Well, you would think that writing a blog specifically for moms I would have penned a lovely, encouraging and inspirational post leading up to Mother’s Day, right? Nope. Not me. That logic completely did not manage to find itself on my radar. But it probably turned out for the best, because now I do want to talk about Mother’s Day. My Mother’s Day. Which was horrible.
I don’t know at what point it started out being a bad day…perhaps when Hugo woke at 4:30am instead of his usual 7am. There went my honorary MD sleep in down the drain. Of course, my husband Gavin got up and tended to him after I’d completed my shift, but I was already tired for the day ahead. Strike 1. Or then perhaps the fact that we got to church so ridiculously late that we just scraped in for the opening of the preach. Strike 2. Then I missed the inspirational, motivational, put-passion-in-your-call-as-a-mom pep talk as I was chasing my now walking little man up and down the stairs and in and out of the empty chairs, much to his delight (Did someone say crèche?). Strike 3.
Despite the three strikes before the clock had even hit midday, I still believed the day could be redeemed. I was sure Gav had something amazing planned for this special celebratory lunch. We ended up at one of our favorite little beachside cafe-restaurants, which in the past would have been simply divine (in fact we celebrated my very first MD there last year), but given Hugo has recently graduated to the ‘toddler’ phase of life and is now into everything and walking around everywhere, I think it’s pretty safe to say our cafe days are ‘on hold’ for a season. Actually, I was surprised at Hugo’s self restraint to sit there for the first half an hour rather content and quiet, but when those ants got in those pants it was time for me to scoff my flourless almond-hazelnut chocolate cake and mocha and get this kid outta there before we started getting the filthies from our co-patrons. You know, the filthies I used to give in my pre-baby days to those parents whose kids were disturbing my peaceful meal (Did I just admit that?!).
Gav’s lovely plans panned out uneventful as Hugo’s early morning caught up with him and he ended up falling asleep in the car. For two hours. So from this point on the most exciting part of my MD afternoon was probably stocking up on toilet paper at the supermarket. At the end of the day after the little man was finally tucked into bed and mommy had a big glass of red in her hand (No no, make THAT the highlight of my day), I sat back and felt a huge sense of discouragement come over me. I had been looking forward to this day as a ‘day off.’ You know what I mean. And you know it doesn’t exist. And now I do too ;) I didn’t care what presents I received , I didn’t care where we had lunch, I didn’t care about what special things we did. I just didn’t want to be responsible for it! But I was. All. Day. Long.
I realized after this eventless day that I had put a lot of my self-worth in the expectations I had for this special occasion that was meant to celebrate my motherhood. When things didn’t turn out as I’d hoped – let’s rephrase that…when things went completely opposite to the perfect picture I had in my mind – I foolishly correlated the days despair with my worth as a mother.
‘Who do you think you are anyway’
‘It really is a thankless job’
These phrases started playing on repeat in my head. Yes I know it was all lies, but I stupidly allowed the thoughts to continue and I even entertained them. On the one day of the year that I was meant to feel built up and encouraged I was feeling worthless and de-valued. And once I opened the door to these voices it didn’t take long before I was feeling like a bad mother. It’s crazy how quickly we can spiral down when we stop standing on the truth and start listening to the lies!
But the story doesn’t end here. No, I didn’t rise up above it and overcome victoriously. I went to bed and wallowed in self-pity. Yeah, I kinda don’t recommend that. Ever. Then, funnily enough, I woke on Monday morning still feeling like a bad mom. I went throughout my day living from this place of discouragement in my heart and instead of pulling myself up out of the pit I remained there every day since, until this morning. I finally had a moment and gave myself a good spiritual slap in the face, spent some time in prayer and worship, strengthened myself in God and rose up out of the doom and gloom. And BOOM, here I am on top of it all again. But let me share what I’ve learnt from my experience this week.
In hindsight it’s easy to see, and even at the time I knew it, but when apathy grips you like that even ‘believing’ seems too hard to do. Clearly, my motherhood was being attacked. Now, I don’t want to focus on the enemy and his strategies to pull us down, so I’m going to come at this from the opposite angle. Mothers Day really is about celebrating the high and holy calling of one of the most significant roles that we can have as women. It’s one day out of the year where “…those around her stand and call her blessed, give her the praise that is due…reward her for all she has done…” (Prov 31:27, 31). Of course, this isn’t limited only to MD, but it’s just a perfect opportunity to do so and to celebrate all of this.
The role of a mother truly is such a high calling. It is not something to be belittled (“Oh, she’s just a mom”), to be resented (“My kids are such a pain in the ass, I can’t wait till they move out”), to be done on the side (“Look son, I really don’t have time right now I have a huge project at work that needs my attention”), the list goes on. If our culture could actually grasp the magnitude of the role of mother, I believe we would live in a very different world. Our future is in the hands of these little ones who have been given into our care. Who we shape them into now will be who leads this world in the future. Who they become as adults is in our power right now, to mould and shape. The morals and ethics they live by as grown men and women will be from the input and training we put into them at this time. The dreams and visions they strive to achieve in their life will be determined by the encouragement, praise and confidence we give them at this young age. I really really could go on, there is so much more that we do as mothers (and fathers too, of course), but what I am trying to portray is the vitality and power of such a significant role. The mother.
So if the world’s future is in the hands of this youthful generation, no wonder it’s part of the enemy’s strategy to try and either belittle the role of the mother to be viewed as insignificant, or to attempt to derail any possible chance of these children developing into confident, bold, God-fearing, Presence-carrying, Kingdom-building adults by attacking the very core of those who have the power and responsibility to accomplish this.
Let’s be honest, we are going to have bad days, bad weeks, bad months, bad seasons. We’re real women and we live in the real world. Let’s not be naive, fake or in denial about this. And let’s certainly not be those moms who pretend to have it all so perfectly together. Motherhood can be tough. Sometimes we do feel our sense of worth being attacked. We do feel like we’re not doing the best we could be doing. But we can’t give in to that feeling! We can’t allow those lies to take control of our thoughts and eventually overtake our belief system and our identities.
What we can do is stand on the truth. God’s Word. Even if we don’t feel it. Even if we don’t believe it. We need to stand on who he says we are. We need to stand on the promises he has given us. We can’t allow our feelings or thoughts to dictate our circumstances. When we are in the middle of such pits our ability to see and think clearly (and positively) is so easily clouded by the lies. This is when we need to rise up inside ourselves and declare enough is enough.
Read the Word.
Declare the Word.
Speak God’s truth over who you are as a mother and who you are called to be.
On this side of my debacle, I can now read the words in the cute little MD card (that was penned by Gav but written from Hugo’s perspective) and faithfully and joyfully agree with them. I can feel the love and gratitude and my heart is in a place to receive it. It’s a nice little reminder that my role is significant and powerful. So here’s to a Crappy Mothers Day turning into a Happy Mother’s Day! Oh, and just to end the post on a positive note, we have rescheduled my MD to this coming Sunday…the real deal this time with breakfast in bed and a family picnic where Hugo can run around to his hearts content.
And I promise I won’t have any expectations ;)