Mother's Day Reflection

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Every year I set myself up for disappointment with unrealistic expectations of Mother’s Day. All I want is to get to church on time with no behavior issues from Henry during mass and a day that is free from cooking and planning.  That’s it.  Oh and maybe a card or gift.

Can’t we all just look adorable at church, and bask quietly in God’s beauty at Mass??!!  Is that too much to ask?

I think my expectations stem from a romanticized version of motherhood.  You know, the one you see for a few minutes in a Hallmark commercial.  Mom looks beautiful, kids are clean and dressed in coordinating outfits, Dad buys a ridiculous gift for Mom and everyone hugs her.  The end.  Back to your regularly scheduled program.

As much as I know it’s not real, I still allow this image to creep back in my mind every Mother’s Day.  But why? 

For me, it happens because I buy into a worldly view of motherhood for just long enough to become disappointed.   The world tells you that motherhood (or insert just about any other subject in here, your career, your life choices, marriage) is all about you.

How can other people view me as an amazing mother today?  How can the people around ME serve ME and my wants on this day? 

And yes, my small desires of looking “put together” and on time is not unreasonable.  But in my heart I know that these desires are really just about me and outside appearances. 

What usually ends up happening is we’re late to church, Henry has a few meltdowns, kicks me during mass and screams “no” over and over and I end up feeling like the worst mom ever.  Yay, Mother’s Day! And inevitably I end up angry for about an hour until I realize I’m being ridiculous and slowly God reminds me that motherhood is not about me, it’s about true love. 

Not the love that the world sells us wrapped up in neat bundles filled with chocolates and diamonds.  Real love is as St. Thomas Aquinas so beautifully puts it,   “ willing the good of the other as other”. 

In other words, it’s not about me.  

True love is choosing to do what it is best for those I love when it’s inconvenient for me.  

It’s waking up in the middle of the night for the millionth time with a child so your spouse can rest, it’s doing the dishes even after you’ve cooked the meal and just want to sit down, it’s taking your child out of mass because they need a time-out but all you really want to do is listen to the Gospel message.

When I struggle with motherhood and love and all that is required I ask for God’s help.  And where does He point me?  To His own mother, Mary.

When I think of Mary I think of selflessness.  In her Fiat when she says "I am the handmaiden of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your Word” she says not only “yes” but “I completely trust you”.  She lets go of her desires and lets God take over. 

How often do I do just the opposite? Sure, she had questions but she said yes anyway.  Holiness is about surrender to God, letting go of our own egos and allowing God to transform us into a new being that radiates love. 

May God bless each mom out there and help us to say yes to love each day!

P.S. After I stopped pouting and God helped me to pull myself together we had a great impromptu celebration.  Complete with flower crowns...because every woman should wear a flower crown at least once in her life. :) 


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