Another Mother’s Day has come and gone and with it, has come a chance to reflect on the special day of honor for women. It’s kind of like Christmas or Easter to me–those certainly aren’t the only days of the year I think about the Savior’s birth or His Atonement and Resurrection, but they’re special nonetheless. Mother’s Day is a chance for us to reflect on and be grateful for all of the influential women in our lives, whether they are our literal mother or not.
Waffles in our jammies, out on the deck.
I wasn’t surprised to hear the little patter of feet running down the hallway early on Sunday morning. As much as they tried, the girls just couldn’t wait to give me the gifts they’d so carefully and lovingly crafted. Bleary-eyed and still sleepy, I laughed as I read the answers to some questions they’d been asked about me. Apparently to them, I’m ten feet tall, my favorite food is coleslaw, I love to relax by sleeping and petting the cats, my favorite thing to do is clean and I’m pretty. I love seeing who I am through their eyes.
Claire and Hercules cuddling.
I saw a survey someone had posted about Mother’s Day and what women really wanted for a gift. Many answers were the cliched answers of jewelry, flowers or breakfast in bed, but I was honestly a bit shocked to read a majority of women questioned wanted a day off from parenting. How can a mother really take a day off from parenting? It is one thing to have a break from the relentless tasks such as dishes, cooking, laundry and picking up toys, but really, that’s not what motherhood is all about.
I will be the first to admit that being a mother isn’t all rainbows and prancing unicorns and giggles. There’s sleepless nights, heartburn, weight gain, stretch marks, eye twitching, nausea, swollen appendages and the occasional painful kick from the inside…and that’s all before a baby is born. Then there are more sleepless nights, eye twitching, changing diapers and cleaning up after sick children, yelling, endless dishes and laundry and a severe limitation on time alone. Those, however, are all tasks and are not the essence of what motherhood really is.
Evelyn reading to Claire and Snickers.
Motherhood is a practice in learning to be selfless, forgiving, unconditionally loving, peacemaking and charitable. It’s an opportunity to be stretched beyond comfort zones and to expand limits. Certainly the last thing I’d want for Mother’s Day is to miss out on an opportunity to be a mother because I might sacrifice one of those tender moments that makes it all worth it. Sure, I relish time to work on my own talents and interests, but more and more, I’m finding that I have increased joy when I share and do them with my girls. To hear my children laugh and play and read together, to be kind to others, to be forgiving or sympathetic, to be the recipient of an impromptu bouquet or a hand-colored picture or to serve selflessly–those are the times when I truly cherish the work I’ve been given.
While literally having children makes a woman a mother, isn’t the only way motherly attributes are obtained. Some of the most praiseworthy women have been my own mother, mother in-law, sisters, grandmothers and aunts but I have also been mothered by elderly neighbors, friends, church sisters and childless family members who have all cultivated such kindness that being with them made me as comfortable and safe as a child. Mother’s Day to me is really a day to celebrate all women and the contribution they make to the world.