Mother’s Day is just around the corner and, along with it, comes many disappointed mamas. While there are mothers experiencing true sadness and grief on this day due to incredibly difficult circumstances, there are also moms whose Mother’s Day disappointment could be eliminated by a new approach to the day.
Now, to be clear, it is right and good for children to honor their mothers. It is also good for fathers to express gratitude to their wives for their role as mother. However, when we, as mothers, set our sights on being treated as queens for the day and when we establish unrealistic expectations of our loved ones, our sinful, rebel hearts are positioned for disappointment.
I know this because my heart has been there. My husband and I have been married for 26 years and I’ve been a mother for 21. I’ve had my share of amazing Mother’s Days and I’ve also experienced the sting of disappointment from unmet expectations. I guess that could be said for other holidays as well. But, Mother’s Day is one of those days that seems to hit us especially hard when it doesn’t go well. Perhaps, it is because we often find our greatest sense of belonging, of identity, in motherhood. But, that issue will need to be addressed in another post….
Over the years, I’ve learned a few lessons about contentment on Mother’s Day. I wish I could say I’ve practiced these perfectly, but that would be a lie. One of them (#4) is new for me this year, but I think it’s the one I’m most excited about….
So, here’s my lessons for defeating disappointment and finding joy on Mother’s Day….
Lesson #1 – Lower Your Expectations
Actually, just throw your expectations (especially your unexpressed ones) out the window. The only expectation you might want to keep is the expectation that the people in your family will be themselves on Mother’s Day. Example: If your toddler is in the middle of the terrible twos, it’s unlikely that he will suddenly become angelic and compliant for your special day. The same logic applies for your sassy 12 year old.
Lesson #2 – Maintain Perspective
Remember that Mother’s Day is one day of the year. Maintain a healthy perspective by remembering how your kids and husband love and appreciate you throughout the year. Philippians 4:8 is a great verse to memorize…..
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Pray this verse and ask God to transform your mind to focus on the good in those around you. So, maybe your husband didn’t surprise you with a bouquet of your favorite flowers. Instead of focusing on the disappointment, remember how sweetly he put the baby to bed last night or how he filled up your gas tank last week. Or, how he sacrificially supports you and your family every day. There’s always something to be thankful for and, by thinking on on what is good, you are more likely to live a life of contentment.
Lesson #3 – Honor Your Mother (and your mother-in-law)
Find joy in honoring the mothers and grandmothers in your family. For years, I sacrificed what I wanted to do on Mother’s Day to spend the day with my mom. Because of her failing health, my family spent many Mother’s Days at our home, hosting and cooking for extended family members to make the day special for my mom. True confession….I sometimes resented working hard on Mother’s Day. But, my mom passed away almost three years ago. Now, I do what I want on Mother’s day. But, you know, if I had the choice, I’d be serving her that favorite BBQ dinner in our home again. Those Mother’s Day holidays spent serving her provide sweet memories and no regrets.
Lesson #4 – Honor Hurting Women
Consider serving and honoring those women who are facing truly hard struggles this Mother’s Day.
Maybe it’s a family who lost their mother this year. Serve the family in a way that honors her memory.
Or, perhaps, it’s a friend grieving her wayward child. Remind her that she’s a good mama and that she and her prodigal are deeply loved.
Maybe it’s a widow with young children. Fill in as “dad” and take the kids to the Dollar Store to shop for some small gifts to make her day special.
Or maybe it’s a friend struggling with infertility. Reminder her that she is loved and make a plan to spend time encouraging her.
Perhaps it’s a friend who lost a child prematurely. Speak words of remembrance and love to her.
And, in all cases, pray for and with these dear women in your life.
Lesson #5 – Make Some Plans
If you have something very specific (and reasonable) in mind for the day, plan it yourself. Make the lunch reservation. Check the movie time. Plan ahead to enjoy the day instead of wishing someone had surprised you with your unexpressed (or even expressed) desire. If children are involved, plan something everyone will enjoy. It’s been said that “If mama ain’t happy, nobody is happy.” But, I would argue that if nobody is happy, mama’s probably not too happy either. So, plan accordingly.
Lesson #6 – Manage Social Media
If you’re prone to discontentment on Mother’s Day, don’t even log on to Facebook or Instagram. They will only feed your expectation to be idolized by your family on this day. If you have a beautiful day and you want to share it, do so in a way that’s encouraging, uplifting and hope-filled. Perhaps, consider including some of the awkward or unexpected moments of the day. Real-life-truth on Facebook is a valuable thing. And those who struggle with Mother’s Day disappointment will appreciate your honesty…..on Monday when they log back in.
Lesson #7 – Remember Jesus
And, if you end the day feeling like you served your family when you expected them to serve you, remember this: You are never more like Jesus than when you are selflessly serving in love.
“Even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” Mark 10:45
Happy Mother’s Day
The Praying Through Scripture is a great gift for the mothers in your life. The journal equips women to become prayer warriors as they pray, memorize and journal through God’s words in their prayer time.