Sunday, May 8, 2011

My Mother's Day Wish

I love Mother's Day.

But I know not all mothers feel this way, and that makes me sad.

From what I've gathered, there are four main reasons a whole lotta mothers have negative feelings about this holiday:

1) They had a bad relationship with their own mom.
2) They are guilt ridden by their own perceived inadequacies as "The Perfect Mom."
3) They have certain expectations that are never met like breakfast in bed, fresh flowers, or being relieved from any sort of cooking & cleaning.
4) They feel like it's a forced, disingenuous holiday manufactured by Hallmark, soliciting insincere compliments, cards, and thanks they don't feel they deserve (see #2).

I used to battle some of these same thoughts and feelings, but have finally made peace with Mother's Day. How? By creating my own purpose for Mother's Day.

And it's not about me.

If you think about every one of those grievances listed above, it's all about the mother. Why not turn things around and use Mother's Day to focus on how much you love and appreciate your children?

On Mother's Day, I like to reflect on how much I love my children, how grateful I am to be a mother, and (thanks to a recent article I read just yesterday) all the ways I really am a great mom--as opposed to thinking about my deficiencies, as usual!

Here's a brief excerpt from the article. (Incidentally, this mother had a young adult son who committed suicide, so she knows a little about mother's guilt.) 

This Mother’s Day season I’ve decided to do something novel: celebrate the things I did right.
Since I tend to be a behavioral perfectionist, I’ve been excellent at reminding myself of things I might have done better. I’ve learned, however, that humility is quite a different thing from self--flagellation, and that the Lord wants me to repent and rejoice, not hang my head and plod along feeling bad because I’ve had to learn “line upon line” like every other mortal mother.
So, for this Mother’s Day, I’ve decided to be kinder to myself, remembering how much I have always loved my children and how much I enjoyed each one, treasuring the joy of caring for them when they were tiny. I’m reminding myself that all through the years of raising them I did the very best I could with what I knew and understood at the moment.
I’m remembering the hours I read to my children and sang to them, my desire to teach them the gospel, the scripture story tapes and songs they heard as they drifted off to sleep night after night.
Instead of lamenting lack of regular, family prayer I’m remembering the tradition I had of putting my arms around each school-age child separately and praying for them before they went out the door in the morning. Instead of regretting the vacations we couldn’t afford, I’m remembering a few special times when I gave each child an afternoon with Mom alone--cavorting in the park, going out for hamburgers, feeding the pigeons and the ducks, doing whatever they wanted to do. Instead of worrying about all the noisy, disorderly years when the house was full of growing boys, I’m remembering that the kids felt free to bring their friends home, that they were the first in the neighborhood to have a computer, so all the kids “hung out” at our house and I knew where they were. I’m remembering the canyon outings I took them on, and later, the campouts. One time when I was the only adult camping with all five of my boys and two neighbor boys, the Scoutmaster said he was about to recruit me!
Instead of worrying that I didn’t create the “perfect” home for my children and didn’t show them an example of a “perfect” marriage, I’m remembering how totally I’ve always loved them, how I would have (and still would) do anything in the world for their well-being, how I could look in any son’s eyes and say honestly, “I want you to know I will always love you--no matter what!”
This Mother’s Day I’m going to rejoice over the good memories and love myself a little better for how very much I always wanted to do right by my children. By being a little nicer to myself, I hope to give the Savior more reason to rejoice too. After all, “inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these . . . ye have done it unto me.”
1 Corinthians 13 highlights the power of love and how it can never fail.  That means that if you love your children and they know it, by definition you cannot be a failure!  In my opinion, beyond love, everything else is just icing on the cake. 
As soon as I woke up this morning, Elizabeth was on my bed with her homemade presents.  One was a booklet she made at school, and on one of the pages was a little sheet that said "All About My Mom."  Two of the fill-in-the-blank descriptions caught my attention.  One was "My mother loves . . . " Elizabeth could have easily written "her computer" or "dark chocolate" or "a clean house"--but what did she write? ME. I couldn't have scripted that better.

The last one was "My mom is beautiful because she. . ." Again, she could have written various descriptions of my overwhelming physical beauty (laughing here) or who knows what, but do you know what makes me beautiful to her? Here's what she wrote, "My mom is beautiful because she loves me."

That's what matters to our children. That's what makes us beautiful in their eyes: love.

So again, if you love your children (and I'm sure you do!), I hope you will find JOY in that thought and have a HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!!

And that's my wish today for all mother's everywhere . . .


  1. I really appreciate this blog post. Mother's day hasn't been a happy one for me in the past. I went through a few years where all I wanted was to be was a mom, I had my 2nd miscarriage over Mother's Day weekend 2 years ago. While today, I am a happy mom to a beautiful toddler, I am still sad. There are many in this world who would love to be mothers. Many women would love to have a positive pregnancy test or even be married. My heart aches for those women on this day. I focus on celebrating my mother, instead of trying to say this day is for me. Because many others would love to say this day is for themselves, but have not had the opportunity to be a mom.

  2. I love your thoughts on this topic. I'm so grateful to be a mom.

  3. I love Mother's Day for much the same reasons you do. Despite the things with my mom--I love Mother's Day as a time to reflect on my kids and MY mothering. I echo your same thoughts--too bad my Mother's Day photos DO NOT echo yours, yours are beautiful! Mine? What a nightmare...

  4. I love this Allyson...I guess I am not a huge fan of Mother's Day so you struck a chord with reason is mostly because of the pressure! Pressure for my husband to get me something, pressure for me to get my mother's something...and how do you ever show appreciation enough? And then it always hits me right in the middle of the busiest month of the year. Could we move it to March? :)

    Beautiful thoughts though, and I've gotten a lot better with embracing it.


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