Sunday, May 8, 2016. Mother’s Day. This is the morning moms are supposed to wake up to a scrumptious breakfast, beautiful flowers, meaningful cards, gifts, and a day full of special times. Husbands and kids overflow with gratefulness and appreciation for Mom’s loving, selfless care. As evening approaches, Hubby insists that Mom takes a rest—maybe with a snack, a book, or a bubble bath—while he reads to the kids and tucks them into their beds. The day is lovely, emotionally satisfying, and refreshing!
Or maybe not.
Some moms get up, serve breakfast, start preparations for dinner, get themselves and the kids ready for church, change a last-minute messy diaper, and scurry everyone out the door to get to church on time. Just like any other Sunday. The first mention of Mother’s Day comes from the pastor as he makes the weekly announcements. Once home, the afternoon and evening go by with no further mention of the special day. No gifts. No cards. No gratitude. No appreciation. No attention.
Most moms’ Mother’s Day celebrations fall somewhere between the two examples above. Hopefully none of us actually have one like the last example. But however our Mother’s Day goes, whether we realize it (or admit it) or not, we often come at the day with some sort of expectations. Expectations can be dangerous things. Real life sometimes does not live up to them. And when that happens, we can be disappointed or hurt.
Expectations. Some fulfilled. Some unmet.
As our special day approaches, we may begin anticipating a thoughtful gift or pretty card. Or maybe we’re longing for a favorite meal that we don’t have to cook ourselves. But in my thirty-five years of mom experience, and from talking to lots of other moms through the years, I know there is usually something else on our hearts—something we’d rather have than any of the above. Something better than cards, flowers, or even chocolate (well, maybe better than chocolate!).
Sometimes what we really want comes right along with gifts, but it doesn’t have to. It pretty much boils down to wanting our husbands and children to be aware of, and thankful for, who we are and what we do. We want what we do to matter to them. We want them to notice. We want them to care. We want them to appreciate . . . us.
Especially our husbands. We want them to notice and even be wowed that we cook dinner, do laundry, and homeschool all at the same time—with a good degree of proficiency. We want them to recognize that playing trucks or having a tea party is sometimes not our personal choice for how to spend a moment. But that we enter joyfully into it for our children. We want them to recognize how hard we work to homeschool our brood with a degree of excellence. We want them to appreciate the time and creativity we put into trying to serve healthy, cost-effective, family-pleasing meals. In short, we want our husbands’ hearts to swell with love and gratefulness for how we’re doing at this mom thing.
We love being mommies. We truly do. And sometimes we’re even pretty awesome at it. It is amazing to feel the love and joy our children bring. We love being with them. We love teaching them and caring for them. We love giggling and having fun with them. But sometimes—right or wrong—we just want someone important to us to recognize what we do. After all, not every day is a peaceful walk in the park! We want someone to care about the sacrifices we gladly make. We want someone to be thankful that we’re investing our lives wholeheartedly in these special blessings (aka our children), who can also drive us nuts sometimes.
And you know what? Someone very important does notice and care! Whether or not our husbands or kids notice what we do, or whether or not they show it in a way that speaks to our hearts the way we like, God notices. He understands. He knows the dreams we may have put on hold. He sees the exhaustion and the personal sacrifices. He sees the laughter. He knows the joys we experience as our children learn and grow. He sees the burdens we bear for them. He understands when fear grips our hearts for one of our children. He hears our prayers for their souls, safety, well-being, and futures. He sees it all! The good and the bad. He’s got grace, mercy, compassion, and strength for when we’ve messed up, and He’s got blessings and joy for the times we’ve trusted Him and done things for His glory!
You know something else? While it is nice to be recognized and appreciated for what we do, we’d probably be happier if we would get our focus off of ourselves and how we’d like a particular day to go. Rest in the fact that God sees what you are doing—whether anyone else sees or not. Remember, in the gospels we’re told that we should not do our giving to be seen of men—for then we have our reward already. But when we give of ourselves in secret, God will reward us. I believe that when we mother our children for Him, without trying to gain favor or acclaim from others, He will reward us!
Maybe this Mother’s Day we should take some time to purposely focus on the blessings of having a family to serve. Bask in the wonder of being allowed to have children in our home. I mean, how spectacular is it that God has chosen us to raise children for Him? Enjoy the process of parenthood and the spiritual growth that comes from being so spent, so aware of our own shortcomings—so needy of God’s abundant grace to make it through day after day. Drink freely of the grace of God. Pray for our children’s salvation, future spouses, children, and life’s work.
Glory in the deep relationships we get the opportunity to grow. Cherish the smiles and hugs.
We are blessed! We are moms! And that’s pretty remarkable!
Psst! Here’s a quick FYI: Father’s Day is just around the corner. Moms aren’t the only ones who do things for their families. Most husbands do some pretty amazing things too—if we just open our eyes to notice. Now would be a great time to start thinking about how we can bless our husbands on Father’s Day and show our appreciation! Of course, why wait till June 19 to bless and appreciate them? Why not get started today?
Kari Lewis is the "mom" here at Home School Enrichment. She and Frank have been married since 1977 and homeschooled their two sons, Matthew and Jonathan, from their early elementary years through their high school graduations. Together, the four of them started Home School Enrichment Magazine in late 2002. More recently, she's been enjoying her new role of mother-in-law and grandma! You can reach her at kari@HomeSchoolEnrichment.com.