Friday, May 06, 2016

A Nice Mother's Day Rant

After I became a mother, I began to hate Mother’s Day – more than any day of the year. I was grumpy as the day approached. I knew there would be no fuss except for the little things the kids would bring home from school. I wore the Kerr bottle rings as necklaces. I wore the dried clay pins and macaroni necklaces that the kids made at school. That was the only symbol that Mother’s Day had arrived. But nothing was different on that day. Everybody would ask me what I wanted. I would say, “I’d like a day when none of you argue and I would like to have a day without having to cook.” So simple. But the kids still argued. I still fixed all the meals. I sat and listened to unbearable stories about the perfect mothers in the world knowing I wasn’t one of them. Lip service was given about how special I was but action rarely followed those words. Every year I tried to change how I felt. I tried to be more adult about it. I tried not to care that my kids didn’t pay attention to the day any more than any other. And my husband rarely stepped up to make a special meal or give me a break from the daily grind that came with a gazillion kids. I still fulfilled my callings at church. And then, at the end of church, they would give us some little booklet that talked about the glories of motherhood. I went home and dumped it into the garbage. Sometimes we’d get a little plant. I think mine died every single year. It was symbolic, I thought.
And then one year I figured it all out. I called all the mothers of my daughters-in-law and thanked them for raising such wonderful young women. I thanked them for being great mothers. I called my daughters and thanked them for being such stellar women and told them how much I loved them. It was such a simple task but it changed how I looked at Mother’s Day. I decided to honor my daughters, who made me in to a mother. I decided to look outward rather than inward. Once that shift in my thought process took place, Mother’s Day became more like Valentine’s Day, which is my favorite holiday. I could do something for other mothers. I stopped expecting gifts and fuss. I began to shed the years of frustration and selfishness. And now I love Mother’s Day. Some years I do something special. Some years it’s just another nice day. Nothing is expected – either from me or by me. And peace has come to me. I just have to figure out what I want to do this year. I feel phone calls to my daughters coming on. And phone calls to lonely mothers in my ward that don’t get to see their children very often. And a phone call to the bishop’s wife who is the mother of the ward. And our Relief Society President who mothers all of us. It’s not about me and never should have been.


Mike and Adrianne said...

I know I didn't really understand how to make you feel special that day. I'm sorry. But, I hope you know now how much I love you and treasure you! If I were home, I'd make dinner and massage your feet and clean the house! Love you Momma. (and your gift is coming late...shows you what a good daughter I am.)

The Duke said...

Don't be sorry, Adrianne. I had to learn this. I was completely selfish and it was such a stupid waste of time. Pity parties are always wrong. But I'm so glad that I learned how to honor my own mother and how to honor you, one of my special daughters. I'm so lucky! I think I am luckier than any other mother in the world. To watch how way you raise your children and serve others is the only gift I ever really want. (You are a good daughter. :) )