Mother’s Day – the Truth

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.

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Mother’s Day?

This year, I find myself thinking about Mother’s Day and the hype surrounding it. Honestly, I think I’m kind of over it.  Maybe it’s a passing phase, but I keep thinking about the things no-one talks about…like how, after the gifts are opened, she’ll be the one to clean up the wrapping paper, the one to tidy up and discard the dead flowers, who laundered, ironed/folded the clothes everyone wore to take her out to eat.

But I’ve mostly been thinking about how Mother’s Day is so focused on the ladies who’ve had children.

I think it’s generally understood that bringing a child into the world doesn’t make someone a mom. I mean, we’ve heard the stories—women who’ve sold their little girls’ bodies to purchase an outfit, accepted money from a school-age daughter’s “boyfriend” to pay a bill, or who’ve just taken off without a backward glance. True, we don’t uphold and laud these examples, but we don’t talk much about them either.

And there’s another group who gets lost in the fray: those women who may not have physically had children, but who deserve just as much hype as those who have. More, in some cases. So, while I wish a great and stress-free Mother’s Day to everyone who has loved and cherished the children she bore…this year, I want to remember the ones who are easy to forget.

So, Happy Mother’s Day to you, the woman who waits (kind of) patiently for the right man, praying over the sound of your biological clock, refusing to settle for just any “sperm donor”. Though it means you often stand alone, you won’t compromise. You get it: the importance of the right support to raise your children. For that, I salute you, lady.

A Happy Mother’s Day to you—the lady who’s lost more babies to miscarriage than she cares to admit, you who have so much love and no baby to give it to. Yet.

Happy Mother’s Day to you, who’ve suffered the unspeakable loss of the child you bore, perhaps the child you raised. Your empty arms make you no less a mother. This year, I celebrate your love—because I know it will live forever.

Happy Mother’s Day to you: the educator, neighbor, babysitter, the lady who cares for and guides other people’s children. Thank you for being the one who watches over them, catching all those little unspoken things—except for that one glance when your back is turned, the one that says they wish yours was the womb that carried them.

And there are so many still unnamed, including the men who’ve stepped up to fill those empty spaces. So Happy Mother’s Day to all of you, but especially to the ones who aren’t smiling this year, the ones who hurt.

As I celebrate you, I pray that your Mother’s Day will be an unforgettable celebration of YOUR love, of the lives you influence, the sacrifices you’ve made, the assured hope that your prayers will soon be answered. Until then, I send you Blessings and my prayers. Know that while you may not get pretty gifts or spa dates or huge bouquets, I am thinking of you, with love.