Every year, Mother’s Day is a mixed bag for me. Of course I like celebrating my mother and friends who are moms. Being a mother is hard work, no doubt. And most moms are underpaid (ha!), overworked, and vastly under-appreciated. I love the idea of a day to “pamper” your mama — the “jewelry commercial ideal” of breakfast in bed fixed by well-meaning two- and four-year olds and their father who has never made pancakes before, maybe a picnic or cookout for lunch, and a night out for dinner. Gifts of sparkly things from Dad and handmade cards from kids. No laundry, no grocery shopping, and certainly no cleaning or cooking. A day of rest for a woman whose work is never done the other 364. Do it up right and celebrate your mother, or celebrate being someone’s mama!
But on the flip side of that coin are the social media status updates about “carrying my child within my body”, setting your worth by the number of children you’ve pushed into the world, and making it clear that only mothers who give birth to perfect little babies with ease and then devote their lives to them deserve a day of celebration. Where is the day of celebration for the courageous mother who gave her child to someone else to raise, whose current friends don’t even know she had a baby at 14? What about the devastated woman who lost her unborn child last month? What about the women like me who can’t simply create life from their own bodies? How do we define our worth on this day?
Just for a hour this weekend, look around with your eyes wide open. Notice the bombardment of “Procreation = Self Worth” on social media. Turn on the TV and count the commercials reminding men to spend money on diamonds for their wives who can have babies. Does your church ask the moms to stand up, give them roses, and does the pastor preach on the devoted mothers in the Bible? Imagine the woman in the fourth row, trying not to cry in church because she might never stop. What about the husbands of these women, who don’t know how to make their wife feel better about something she can’t help?
Do not get me wrong — please take this weekend to celebrate motherhood. Let your husband feel like he knocked it out of the park with your gift, and pretend those preschooler-cooked eggs are yummy. Go out and celebrate the fact that you have survived pregnancy and birth or adoption, that you lived through sleepless nights or court dates and paperwork, and remember those times when you thought you’d never make it as a mom. If it’s your first Mother’s Day, extra congratulations on making it this far! Kiss your mom if she’s still with you, and revel in the good memories you have if she’s passed on. Hug your granny, and call your mother-in-law if she’s as cool as mine. As you celebrate your moms this weekend, or as you celebrate the fact that you are a mom, please remember the women in your life for whom this day is incredibly hard or even torturous. Most of us don’t want to talk about how hard it is (even me, thanks) but I’m sure we’d all appreciate your prayers and understanding if we’re a little distant.
Now go celebrate some mothers!