Mother’s Day Woes

How was your Mother’s Day?

I realized yesterday how complicated a question that truly is.

We have such expectations for holidays, but we don’t live in Norman Rockwell’s paintings. Our relationships are broken, full of longing and blocked goals.

How was your Mother’s Day?

Do you have a good relationship with your mother? Did you call her with joy or with twangs of guilt? Do you have a close relationship with your children? Do you feel like and adequate parent or are you constantly confronted with your own perceived parental inadequacies? Have you lost family members in the past year? Are you mourning and grieving and relationship that has been affected by the great interrupter – death? Do you long to have children, but are unable because of singleness or infertility? Do you look at the mother’s with their roses and oodles of children and feel like you haven’t yet achieved full womanhood? Did you feel appreciated and doted upon by your children or was it business as usual? Have you given children up for adoption and Mother’s Day is spent thinking of them and wondering how they’re doing? Is your day spent celebrating what is or wondering what-if?

Is the prevailing emotion thankfulness, guilt, or longing? Or some complicated combination of emotions you can’t fully describe?

I sometimes have a tough day on Mother’s Day. Much like Valentine’s Day, I am reminded of what I want and do not have. God, in His providence, has not blessed me with a family. And don’t get me wrong, my life is pretty rad, but some days I am swallowed in longing and not contentment. I am blessed to have a fabulous relationship with my mother. My day is tough not because of what is, but because of what is not yet.

I had three friends check on me on Mother’s Day. One via Facebook, one in person, and one on the phone. The medium didn’t matter, the message was precious. Each friend said she remembered me in my childlessness and encouraged me by reminding me of all the ways I “spiritually parent” through discipleship and mentoring younger girls. I was overwhelmingly thankful to be remembered. These sweet friends helped me fight for joy and encouraged me to reach out to others. I decided to go on the offensive and  spent my day thinking of others who might be having a rough day. My friends who long to get pregnant, who are struggling in their marriages, who have had children pass away, and friends who, like me, are single and beset with twitching ovaries at everyone’s else’s adorable kids. I find that feeling seen and heard is the best remedy for feeling overlooked.

So, how was your Mother’s Day?

2 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I have come to believe that maternal love – parental love – only goes forward. Children never quite feel for their parents the intensity of love which a parent feels for a child. That’s hard on the child because the child feels wounds and consequences more deeply. It’s hard on the parent because they feel intention and sacrifice more fully. I think it’s true in our relationship with God, as well. We do not understand the sacrifice and holy intention the Father has spent on our well-being through eternity. We are much more cognizant of the ways He has disappointed us. I would like to spend Mother’s Day (and Father’s Day) remembering the sacrifice that has been made for me and letting the wounds rest and heal. I hope my children will do the same.

  2. As an Empty Nester, mine was kind of rough. I wasn’t able to be with any of my kiddos & none of them called. My day was spent in a constant state of prayer as I begged God to show me how to “Get a grip”; I really didn’t want to spiral into any sort of depression! I focused on being with my husband and count blessings where they were. But, I couldn’t stand going to church when all chikdren, young and old, went down front to get a rose for their mother. BUT God was faithful He sent The Holy Spirit to assure me that HE saw me even if others, for whatever reason, chose to not see me that day. Mothers Day is the hardest day of the year for me and God is using it to make sure I know He is enough. Perhaps I had made Motherhood, and maybe even my children, idols. God is good and I’m confident that His purpose is being served in my life.

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