I come from a long line of mothers. This is my maternal grandmother Merline…
and my paternal grandmother Lucille.
My pretty mamma Susan. Looks like she’s always been good at “kissing it better.”
My sisters are contemporary examples of wonderful mommies, Amber above (with her baby on the right) and Brenna below, with her husband and child.
I’m lucky to have married into a family with more good mommas, including my MIL Kristin,
Abe’s grandma Jane,
and my SIL Abby
It’s Mother’s Day and it seems like it deserves an obligatory post. The obvious choice would be to talk about my amazing mother. She really is great and I could talk a lot about her. But I hope she will forgive me if I share her praise with her privately this year and write about something a little less flowery-- the darker side of Mother’s Day. For all of the joy and appreciation that comes with Mother’s Day (and the get out of cooking dinner and dishes pass that seems to come on one day and one day only each year), there is a potential for a lot of sadness on Mother’s Day as well. I am certain there are many women who have not yet become mothers, may never become mothers, or were once mothers that feel a pang of sorrow on this day. And there are certainly children who feel the sadness of having a mother snatched from them prematurely or even those who may never have known the joy that comes from a loving or good mother.
Luckily for me, I haven’t shared in this darker side of Mom’s Day beyond some minor awkwardness. I think it has been awkward for awhile now, at least 10 years. At church it is usually a day of celebration of mothers, traditionally followed by a token of appreciation for mothers such as a small potted plant given to all the adult women. The talks often make me feel a little awkward as they tell me how awesome I am as a “mother” and I am then forced to take the plant which seems like a glaring reminder that I am a poser who is getting credit for something I haven’t done and everyone knows it.
But I am becoming more like a mom and learning to appreciate potted plants. In fact, I’ve been looking at them a lot lately. Back to the point:
This year I chose to focus less on the awkward feeling I get and more on praising womanhood in general. I feel as a woman we are often judged primarily on our bodies and our sex appeal or on our ability to measure up to men. I often get praised at work for being “one of the guys” rather than for my unique traits as the only female. Professionalism is often considered being aloof, non-emotional, and tough rather than more “feminine” traits like being open, emotionally in tune, or a compromiser. Shrewdness and competiveness are often praised over intuition or team work.
But today, Mother’s Day, I feel like we get a free pass to celebrate womanhood in all it’s glory. Rather than celebrating our potential for sex appeal (which looks pretty laughable and degrading when this behavior is modeled by men as below)
we celebrate the power of our bodies to create and give life. The physical sacrifice women make to bring a baby into this world.
The sickness, the pain, the swollen ankles and stretch marks women have been suffering through for generations.
The sacrifice that continues on as mothers continuously choose to put their families ahead of their own desires and needs. Traits that are often overlooked such as kindness, sweetness, hard work, charity, resourcefulness, self sacrifice. And the ability of women, whether mothers or not, to foster and embody these traits and to act as mothers to those around them.
Like the “mother” who stopped me (at the risk of seeming “weird”) the other day in the grocery store to give me a $1.00 off coupon she saw I had a product in my hands that would qualify for its use.
Like the “mother” who sent me a card of encouragement anonymously in the mail when she must have sensed life has been a little hard.
Like the “mother” who gets me off the couch and out for walks multiple times per week, lets me dump all of my problems on her, and tells me I’m okay and to keep going.
Like the many “mothers” at work who give me kind words, a cookie, or a friendly nudge when they can tell I’ve had a stressful day.
Like the “mother” who gave me a hug and thanked me for a comment I made at church when I was wondering if I sounded like a wacko.
Like the mother who birthed me, the mother who raised my wonderful husband, and the mother I hope to one day be. Whether I have children of my own or not.
Happy Mother’s Day!