Hint: It’s not flowers, or chocolates, or a day at the spa!
Mother’s Day. The one day a year when we moms are officially recognized for working our fannies off to be “all things to all people.” The other 364 days a year we wear dozens of hats, from cook to maid to referee to vivacious romantic partner. But on Mother’s Day, we wear crowns, glowing at the cute homemade cards and graciously accepting the affection and gifts that are showered on us.
The problem is that by the end of the week the cute cards are crushed under an avalanche of junk mail and the flowers have wilted, but the stress of parenting is alive and well. One mom described her daily stress: “I feel like I’m a sponge, soaking up everyone’s tension.” How can we keep a peaceful heart and sense of worth on the days when we’re tempted to feel less like a queen and more like a kitchen maid?
Perhaps what you really need this Mother’s Day is something that fills your emotional and spiritual tank for the other 364 days a year: the knowledge that your child’s behavior is not your life’s report card. Although motherhood IS incredibly important and special, it does not define you. Your value as a person is based not on your parenting skills, but on God’s love for you and the unique purpose He has for your life. When the stresses of “real life” mothering start to creep up on you, remember the following truths:
1) I am deeply loved and cherished by God – no matter what, even in the midst of parenting insanity and failure. Experiencing God’s loving presence in the ups and downs of life with kids is a powerful resource for you. It helps you love your kids and others when your limited human emotional reserves are spent. It also anchors you in a big-picture perspective, so that your emotions are not a pinball ricocheting off your child’s every failure, outburst or sassy response.
2) There is an important purpose for my life, including but not limited to parenting my kids. Understand and embrace the wonderful, unique way you were created, and discover how you might utilize your God-given gifts in meaningful ways. “The place God calls me to is the place where my deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” – Frederick Beuchner
This Mother’s Day, amidst all the cards and gifts, take some time to care for your emotional and spiritual health. Instead of chocolate, ask for an inspiring book about exploring your purpose in life. Instead of a one-time spa day, plan a regular time slot each week to rest, read, reflect, journal, or maybe share laughter and encouragement with close friends. Not only will it help you hold onto your sense of worth, but it will also help you be a more patient, more grace-filled parent, allowing you (with God’s help) to take the pressure of perfection off of you and your kids.
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