Sometimes, Mother’s Day provokes me.
This year (yesterday), the catalyst was an article about a dad who had to raise his one-month-old daughter alone. No, her mom didn’t die; she left. Exited. Of course, the story is more detailed than that. It always is. But the given details are mostly about the father’s journey. So while I’m applauding this dad’s commitment to his daughter, I’m also thinking about that mother. Why’d she leave? What was going through her mind? Did she have everything she needed…to stay?
See, we can shake our righteous heads and tell everyone how motherhood is about Sacrifice. But we don’t always tell the whole truth. Motherhood, with all its dimensions, is intricate and beautiful—true. Also true: It. Is. Hard. And on the hard days, many of us head-shakers have glanced twice at that exit, too. The holiest of us have looked from screaming baby to snoring partner, struggling with ungodly thoughts. The gentlest of us have lost it with toddlers and teens; said and done things we wouldn’t confess to Jesus Himself. And all of us have crumbled for the want of a break (or something equally dreamy) that we wouldn’t ask for or couldn’t get. We know, live(d) and remember these things. But we don’t always talk about them. Why?
Maybe we don’t want to be judged by the impossible standards floating around us. Maybe there isn’t enough truth circulating to generate the platform and permission we need to be honest. So we don’t say that we’re not perfect, that there are days when our greatest accomplishment is… not leaving. That unlovely truth might be all the help a struggling mom needs. That alone should provoke us to be honest, to say: “Girl, I’ve been there but I’m still here. Keep going. Let me help you…” But for some reason, a struggling mother doesn’t always provoke us that way. Instead of supporting, we judge the ones who are barely holding it together in supermarkets and banks—letting everyone know how we and/or our child “could NEVER…”.
I wish every mom a great Mother’s Day, but this year, I’d like to celebrate moms like that beautifully brave lady I met in the bank with her newborn and toddler. I see you—the ones who struggle, the ones who stay. Your story isn’t easy or pretty. But you’re here. You’ve never thrown a theme party; you’re still figuring out your kid’s hair. But you stayed. You’re living and loving them on fumes, but hoping for a break, so you stay. Honey, we’re here, but we’ve been there. And we’re telling you it gets better. On behalf of your kids, thank you and Happy Mother’s Day! I pray you get everything you need. To stay.