Three Ways to a Better Mother’s Day
by Virginia Forste
We see a mom sitting at the kitchen table trying to smile as her kids serve her chocolate-peanut-butter-sprinkle pancakes and watered-down orange juice for breakfast. It’s a precious gesture, despite the myriad of dishes, spills, and stains on the counter she spies out of the corner of her eye. A sweet card with wonky kids’ handwriting is shoved an inch from her eyeballs. The flowers she receives are beautiful and she will place them in a vase when she has the time. After the “Happy Mother’s Day” sing-songy announcement from her children, prompted by her husband, the day returns to normal with mom doing the majority of the childcare and chores. At bedtime, she’s exhausted as usual and as her eyes close, she longs for something else.
Let’s rewind. How did this Mother’s Day and the countless ones before it come to fruition?
Five days before Mother’s Day . . .
Husband: “What do you want to do for Mother’s Day this year?”
Wife: “Oh, nothing. I’m fine. Don’t make a big deal about it.”
Mother’s Day, 9 pm . . .
Wife: “Why didn’t you make a big deal about it?”
If that’s a familiar scene in your home around birthdays and anniversaries as well, you can change that. If you truly want your family to make a big deal out of celebrations intended for you, then say so. If you’re uncomfortable with being in the spotlight, say that. If you allow people to guess what you want, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment.
There’s a better way. Here are three practical suggestions for creating an even more enjoyable day that’s just for you:
- Be Assertive
We can speak up about our preferences, while still honoring the Lord. I once heard a message highlighting the difference between being a peacekeeper and a peacemaker. God applauds peacemaking. The Amplified Version of Matthew 5:9 says, “Blessed [spiritually calm with life-joy in God’s favor] are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they will [express His character and] be called the sons of God.” Being a peacekeeper is akin to people-pleasing. Letting your family continue what they’ve been doing because it’s easier for them may actually allow bitterness to grow in your heart.
Imagine your request as a slight change of course, like gently maneuvering the rudder of a rowboat. We’re not trying to end the trip entirely, but simply change the route to something even more appealing.
Here’s one possible script:
Husband: “What do you want to do for Mother’s Day this year?”
Wife: “I’d like to do something a little different this year. I would really like to drink an entire cup of hot coffee undisturbed. Then it would be fun to take the kids on a bike ride after lunch, then maybe take a nap. After that a walk by myself sounds nice and then I’d like to pick up dinner from Maggiano’s or Mitchell’s Fish Market. No cards, flowers, or chocolate-peanut-butter-sprinkle pancakes.”
Who knows? Maybe the world won’t end.
- Toss Grace Like Confetti
As we all know, things are not normal right now. Your favorite restaurant might not be offering a full menu or it may even be closed. The yearly movie you see or that spa “me time” you’ve enjoyed in years past may not be an option. Remember that spending time with your loved ones is free and so is a phone call to your BFF in your car in an empty parking lot. Don’t forget that the crazy people at home still love you a lot and you’re a huge reason that house is a home. Give grace liberally to everyone under that roof, including yourself. “Crowded House” isn’t just a band from the 1980s. If you’d rather make Mother’s Day low-key, order a no-contact delivery pizza and only use paper plates. No mom guilt!
- Celebrate Yourself
I’d like to take you back to that time when you were in Girl Scouts. You had that forest green polyester sash and you couldn’t wait to adorn it with those scratchy patches. I haven’t glanced at a Girl Scout cookie order form in decades—I truly have no self-control when it comes to Samoas! But have you checked the Girl Scouts’ site recently? There are so many updated achievement badges.
Check out this handy list to see what badges you’ve earned in motherhood. (Note: The badge names and my respect for the Girl Scouts of America are real. The descriptions are not.)
You have changed the shavings in the hamster cage in your son’s room or fed a frozen mouse to an extremely large reptile: Animal Habitats Badge
You’ve spent half of your waking hours of the day simply keeping your kids from endangering themselves: Safety Badge
You just scored some summer hand-me-downs from another mom friend: Savvy Shopper Badge
You walked around the entire first floor of your house among dozens of toys without injuring yourself: Trail Adventure Badge
You made it to your house safely with helium-filled Mylar birthday balloons in the car that tried to make it into the front seat: Balloon Car Design Challenge Badge
You moved your hair out of your eyes after climbing up a playground twisty slide to bring your toddler back down to solid ground: Climbing Adventure Badge
You slept on a pile of pillows while sleep training your toddler in his room: Camper Badge
You took less than 25 snapshots to get a decent family photo: Digital Photographer Badge
You effectively reduced screen time while homeschooling: Entertainment Technology Badge
You heard one of your children say, “That doesn’t look like a dog; it looks like a horse, Mom.”: Drawing Badge
You found your keys and wallet again: Geocacher Badge
You know there’s a fine line between kissing the boo-boo and calling for an ambulance: First Aid Badge
Your baby called forth all of your musical and vocal skills to finally be put to sleep: Musician Badge
You prepared grilled cheese cut into triangles for your daughter and rectangles for her older sister: Simple Meals Badge
You brought yourself to the edge of your sanity by hosting a sleepover with ten 11-year-olds: Social Butterfly Badge
You just figured out Facebook Messenger Kids about five minutes ago and you have already changed the password twice: Cybersecurity Basics Badge
Someone is not telling the truth, the wall didn’t write on itself, and the dog doesn’t have opposable thumbs: Detective Badge
You know how to turn on the Roomba: Programming Robotics Badge
This is a great time to practice Jesus’ Golden Rule that we find in Luke 6:31, “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you” (AMP).
May you have a fantastic Mother’s Day, however you choose to celebrate!
Virginia Forste is a former elementary education teacher and stay-at-home mom who frequently blogs with other moms at textingthetruth.com.