All that Mother’s Day hype

I can’t be the only momma who feels squirmy over the hyperbole of Mother’s Day. Out of all the things I want to do well in life, motherhood is at the top of that list. I want to be the kind of mom that’s talked about on every Mother’s Day card, really I do. But the expectations are huge and daunting and all I can see some days is how I’m not those things. Not often enough, or steadily enough, anyway.

My kids are never going to tell you I’m patient, because I’m not. I’m getting better, I’m sure.  But these days with so many teens at home, I’m also being tested a lot, so I don’t FEEL more patient.  I’m not especially predictable — I’m rarely satisfied with the status quo and am always wanting to improve how I do things. I’m not emo enough– I’ve been known to try to logic emotional kids out of crying jags when really I should skip the logic, and keep the hugging.

After reading about left brain and right brain people, I’m finally beginning to understand why hugging + listening is better than hugging + logic.  Personally, I still prefer the logic– I’m an INTJ, after all.  But at least the logic part of me finally allowed me to embrace the idea that logic doesn’t reach everyone, ya know?

Anyway. I’m not one of those people who doesn’t see their own faults. Mine stare me in the face and tick me off to no end.  I want to do everything right and the thing I hate most about them is that some days my failings hurt my kids.  Adding to the angst is the fact that I have been blessed to be allowed to parent the children of other women. Oh, I want to be worthy of that privilege.

Especially when parenting teens, I see my inadequacy.  I judge myself by the swirl of teen angst that I’m not able to fix.  I have to remind myself over and over that I’m not expected to be perfect, just faithful.  That my job is to keep walking forward, trusting that God will redeem my effort, work through my imperfection, even when it seems that my best effort is having little impact.

I hope that at the end of it all, when each of my kids are grown and gone out into the world, they’ll be able to see me with eyes of grace.  That they’ll see past the imperfection and recognize the things that only by God’s power are good about me.

That I love God with all my heart.  That I love each of my children passionately, that I see what they’re capable of and have great hopes for them.  That I’m always trying to to be a better version of myself.

I hope they’ll see me as honest and optimistic and thankful.  Thankful most of all for the gift of grace, because that means I don’t have to be perfect, just forgiven.Oh, I’m grateful for grace.   And oh, how I want each of my children to embrace that gift of grace for themselves.

What about you?  Does the hype of Mother’s Day sometimes drag you down?  Do you remember to give yourself grace?  What encourages you?  How do you remind yourself of what’s good and true?


  1. Honestly this is only my third year to be a mom on Mother’s Day, but I honestly don’t get it. I guess I so well cares for and appreciated as a mother on a very regular basis that I just don’t feel the need for it. Not to mention gift giving/receiving doesn’t even show up on my love language radar.

    I just asked my husband to skip the hype this year which he gladly did and we went on and had ourselves the same happy days that we usually do!

    • Sometimes those sweet low-key days are the best, aren’t they? My kids did most of the cooking for our big Sunday dinner, which I hugely appreciated. But other than that, we had a typical nice normal Sunday too!

  2. Jennifer says:

    This post was a breath of fresh air. In the midst of tears (my own) I declared, in front of my kids, “I hate Mother’s Day”. And the funny thing is – I didnt blame the kids, they are 5 & 7, I totally blamed my husband for not making an ounce of effort to help them do anything for me, or to “teach” them what they are “supposed” to do. My father was extremely dedicated to “teaching” us about focusing on our mother for Mother’s Day, Christmas and her birthday (the day after Christmas) I have high expectations that my husband should be doing the same thing.

    I think for the first time this year I had the realization that my focus shouldn’t be on making everyone please me for a day on the calendar, but rather MY focus should be about pleasing God every day by how I treat and raise my kids.

    • I remember early in our marriage expecting my hubby to make a big deal out of Mother’s Day. He said, rather surprised, “But you’re not my mom.” Which of course is true. 🙂 I think kids do need dads to help them honor mom, because they don’t know to do it otherwise. But I also have had happier days after I decided to lower my expectations of the day.

      • My husband said the very same thing on my very first mother’s day. I cried and threw a fit. We laugh about all of it now.

      • jennifer says:

        He has also used that line on me. I was complaining to my own mother about it (not a good look, I know) and she responded with “then just don’t do anything for Fathers Day”. To which I responded “then what do the kids learn? I think I need to help teach them about honoring their father – or the cycle just keeps going for generations after generation”.

  3. Jeanette says:

    Mary. . . love this post. I think you touched on two of the most important words in parenting. Grace and Faithfulness. I have learned a lot of hard lessons in my 28 years of parenting. I think in the early days, my desire to be the “perfect” parent, as depicted on greeting cards, became for me a form of idolatry. My successful parenting became the MOST important thing rather than faithfully putting one foot in front of the other and pleasing my heavenly Father with my imperfect contribution. I think I have learned that in my transparency with my kids, they see my sincerity and my love for them, however flawed, and they can find grace in their imperfections as well. When they can see your heart, it really can cover a multitude of “sins”.

  4. Thank you for acknowledging that Mother’s Day causes angst. Personally, I despise the day. My mother has chosen to be absent from my life, so it is salt-in-the-wound to read people’s accolades for their mother. And I rarely feel like I deserve the fake praise in greeting cards. So my husband keeps it very low-key, and I do my best to endure church. And then I feel guilty that I’m not setting the right example for my kids, and part of me wishes I’d enjoy being the center of attention. But I am just glad the day is over, as my daughter reminded me this morning when I asked her to do something. 🙁 (We dealt with the sass.) But thank you.

  5. Oh I hate the fuss! As an INTJ who does not have gift giving on the love language radar the whole thing is very uncomfortable. In my experience, people who call me a super-mum don’t want to hear my worries or concerns or help me. If I start talking about those things they just talk over the top of me telling me how wonderful I am until I stop talking and start living up to their expectations. Plus,I tend to only believe evidence based complements so when I am told I am the best Mum in the “whole world” I have to suppress the desire to ask for the criteria and polling method 😛

  6. I hear ya!! 🙂

  7. Being from the UK l find your differant date intresting, our mothering sunday is half way through lent so alway changeing. l believe it once featured returnimg to your mother church and servants being given time off to visit their familys. My church usually honours all who ‘Mother’ in any way and gives all the ladies a small posy of flowers, which the children of the church have made.

  8. Sarah Loten says:

    Touché! I feel the exact same way. I guess for some reason, I don’t like the attention, through gifts, etc. However, I feel pressured to ‘play the game’ every year so I do. It feels like yet another job I have to perform as a mother, for my kids. So, I do. And, I am grateful for the mother and mother-in-law that are still in our lives, after so many years. I find so many of our holidays get over-pressurized, which is a shame really. I wish we could all keep it simpler somehow but it seems to be a monumental effort to go against the trend.

  9. Your saying that you don’t settle for the status quo made me think of something a friend said lately. It’s a ‘quote’ from Jesus (not in the Bible, but I guess something he would say): I love you just as you are, but I love you too much to allow you to stay that way forever. It applies to Jesus’ love for us, but also to our love for our kids, and why we’re always pushing them to better themselves.