Sunday, May 12, 2013

Why enjoying Mother's Day is so hard


It's a crazy paradox, this Mother's Day business.

The reason it is so difficult for us mothers to enjoy Mother's Day is because we are mothers. We are highly skilled at giving to others, and highly horrible at receiving from them. It is impossible that a mother was the one who invented Mother's Day. A mother would have never suggested everyone else take a day to honor her. I'm sure it was a man. Men are typically great at respecting and honoring their mothers.

And mothers? Well, we stink at letting ourselves be honored.

On the other hand, we're amazing at pouring out into our loved ones.

We know unconditional love. We teach love every day.

No one on earth can take better care of our people than we can. We are irreplaceable.

We are experts in the thousand most important details of our children's lives. Hands down, no contest.

But get us to enjoy a day revolving around us? That's as likely as getting a walk-in appointment with the pediatrician on a Monday morning.

The fact is that somewhere between the positive pregnancy test and potty training, we totally forgot how to be honored. In the unrelenting, hard labor of learning how to lay down our lives, we grew quite skilled at giving to others, and quite unfamiliar with taking for ourselves.

I've heard many a mom friend say something like, "I just feel so guilty when I take time for myself..."

There you have it: it is so bad that we have criminalized meeting our own needs. And that's just backwards, isn't it? Of course! How can we fill anyone else unless we ourselves are filled up first? I think the ones who understand most our need to be prioritized are our husbands. That's why they will try, this Mother's Day, to treat us, in their own ways. To bless us. To make our kids wear scratchy button-up shirts because they know that's what we want.

And the best response we can have, the most loving thing we can do, is to enjoy it.

First of all, who am I to deny my husband the chance to love and honor me in front of my children? Not allowing them to pamper me a bit is denying them the blessing of serving.

And second of all, enjoying the day means remembering how valuable we are as mothers, and realizing how crucial it is for our children to see that. We deserve honor (wow, it's hard for me even to type the words), and our kids need to see that we believe it. It is damaging to our children's development to allow them to believe we are simply maids, short order cooks, and chauffeurs.

I know not every family works the same way. Many moms serve their families while receiving no appreciation or honor from their loved ones. That's sad, and that's not how God designed the family to function. But it is reality because we live in a broken world. In fact, our own brokenness is what keeps us from understanding our worth. But God knows it. He tells it. No one will ever affirm your role as a mother better than the one who gave you the role in the first place. To the unappreciated mother, I say let Him. Open your heart to hear the Lord's whispers of love and sincere validation for the job you are doing. He smiles when He sees you love on that child He gave you.

I need His validation, I forget who I am. I forget why I am. And while I'll probably get choked up by the loving cards from my family members today, I need God's affirmation most. He's the only one who really sees what kind of mother I am, what things about this job threaten to break me, and what my deepest desires for my family are. He hears every plea I make on their behalf, and He teaches me how to mother best.

So friends, I am going to try my hardest to enjoy the day. I will smile, be gracious, and say "Thank you!" when my husband and children make efforts to love me. I will not apologize for allowing them to do some of my dirty work. I will not hinder them from finding the blessing in serving me. 

Oh, it won't be a perfect day. Someone will be crying at some point, or arguing, or being selfish (and it may even be me!). Again. Broken world. But love covers a multitude of sins.

Let love cover them.

Let love cover you.

Happy Mother's Day.



  1. Thank you for this reminder. Your words are always such & an encouragement & somehow the Holy Spirit always uses them to speak to me :) I hope you had a wonderfully, blessed Mother's day!

  2. This is so true. It's important to honor and bless others and allow ourselves to be honored and blessed. Thanks for speaking these words and reminding us "moms" to think about our own needs, too.