Mother’s Day

The time honored image.
The time honored image.

Mother’s Day has always been my least favorite day of the year.  I have always felt  love your Mom and tell her all year long.  I really dreaded all the guilt that comes packaged with this day.

I read the following blog by Lisa Jo Baker who writes  Surprised by Motherhood.  If you feel the same way as I do about this holiday you will enjoy the following post.

I heard it all over Facebook and Twitter and in phone calls last year. The disappointment.

The flowers that didn’t come, the cards that were forgotten, the breakfast that was a disaster and that you had to clean up while everyone else was watching football.

The house that wasn’t quiet or clean or tidied up. The getting to sleep in that didn’t happen, the nap that evaporated into a toddler’s meltdown, the meal that someone else didn’t prepare. The laundry that wasn’t folded for you.

The kids that didn’t call, the sermon that wasn’t about mothers, the grand kids who didn’t visit.

I heard it again and again in so many different, disappointed, let down ways – how this one day can’t possibly live up to what it means to mother.

How 24 hours can’t possibly hold the measure of a lifetime of laying oneself low for the loving and raising and wrangling of tiny humans.

Why do we think it will? I ask myself this every year after the inevitable disappointment.

But we do. We expect.

We expect so big and so hard and with so much pre-programming that we don’t know how to turn the expectations off.

We expect and the expecting is high and impossible until it blossoms into full blown entitlement. And entitlement? Entitlement is a very slippery thing.

Entitlement believes that we know best, deserve the best, and resents the rest who don’t deliver.

Entitlement takes the sacrifice of motherhood and spins it in dizzying, disorienting circles.

Motherhood bends. Entitlement demands.

Motherhood serves. Entitlement stomps its foot.

Motherhood delights. Entitlement keeps lists.

Motherhood laughs. Entitlement whines.

Motherhood celebrates. Entitlement sulks.

Motherhood forgets itself in favor of remembering her dimple, his fastest mile, their mouths all ringed around with chocolate.

Entitlement tastes bitterness in every bite of a day that doesn’t go as planned.

And the grand irony of a day devoted to remembering mothers is that it can make me forget how content I am in this skin. Because I am not the sum total of breakfast in bed or empty dishwashers. I am not defined by how tidy the playroom is or who remembered to make me a thoughtful card.

What I believe, what I’ve learned, what I’ve earned through all those sleepless nights, all those miles of carpet walked, all those parent-teacher conferences and cold meals and ruined clothes is that the gift of motherhood, the art of this beautiful, terribly holy work is to find a way through to forgetting myself in favor of someone else.

The holy of motherhood is how it teaches me to lose myself, to let go of Lisa-Jo and surrender myself in an act of rebirth that only a God who wants to help me uncurl my desperate white knuckles from around what I think I’m entitled to could envision.

It’s been a hard battle to hold onto my contentment. In this small, rental house with these sometimes drive-me-crazy kids.

So this year, this year I want to be prepared. I want to take Mother’s Day into my own hands and make it magical in unexpected ways.

Because I’m learning. Slowly, stubbornly learning that we fight the fear of missing out by remembering that it’s in bending the knee to serve that we are most satisfied.

So this year, this is my plan to make sure I don’t miss out on the joy of Mother’s Day.

HOW NOT TO BE disappointed this mother’s day

An UPside Down Mother’s Day Gift List:
Send a card to a friend who is battling infertility to let her know all the ways she has mothered so many.
Quit the Hallmark Channel in the days leading up to Mother’s Day.
Invite a single mom to lunch and celebrate her.
Pick flowers from your back yard for the women in your moms group.
Let your husband off the hook – just go ahead and tell him exactly what would make you feel loved – so he has a fighting chance of getting it right.
Invite that friend who is pretty much an adopted mom to everyone in your community over for lunch.
Help build a kitchen in South Africa for mothers a world away and see motherhood and your own messy kitchen as anything but ordinary through her eyes.
Write each of your kids an individual list of why you love being their mom. This will help you remember why you’ve already got everything you need today.
Call your mom, your grandma, your favorite aunt in the week ahead of Mother’s Day – it doesn’t have to all be on that crowded Sunday.
Fill your table with women who have mothered others whether they are mothers themselves or not. Celebrate and serve them.
Because the thing is, we mother because we’re called to it. We mother because it’s a gift.

We mother because God trusted us with these kids. We mother because we can’t not.

Over and through and under and around the unappreciated days, we mother on.

And I want to remember to keep seeing it for what it is.

A messy, beautiful, chaotic, miraculous, unexchangeable and irreplaceable gift.

Sending love to you Mom’s,



About Bernadette

I live in the small town of Haddonfield, NJ. I am at an age in my life when I seem to spend time thinking and musing about life. These musings are usually stimulated by my walks through Haddonfield, my reading of books and fellow bloggers, and my interaction with my group of fabulous family and friends.

5 Responses

  1. Wow – this is very powerful and important. I love that you tackled this topic. It can be applied to all kinds of occasions. Our high expectations turned to entitlement is dangerous. like you said. We can very easily set ourselves up for disappointment. Your solution to this dilemma is perfect – reach out to others instead of expecting others to reach out to you. The key to happiness and gratitude!


  2. Such a wonderful piece. Entitlement is the toddler. Motherhood just does “because we can’t not.”

    This line made me cry remembering my own kids moments: “Motherhood forgets itself in favor of remembering her dimple, his fastest mile, their mouths all ringed around with chocolate.”
    I’m doing this: “Write each of your kids an individual list of why you love being their mom. This will help you remember why you’ve already got everything you need today.”
    Thank you.


  3. Life rarely looks like a Hallmark channel movie. Mother’s Day has always been a simple affair in my home and it will continue to be that way. Happy Mother’s Day to you!


  4. Mother’s Day can be a difficult day. We do not have any children…not our choice it just never happened for us. Both of our mothers are gone. Mothers do a remarkable job and should be celebrated each and every day. Happy Mother’s Day to you and all mothers.


  5. I learned the hard way about expectations and falling short many years ago, which led to a falling out that lasted 3 years because I chose to do something different that year which led to accusations and recriminations from the other person, believing I had forgotten her because she had checked at the local florist to see if there was an order of flowers in for her that weekend! I vowed I would never put my children through that.



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.