It is Mothers Day today. A day which always brings me to introspection and thoughts that I don’t think every other day of the year.
I am aware today of the many moms out there, my own Mom, my oldest daughter as she raises her two little boys, my sister and my sis-in-law, my friends and the many women whose stories I hear in the course of the work that I do.
I myself have five children. And for the bulk of my life I spent my years raising them, teaching them, and trying my best to provide stability and love that would set them up right for the life they were to lead.
And I am thinking today about the young moms that I know, the ones waiting and hoping (but trying not to hope too much) for the recognition and the love from a significant other that may or may not come.
Many years back I experienced the same. I remember how desperately I needed to be valued and yet I remember the crazy making in my own heart as I waited on that. And what I remember is that it didn’t matter if that value of me came or didn’t come (some years it didn’t come but then other years it came in extravagant fashion) for me it was the wondering and the waiting in my inner person that made me a bit nuts.
And so, at some point in the past (I’m not exactly sure how many years ago) I made peace with myself as a Mom. I began to validate my own self, to care for the mom in me, to make Mother’s Day what I wanted and needed it to be for me (well, sorta, wink, wink).
And in this, I let everyone else off the hook.
No longer did my personal self-esteem depend on the actions or thoughts or cards or gifts or presence of others. I was free. But so were they.
Instead of Mothers Day being a thing of ought and should for my children it has become a day where they are free to give to me or not give to me. This has given them the freedom to grow into their own hearts response to Mother’s Day and to myself on their own speed and style. As a mother, I think it is important to give them this freedom and room for growth.
Later today my children are taking me out for lunch (initiated by one, not everyone thought of it). Until then I am blessing myself. I’ve set myself in the garden, with coffee in the brewing, with a few of my favourite things at hand, with time to contemplate (and to write this post!).
(And no, I’m not going to church today for I’m giving myself the gift of time and silence after a very busy week)
If I had any advice to give to younger Moms I would say this:
Learn to love and cherish yourself. Know, that Mother’s Day is often just a day to do more work and to show up even more for others (as they honour you) and so in the midst of all the oughts and the shoulds that we build into this day, be your own best cheerleader.
Let others off the hook. Honor yourself. Do something small but tangible that you want to do. Buy yourself flowers or a gift or a card or whatever it might be. If not this day, then sometime this week. Ensure that you are valuing you, love you, nurture you, feed you, care for you.
Out of this self care, you will have more to give as a Mom and all those around you will (for the most part) value you (as they follow your lead) and will find their own way to say they love you.
Learning to love ourselves is one of the most important things to do as Moms — you know how much of yourself you pour, literally pour, into everyone else!
Then, everything else that comes to you on Mother’s Day will be icing on the cake. It is all icing from here. Settled in who we are allows the acknowledgments of others to add levels of gladness to gladness that is already there.
Be glad in yourself today. Take yourself in hand and say, “Thank you for being a Mom.”
… my candle just blew out in the wind, and it’s time to drink my coffee before it is cold — HAPPY MOTHERS DAY