How do you feel about Mother’s Day? Do you love it or hate it? Do you look forward to breakfast in bed and homemade cards, or do you see the day as one big reflection on your shortcomings and how your kids “deserve better than you”?
Mother’s Day can be a mix of emotions for most Moms. First, here’s a virtual hug to ALL you REAL MOMS that have good days and bad days. Perhaps these 5 tips can lead you to a more guilt-free Mother’s Day, more of what it was intended to be: an uplifting holiday honoring womanhood and motherhood.
1) Focus on the good you do!
Make a list of 5 things you are GOOD at as a mother. What makes your kids lucky to have YOU. Feel free to make the list longer :) When that’s done, list another 5 things that you enjoy about being a mother. No need to wait until Mother’s Day to do this…in fact, some of you may find it easiest to brainstorm this beforehand, so you have it to refer to when your emotions otherwise may dip.
2) Plan ahead to make the day as great as you want– A day off of cooking or planning or changing diapers can sound good to any mom. If it sounds good to you, and you are hoping that your husband will read your mind — stop right there…Men aren’t programmed to read our minds, and frankly nobody really is! If it’s important to you then communicate it.
Tell your husband what you are hoping for (while giving him room to honor his own mom). If you really don’t want to cook, for example, have the shopping already done so he has all the ingredients ready. Or if that’s not his style, make something ahead of time or plan a crock-pot meal so that you don’t have to spend the day in the kitchen. If you’re really hoping the kids will just get along and be happy for this one day, sit down and spend time with them — make Mother’s Day crafts, play games, pick dandelions, etc. The point is, if there something that you really want to happen that day, do your part to get it 🙂
3) Know you are not alone — Pause to remember that there is no ONE RIGHT way to parent. You are doing the best that you know how with the kids that you have. If someone else took your place, they would have struggles that you excel at. Do you remember your mom ever losing her patience, getting frustrated, or leaving the room? She probably went to her own room to cry, scream in a pillow, pray, or wonder what on earth she should do with you. This is part of parenting. This is part of mothering.
The truth is: you are the perfect mother: you have good days and bad days, you have strengths that others marvel at, and weaknesses that keep you human. And you have perfect kids: They are perfect at doing just what kids should do: having good days and bad days, temper tantrums and disgraceful behavior in public just to embarrass you, and moments of greatness that remind you that they aren’t little monsters. But this is what kids do! And your kids are perfect at it.
4) Focus on the other 364 Days —
Instead of focusing all your emotions on this one Happy Mother’s Day, look for happy mother days throughout the year. They happen unexpectedly, and are little rewards along the way for all your efforts. Chances are, this Sunday might just be the day that someone in your family decides to be grumpy. That happens. So don’t let this one day spoil all the other 364 days of your best efforts and theirs.
5) Focus on others —
Is Mother’s Day only about You or about the Mothers around you, too? Take some time to honor your own mom, your mother-in-law, and the other amazing mothers that surround you: friends, sisters, sister-in-laws, neighbors, etc. that inspire you in your own mothering efforts. Remember your children’s teachers at school, church, coaches, or other private lessons and how they help your children acheive greatness. Then find a way to acknowledge them:
- Call your Mom, and the other Moms in your life and tell them what you love and appreciate about them, and what inspires you to be a better mother yourself.
- Write them an email.
- Send a card to them that will brighten their day (See here for a tip on making a homemade card for super cheap).
- Take a bouquet of flowers, a card, or a treat to a single mom you know, or an elderly woman whose family is all grown.
So while your young children may be inclined to shower you with a homemade card and flowers picked from your neighbor’s garden (*yikes!*), spend your time uplifting and acknowledging others: As you take your thoughts and focus off yourself, you will feel your own load lightened and will have a happier day!