Expectations: ruining my Mother’s Day since 2002
I’ve told people that Michael and I get along awesomely, except for all the major holidays. It took me until I turned 33 to realize that its my expectations that ruin the day.
Take Mother’s Day for instance. This was probably a tradition started by women to honor their mothers. Then I’m sure some greeting card company made it popular. I did absolutely no research on this, but I’m thinking it must be true. It is such a “girly” holiday. So we build up this beautiful day to honour mothers. We build it up in our minds until no reality can ever match it. First, we have to pretend that this day won’t hurt anyone’s feelings, like women who want to be mothers, but can’t or women who are made to feel less than others because they choose not to be mothers or mothers and children who are estranged. Then we have to pretend that everyone is perfect for one day. Young children are supposed to not argue, complain or even touch each other for one whole day. Old children are supposed to look at the past through rose coloured glasses. Mothers are supposed to bask in the glory of being a mother all day without being disappointed. Not only that, we are supposed to have our idea of a perfect day, a perfect breakfast in bed and a perfect gift. Then we take all of these ideas and expectations and hand them over to a man and a couple of kids. Sounds like a recipe for disaster. And it usually is.
I’m usually disappointed because I want Mother’s Day to be all about me. And it never is. Its always on a Sunday so that means a lot of hours at church. I get a quick card or gift, a quick hug and kiss, a quick picture then its crazy getting everyone dressed for church time. Off to church to serve and worship. Trying to worship in the midst of wishing that I hadn’t been so short with the kids on Mother’s Day. Then its off to my Mother-in-law’s. Maureen, I love you! But it always means that this portion of the day is not about me either. Then back to church. Throw some food at the kids when we get home then a bubble bath overflowing with disappointment at another holiday that was supposed to be about me, but wasn’t.
It occurred to me this year that it was pure craziness to celebrate motherhood in a way that is selfish. Because true motherhood is the complete opposite! The essence of motherhood is complete servanthood. Somewhere between that moment on September 5, 2002 when I became a mother and held my son for the first time and knew that the love I had was so strong I would sacrifice anything for him. Up to and almost including my sanity! I would willingly serve him all my days. Somewhere between that moment and now, I have sometimes lost sight of what that really means, with a lot of those sometimes being on Mother’s Day. I’ve sometimes lost sight of the fact that being a mother is not about me, its about them. Its about those precious little people who make me a mother.
I’ve spent deliberate time this week saying to myself, “I am a servant”. My job, my privilege, is to serve these little people who call me mom. I’ve read several amazing blogs reminding me of my true place. I’ve prayed over my children and over my attitude. Yesterday I snuggled with Emma on the hammock out in the sun. I pulled her close to me and thought of all the first times I had held my precious children. How much I love them. How much I will sacrifice for them. It was a reminder of my role. Of course, in a truly Emma moment, she asked to go because, “this is getting embarrassing”:) But even that was a reminder to put her first! Last night I celebrated my mother, and this afternoon I will celebrate my mother-in-law. I will serve and worship in my church. This morning I will sing for Mother’s Day. When handed this assignment, I decided to skip the sappy everything-is-perfect songs and I’m singing a song titled Before You I Kneel (A Worker’s Prayer). Its not a Mother’s Day song in the traditional sense of the word, but it so fits because mothers are just workers asking God to bless our labour and trying to do everything for God’s glory. And today, I need that reminder.
So this Mother’s Day I will do everything the same I do every year. But this year is going to be awesome. Because today I’ve made it all about me, in a much different way. I’m focusing on my attitude, setting aside my expectations and looking for opportunities to serve my family and those around me. Speaking of which, the kids are yelling downstairs and I really need to cook breakfast if we’re going to get to church on time. I love my job. I especially love it when I have a good attitude about it. Best Mother’s Day ever.