Mother's Day: Why It's Not About Me

3 years ago

I have an expectation problem. A big one. A few times a year, as special holidays approach (and by "special" I mean the ones that are supposed to be about me) I start to imagine all the ways I will be honored and surprised and showered with gifts. I imagine the parade, I anticipate the pampering and the pedicure, and I contemplate how I will have my eggs prepared for my breakfast in bed. So perhaps it is no surprise that I am usually disappointed.

And, Oh, Mother's Day. How I love/hate thee. Let me count the ways.

Maybe I'm the only one (I don't think I'm the only one), but for me Mother's Day is one loaded heavy with expectation and mixed emotion. Perhaps it's a bit unrealistic for me to wish for a home-cooked breakfast in bed made by my three-year-olds or a candle lit bath and a book while my children play quietly or watch a movie or do something, anything, besides bang on the bathroom door. Yes, these things would be very lovely. And to be clear, I would love for these things to happen on Mother's Day. All those lists going around the internet about what "Mom Really Wants" this Mother's Day? Yes, this mom agrees.

But this year I'm trying something new. I'm trying to be honest with myself as I anticipate this day. And when I'm honest with myself, I have to admit that I'm pretty pampered all year round.

Now wait, by "pretty pampered" I don't mean I have a membership at the spa. One look at my sad, unloved, and unpedicured feet is all the evidence one needs of this truth. But what I do mean is that I have a husband who gets it. Let me say that again.

Praise God, I have a husband who gets it. (Like, 90% of the time.)

In all reality, he more than gets it. He is pretty much one of those Super Dads. And I know that I am so fortunate to have a partner who carries his weight and then some in the parenting department all year round. A partner who knows it is crazy exhausting to raise little humans and that by some law of nature the little humans in our home cling to, whine, and often save their greatest toddler drama especially for me. A partner who takes them for bike rides, Home Depot runs, or trips to the gym without me asking or demanding or pleading. (Usually, without me pleading.) He specializes in the off days, the other 364 days, and I've come to realize that those numbers are waaaay in my favor.

So, for me to expect him to pull out all the stops and throw me a parade (because it will fall all on him as his helpers are only three) is perhaps unrealistic. Though of course, I still find myself dreaming of grape feeding and foot scrubbing and flowers and scented oils...

But this year, I know my day of pampering is not going to happen on Mother's Day. I know this up front. Not because my husband will fall short of my expectations, (he's actually pretty good on the 365th day too) but because the universe has other plans for me. And I'm struggling to choosing to be okay with it.

My Mother's Day this year is full to the brim with a "to-do" list a mile long. (Yours, too?) Mine will be spent co-preaching at my home church and then studying for my History of Christian Thought final on Monday and then preparing for a resale and then...

Yes, that's right. I'll be preaching... for the second time in ever... on Mother's Day. And I already have all the weight of expectation and the mixed emotion that this might warrant. Because of course there is no pressure at all, really. Just as long as I remember that I'm speaking to all the moms and moms-to-be and moms-who-long-to-be and moms-who-are-exhausted and moms-who-are-surrogate-moms and moms-who-have-lost-their-moms and moms-who-grieve and...

Deep breath.

(Can I just say here too that I am so grateful to be co-preaching with a dear friend and amazing woman and to be sharing the floor with many friends and women from our moms group who will speak, read, and pray during the service? Because I am. So grateful.)

And while I feel a lot of pressure because of this upcoming task and day which I have at times resented, I'm also grateful for the gentle nudging and slow changing of perspective that has been happening over the last few weeks.

And the changing perspective is simply this: Maybe it's not all about me.

As much as I want it to be and hope it to be and convince myself I deserve it to be, Mother's Day is not all about me. Because if it's about me, then I'm probably going to be disappointed.

Instead, it is about you. And me. And the community that surrounds us as mothers. I've realized that I cannot very well get up in front of my community and try to preach about the collective nature of motherhood and then pout about my to-do list and the lack of pampering time and the stress of planning three services and studying for a final.

Ehem...just for the record, this doesn't mean there hasn't been any pouting or venting, nor does it mean that there will not ever be any more pouting or venting. I'm human (and selfish and whiny and needy...some of my better character traits).

It just means that I've called myself out on this one.

And so what I will try my best to do is to remind myself how I am so, so grateful for my community. For my husband who helps me find time to prepare for three services and to study for my final and to pursue something else in addition to my beloved role as a mother. For my own mother who so often spends her vacation days watching my kids, playing play-dough with her grandchildren, teaching and guiding them along side me. For my mother-in-law who will be spending the day and the week with us so that we can manage through this hectic time, keeping my children laughing and loving and growing while I serve and study and breathe. For the aunties, the teachers, the care-takers who love my children so dearly, caring for my own heart beating outside my body.

On this Mother's Day, I will try my best to shift my focus from "mememe" to "thankyouthankyouthankyou" for helping "memememe." To mother, on this and every day.

Now, about that pedicure...

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