What if we gave our families the gift of low expectations this Mother’s Day? I know, it probably sounds like a terrible idea. Why would we give them a gift? Isn’t it suppose to be all about us? You also might be thinking that if you lower expectations any further, they won’t even…(you fill in the blank).
But don’t we all prefer receiving true thanks and praise that is not forced or coerced? None of us like to be told that we must praise someone, or buy them a gift. It steals the joy away from the giver. The more we try to push others to pamper and spoil us, the more miserable we become.
How do I reassure you that I know mothers have worth and value while also (gently) reminding you that we are not the most valuable creatures on the face of the earth?
It’s a real fact that mothers work very hard, and it’s easy for our work to go unnoticed. I know. I feel it too sometimes. But we have to remember, the ideas that we feed are the ones that grow. Only as we feed our minds on thoughts of gratitude will we begin to feel the peace we long for.
I wasn’t going to write about Mother’s Day, but then I read this. It has currently been shared on facebook 539 thousand times. There are almost no words to describe what a terrible Mother’s Day one might have with those expectations. (Yes, I know there are some “redeeming lines” at the end, but it in no way cancels out the appalling sense of entitlement throughout…I pity the husband who must make all of that happen.)
As mothers, we sometimes single-handedly wreck our own Mothers Day. Sometimes every year. On a day that we could be enjoying a sweet little card, or a caring phone call, a big hug from our husband, or maybe even a small gift, instead we stand there washing the dishes thinking “It’s Mother’s Day, how could they make me wash dishes?!!”.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Because of sin? Society? Self-pity? All of the above?
Please don’t think I’m saying that the celebration of Mother’s Day is sinful and wrong. I don’t think it is. The Bible is full of reminders to be thankful, love, serve, and cherish each other. I think Mother’s Day fits in there beautifully. But it turns ugly when we demand gratitude out of a sense of entitlement, mixed with a heavy dose of self-pity, and start to ask the ugly question, “what about me?“.
Do you really enjoy serving people who are demanding and feel entitled? I don’t. Our families probably don’t love it either.
To my knowledge, scripture doesn’t condone an attitude of entitlement, demanding that we be served on “our day”. It just isn’t there. We can’t “fix our eyes on Jesus” while we’re looking around wondering why we aren’t being served our breakfast on a tray…in bed…on a Sunday morning.
Is it just that I’m a pastor’s wife that I think breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day is a hilarious thought? Of all the insane things to think of doing on our way out the door to church! (Maybe not everyone has to be at church early!)
An even bigger red flag is the idea of skipping church because of Mother’s Day. (I realize that there are special circumstances, some Mothers aren’t believers, I wouldn’t tell you not to take your non-believing mother out for Mother’s Day brunch.) But some of us actually think that we will feel more pampered if we were to skip church to honor ourselves.
As long as we keep making it all about us, it will never be about Jesus.
Don’t we pray, and sing, and talk like we want our lives to be a reflection of Christ? But then we want to “treat ourselves” by deciding that attending church on this day of the year isn’t really a big deal.
Friends! This is not who we are suppose to be!
We are not called to create our own kingdom, we are to serve in God’s Kingdom.
Gratefulness from our families can happen right in the middle of all the mess that is getting ourselves to church to honor the One who is worthy of all of our praise.
Some mothers are in the middle of painful estrangements, while others deeply desire to be a mother and cannot. This post is not for them. It is for all of us who struggle in our hearts on these holidays. Some can’t understand what I’m talking about, but others will know that deep sense of unrest on days like this as we attempt to be grateful for anything we receive, but in our hearts we feel that it’s not quite enough.
You may wonder why this matters. Why am I making such a big deal out of all of this?
Because we are the controllers of the atmosphere in our home. Wouldn’t we like that atmosphere to be one of gratitude?
Because these attitudes get passed on from mother to daughter to grand-daughter. We have the ability to change our family culture of demanding to grateful. That is worth our time and energy.
So how do we change the tone of Mother’s Day? I’m sure you have your own ideas, I’ll just share a few of mine.
I’ve tried to make this day a celebration of our family. I (try) to make our favorite food for dinner, and we exchange notes.(My notes for them are to thank them for making it so fun to be their mom. It’s sort of like passing valentines back and forth.)
The most helpful to me is recording precious words of gratitude from my family throughout the year. I love looking back at those little notes, or quotes I’ve written down of what they’ve said to me. This helps on the tough days when I begin to think that no one cares or notices my efforts.
We have life’s moments to treasure in our hearts when we are servants of our family. But it rests with us to be the keeper of those memories.
Recently I got one of my favorite compliments ever. While reading a book to my kids about a mom I greatly admire, someone said “wow mom, she reminds me of you”.
I made cinnamon rolls the other day, and my boys’comments (Oh mom, you are the best mom ever, these are soooo good! Thank you for making these!) beats any card hands down…if I will let it. Later, Michael thanked me for how hard I had worked for them during the day, even though I had a lot of other things to take care of.
These were real, heartfelt words of gratitude. They were unprovoked. I wrote them down.
Blessings on all of you mothers this Mother’s Day. I hope you and your family can have a special day together…with low expectations!
Look at those sweeties…(in 2006).