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Friday, May 9, 2014

Appreciation for Mother's Day...

When we all think of Mother's Day, we think of it as a day to appreciate our mother's.  A day that our children and spouse should appreciate us as mother's.

When I was a young mother before Jake died I LOVED Mother's Day.  I had little tiny boys that were sweet, loving, and adorable.  They loved me to pieces and I knew it.  Jake was amazing at making me breakfast with the little ones "helping" him so they could bring me breakfast in bed.  He would always give me a card filled with words of love and appreciation.  He spoiled me the entire day...and I assumed that this was how all mother's spent their special day.

Jake and my little boys!

I went to church on Mother's Day in 2003 and had a conversation with some of the other more seasoned mother's.  I was shocked to hear what they were saying about Mother's Day.  They HATED it?!?  Why? I asked in pure amazement!  How in the world could anyone hate Mother's Day...especially if they were a mother?  The list was a long one- "We come to church to hear all the things that we are failing in." Another mom told how her husband never even acknowledged the day.  "My kids never do anything special."  I also heard, "It's the same as every other day, it's just a reminder of how unappreciated I am as a mother."

Honestly, I was shocked.  I was young so I am sure I just annoyed them with my "life is perfect and beautiful" attitude.  I went home and thanked Jake for making my Mother's Day amazing every year while I told him of my earlier conversations.

I was able to enjoy 7 years of the perfect Mother's Day.  After Jake died though, that all changed.  I started to fear the upcoming day, knowing the pain I was going to feel.  It would be my first of many Mother's Days without Jake to make it perfect for me.  I wondered if my kids would see my grief and pain and feel bad that they couldn't take it away.  Would it hurt them and make them feel like they failed me on Mother's Day?

I tried to make the best of Mother's Day but it was hard.  It did hurt my heart, and I found myself understanding for the first time, that "seasoned mother's" have lived longer and had some bad experiences on Mother's Day to taint their feelings on the day that was created just to appreciate them.    I didn't judge them as harshly and could understand why this day was hard for them.

For the last 10 years I have experienced many different kinds of Mother's Days.  The first year I had Curtis in my life I had a similar Mother's Day to the one's I had previously experienced.  I got my breakfast in bed made by my the man in my life with my little children helping.  They made cards for me and spoiled me.  For the last 7 years though, I haven't known what to expect.  Some years have been great and other's have been hard.  I have had times when I didn't get my breakfast in bed, and I wasn't spoiled all day.  Years that I had felt like I wasn't doing a good enough job as a mom, on those Mother's Days I found myself in that bitter place thinking...I hate Mother's Day!

First year with Curtis.

It bothered me that I felt that way, but my feelings were hurt, and I wanted to feel appreciated as a mom.  I didn't want to be reminded how everyone else was doing a great job and I was miserably failing my kids, with all the struggles of a step family.

In my search over the last several years to understand why so many women hate Mother's Day I came across a lot of good reasons...

There were women that never married and it is a reminder of their loneliness and the fact that they don't have any children.  There are women with infertility issues that are reminded of all the babies they lost and their empty arms ache for the weight of a tiny infant.  Women that have lost a child and feel the void of that child especially deep on this day.

My expectation of what Mother's Day should look like now is a lot more realistic than it was in my yearly years.  As I started to think about Mother's Day this year I had a thought come into my mind that has changed the way I am going to view Mother's Day from this day forward.

Mother's Day is a day of appreciation...Right?

What if instead of solely looking for others to appreciate me... instead, as a mother,  I appreciate and celebrate the amazing blessing that it is to be a mother!  Instead of focusing on all the things I am doing wrong, and the ways I am "failing" my kids, I am going to recognize that I am doing my best, and I continue to improve each day.  Instead of waiting for my kids to bring me cards of appreciation, I am going to write them cards of appreciation, letting them know how much I love them and how grateful I am to be their mother.  Being a mother is truly my greatest blessing in this life.

There are many ways to be a mother even if you don't have children of your own.  There are so many young mothers that need help and are overwhelmed.  When Jake died I relied so much on my family.  I needed all the help I could get.  I have a dear sister whom I love that doesn't have children of her own.  But for the last 10 years, she has given my children baths, made them dinner, cleaned up after the messes they make, kissed and bandaged their "owies", and loved them their entire life.  She has loved them like a mother would, and my children love her as well.  Everyone needs an Aunt Traci!

This Mother's Day I have decided that I am not going to wait to be appreciated.  I am going to spend the day truly appreciating the fact that I have been blessed tremendously with 10 beautiful children.  I am going to go out of my way to comfort the women that I know that have a good reason to dread this day.  Not because they aren't getting breakfast in bed, but because they wish to have what so many of us take for granted.  Children in our homes to raise.

My friend Jacy has a blog and she offered a challenge to write letters to women in our lives telling them what amazing women they are.  I plan to take this challenge as well as write the letters to my children.  Who's with me?!?  Check out Jacy's blog post here...it will inspire you!

I know that if we are forgotten by our husband's or children...it will still hurt.  The pain of the desire to do better may still be there.  My hope is that if we change the way we view Mother's Day even just a little bit it could be a much better day for so many of us.

I hope that you all have a wonderful Mother's Day.  You are all amazing and inspiring to so many people.  I love all women and I am honestly grateful for the sisterhood I feel through this blog.  May you have peace, love and appreciation in your heart this Mother's Day!

I'd like to thank my mom for all that she has done and for all that she has taught me.  She has seen me through both the best times of my life and the worst times. She has always shown me love and kindness and I'll be forever thankful for her being in my life. She has been a great example of how to be a great mother.


Read my story here.

4 comments:

  1. I'm in! Thank you for your wonderful post. My mother has always given us something for mothers day, whether it was a small gift, a card, or a love note. She has always thanked us for making her a mother. I now do that with my son.

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  2. I appreciate your positive spin on handling Mother's Day, and I think I like your post better than my own two posts about the day. :D (I'm going to put a link to this page at the end of my most recent one.)

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  3. Julie, thank you for sharing thoughts about Mothers' Day that I had never considered before. . . I know women that haven't been blessed with children who hate to come to church on Mothers' Day, but hadn't thought about those that are unappreciated, feel less worthy of praise, and so on. . . Your family photos are precious! What an opportunity to share your life with another wonderful man and his delightful children. . . I raised five sons and two daughters as a "single parent" when my husband of 16 years died over 24 years ago. They're all grown up to be awesome adults and are very active in our church. I'm grateful for my mother, sisters, and other good women and men that helped me raise them with their mothering and mentoring. . . Thanks for all the good that you're doing through your excellent example and inspiring blogging, Sweetie! Happy Mothers' Day to YOU!

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    1. What a kind comment! Thank you so much...you made my day:)

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