Guest Post by Cecily Dickey Cecily blogs at The Grace to Grow. Cecily helps women to understand their purpose, live with intention, and to structure their lives to get the most out of their days.
At The Grace To Grow, Cecily’s goal is to help women grow in faith, health, joy, and grace in order kick fear to the curb. Cecily is a homeschooling mom of 3, wife to a teacher, worship leader, a business owner, and homesteader. Her days are always varied, always full, and if it’s a really good day… it ends with tacos.
How does Mother’s Day make you feel?
For my first few years as a mother, I found Mother’s Day to be incredibly stressful. It seemed like there was a lot of expectations and responsibilities on this day that were supposed to honor mothers… but, as a mother, I felt more stressed than blessed.
What do I mean?
What I found was that Mother’s Day was always overly packed.
We had to visit my mother-in-law, my mom, possibly the grandmothers, usually there was some sort of family get-together, and through all this, I was supposed to have some time to reflect on and enjoy my motherhood.
And I better never admit that I found the day more work than it was worth.
Does that sound familiar to you at all?
I was always left with a disappointed feeling at the end of Mother’s Day.
My Mother’s Day Confession
The best way I can paint a picture of my “feeling” is like this:
My daughter is turning 4 in a few days.
Any time she sees her brothers whispering together, or secretly running around the house, she turns to me and says that she’s sure her brothers are planning a birthday surprise for her. She’s sure that this surprise involves mermaids and tea parties, elaborate gifts and a beautifully decorated cake.
She talks about how they’re probably making her a crown, and how she’s going to be “kind of like Ariel, and kind of like Cinderella” at her party.
I listen to her patiently, with a hint of amusement. But more than amusement, I feel for her. Because I know the truth.
In reality, her brothers aren’t running around the house creating the kind of birthday celebration that could only be dreamed of in the mind of a 4-year-old girl… they’re playing spies.
So, her birthday will be here in a couple days, and I know that she’s expecting the bash of a lifetime. She’s expecting all sorts of gifts and adoration showered upon her.
Bless her little heart, there’s a good chance she’ll be mildly disappointed with her brothers' effort.
Here’s the unsettling truth that I discovered over the past couple years:
I’m as selfish as a “just about” 4-year-old-girl.
Apparently, I thought Mother’s Day was about me getting some sort of “pay back” for all the hard work I’ve poured into my kids and my family.
I expected to be served… and like my daughter, I expected to be showered with gifts and adoration.
Ew. I hate to admit that.
Don’t get me wrong. Motherhood is NOT easy.
It’s a constant sacrifice.
As moms, we get up early (after being constantly woken up through the night), we face laundry, snacks, 3-meals a day, toys littering our carefully decorated homes, we wipe butts, we scrub toilets, we do dishes, we organize papers and appointments, and activities…
It’s the job that NEVER stops.
And most of this? It may be seen (because it’s impossible to miss a full-grown woman buzzing around the house at warp speed), but it’s not necessarily understood.
It’s that very fact that has been so hard for me to swallow.
Nobody understands what I do for them. Nobody notices my exhaustion. Nobody offers to help… help has to be requested.
The Blessing of Motherhood
But is all of this a sacrifice? Or is it actually the greatest blessing a person could ever receive?
All of this serving that we do every day… it’s an incredible blessing. It means we have families.
Let’s be real. Should my very young children even understand at this point what I do for them? One day, absolutely. But today?
No. How could they possibly understand?
Me wanting my kids to understand the intricate and complex world of my feelings and emotions is, honestly, completely irrational.
Here's the truth- not just about Mother’s Day, but about Motherhood in general.
Yes, mothers should be recognized for all we do, but not to boost our ego one day of the year. Truthfully, every day of motherhood should be a celebration.
You are Doing Important Work
Each one of us was chosen to be a mother to future world changers.
You were hand picked by Providence to mother your children.
You are the one that will shape their character.
Every time you get to gently speak to your child is a chance to have an effect on their future.
Every time you listen attentively, you show them what kindness is.
Every time you read to them, you are investing in their heart.
Every time you believe in them and push them to do hard things through their fear, you’re showing them how strong they really are.
Every time you get to discipline your child (oh, those times are countless), you get the chance to show them what’s right and what’s wrong, and how to handle conflict.
Every meal you make gets to nourish the bodies of these children, who are a precious creation.
Every piece of laundry you fold is an act of love to the greatest gift you have ever been given.
Being a mother is more important than being recognized on one day a year for all we do.
You are on the ground floor of the development of a human being.
You get to be the steady, strong, kind, loving force that shapes your child into a young man or woman who works hard, loves hard, and fights for justice.
You, mama, are the key.
Every hand you hold, every tear you wipe, and every tear of your own that you cry, is part of something massive.
It’s hard to see in the every day tasks, but you’re building a future. You are shaping a leader. You… yes you, hold the most powerful position there is.
That’s the job of mom.
How To Enjoy Mother’s Day
So, this Mother’s Day, I encourage you to set your expectations low (while holding joy in your heart).
Especially set your expectations low if your kids are small.
I encouraged you not to be like the me I used to be, or like my sweet daughter, and we expected the world to bow to us on our special day.
Instead, go and love your mom, and your mother-in-law, and your grandmothers, and your husband, and your children. Fill yourself with gratitude and joy that day. If you have to serve, serve well, and serve with heart. Let that joy seep out of you as you bask in the blessing of motherhood.
Even if you don’t get a moment of peace...it's okay.
You are doing the hard things every day, and one day…
...your kids will have kids of their own.
Then, finally, they will understand what you did for them.
But they still won't need to “pay you back.”
You’ve received all the payment you need simply by being gifted with the role of "mother."
When our children are grown, we can take joy in realizing that our greatest challenge, and our greatest blessings (our kids!) now have their own greatest challenge and blessings (their own kids!).
And they know, and you know, that they couldn’t have done it without you.
And really… I know you wouldn’t trade any of this for anything.
Because neither would I.
Happy Mother’s Day,
From one mother to another.
Other great posts from The Grace To Grow:
The Refining Power of Motherhood
How to Manage Time Wisely: Spring Cleaning Your Life Series Part 2
The mission of The Grace To Grow is to help women boldly live lives of intention and purpose. We believe we should always be growing... growing in faith, growing in health, and growing in grace.