Why I dread Mother’s Day

I’ve written about Mother’s Day before.

I’ve written about being a mom – even about The Mother Curse.

But as the day gets closer and closer, I find myself in an odd state of mind. I feel like a fraud; like I’m on a treadmill that never quits. I’m trying to balance a scale that will forever be weighted on one side.

My sweet Engineer always teaches the kids by his example to love and respect me. He shows them by cleaning up the kitchen, cooking dinner, and the occasional load of laundry that those things aren’t just “mom” things but jobs he gets to do because he loves me.

For me, Mother’s Day isn’t about the outward things the kids do for me or give to me, or even say to me, but a week long introspection that almost always leaves me wanting to run crying to a corner.

For those of you who read my Facebook posts and comments, please know they are true and in the moment and I do my best to relay funny and hard not just the ones that make my parenting glow pretty… but this past week was ugly.

It is this week plus the countless other times that flood into my mind as Mother’s Day approaches.

The moments where I completely lose it over the stuff in the living room, the dirty laundry that somehow always migrates off their bodies to the floor and stays there as they get ready for school… even though I bust my rear to just keep Mt Laundry within reason. Just when I congratulate myself on an empty laundry room, I discover it has just blown itself all over the rest of the house.

I detest cleaning the house. Remember, I married Dutch. I am not the stereotypical Dutch woman who gets her energy on by cleaning up her house. Left to my own devices, I let things slide until I just can’t take it anymore. Then the impetus for cleaning hits. I like what it looks like when it’s done, but laundry and I are barely on speaking terms.

I figure, there’s toilet paper in the holder, soap in the dispenser, and no body fluids on the seat… bathroom’s great! My germophobe pops out when sickness is around so the kids make a game of who can clorox wipe as many lightswitches and doorknobs in the house in 20 minutes. But other than that, if it ain’t broke (or in this case, completely gross) don’t fix it.

The worst part is when I lecture certain individuals on controlling their responses… yeah. I can almost hear their little minds accusing, “But you don’t.” Wait. Nope that’s not the worst part.

The WORST part is when your sensitive child comes to you to be honest about something they did.  When you smile and say it’s okay, they burst into tears because they’d been expecting “the wrath of Mommy”. With my arms around the child, my heart sinks and a knife twists.

These moments and more pound my mind and heart. Yes. I know and have experienced the amazing power of Grace. But Mother’s Day feels like another day to remember just how badly I screw up motherhood. Trying to outweigh the moments of “bad mom” with the fun of “good mom” won’t ever happen.

Grace is what I lean on and what I must wrap my mind in… however what usually douses my mind is that poison of perfection. Comparison and ungratefulness.

I love the idea of taking a day to specifically honor the women who have chosen to pour into our lives. Especially since most of us have a woman who isn’t our blood mother who has poured her soul into our spiritual journey. Mine happens to also have my name. I cannot thank God for her enough.

In fact, it is her example that I lean on when Grace seems too costly for me to accept.

She has told me so often that the stuff she thought was most important then isn’t really at all. The time spent laughing together as a family, talking around the table at dinner, listening to each child express themselves and their ideas… that time spent is never wasted. And when you realize you’ve messed up, you seek forgiveness and know that God uses even the broken stuff. She and I have disagreed many times in the past 12 years, but I know beyond any momentary irritation – our relationship is solid.

I love that she is so open about her relationship with her husband. No false reality! Just because the kids are out of the house, marriage still takes intentional persistence. No magic stage of life. 🙂  She knows the power of prayer and uses it on behalf of her children and grandchildren.

She gave me her firstborn son without any strings attached. She let me be the woman in his life while she stepped back. She pours into the lives of our children every moment she can – whether it’s being silly spraying them with the hose or asking them how they are obeying God in their lives.

It’s pretty obvious physically I’m not her biological daughter, but my heart says otherwise.

So, when Mother’s Day becomes a condemning list of things I never get right… I listen to her wisdom and accept Grace.

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