at church. They'll be about the moms who know where everything is when no one else does. The moms who make everything better because they are the one person in the home that is patient and doesn't get frustrated. The mom who runs their kids from one lesson to another and still manages to keep the house spotless and cook a homemade 4 course meal with parsley on the side and volunteers three times a week at the local food bank. The stories will tell how moms are great multitaskers and have eyes in the back of their heads and have warm cookies and milk ready for their kid when they return home from school every day. They have the best advise and can always make their kids smile when they've had a bad day. They'll have the qualities I have...and many more that I don't.
Don't get me wrong. I think it's wonderful that there's a holiday to honor those of us who do the most important of our Father's work. I wouldn't have it any other way. But for years I've wondered if in that high esteem given us there is actually an expectation that's set that's too high for us moms to feel we can actually achieve. Usually, by the end of the day I am realizing all the things I fail consistently in....and maybe that's good in some ways- after all we need reminders so we can continue to improve. It'd just be nice if Mother's Day was the day we could take a break from the reality of our weaknesses and feel good about being a mom in spite of them. Am I the only weird one? That in people's desire to celebrate a mother's greatest strengths, and with all good intentions try to uplift us, we see our greatest weaknesses? I have a feeling I'm not the only weird one. And yes, I've discovered that it is weird. Actually, it makes no sense.
Last night I went to a positive marriage class taught by a remarkable wife and mother, Carleen Tanner. She talked about unreal expectations. Although she was talking in regards to the expectations we set on our spouses I realized I need to apply this to myself. I listen to the stories of other mom's perfections and expect myself to be able to duplicate ALL their strengths. No mom can do that. Why should I expect if of myself?
I also have set unreal expectations on those around me- although they didn't know it until now. I'm basically saying, don't tell me the good stuff mom's do because it'll make me feel bad, but certainly don't tell me what they do wrong either because that's just plain rude. Where does that leave anyone? Out there in la-la land afraid to say anything for fear of offending me. I'm the problem. So the change needs to start
with me. And I'm proud to say I've had a change of heart.
Now, I'm looking forward to reading your mom blogs and listening to the wonderful stories of people's near perfect moms, at church. And I'll be saying, "Good for you, to have a mom that awesome! SOMEDAY I hope to have those same qualities, but I need to work on a little at a time." I'll still have reservations. I'll be hoping that my own kids won't be taking a mental tally and feeling slighted. But when those thoughts pop in my head I'll remember who wants them there (and it's not God) and start my own list of the things I'm good at. And when my kids fight and bicker and I honestly don't know what to do to make them stop I'll try my hardest to remember that somehow, in my imperfect glory, I'M the best mom for MY kids!
Happy Mother's Day!