It’s time we practice a little self-love and allow ourselves some forgiveness. I’m thinking there are pheromones released the moment a woman gives birth and the natural occurrence of mother-guilt is executed and it is with us for all our days. Maybe it’s just me but I remember crying at night after getting my kiddos to bed because I was afraid the only childhood memories they would have would be those of me wailing like a fish-wife (a course-mannered woman who is prone to shouting). No one on earth can fill us with love and pride to bursting and no one can break our hearts beyond what we once believed was humanly impossible to endure, like our children can. Their pain is our pain and their victories are our victories.
It doesn’t matter if we carried them in our womb or if they came from another’s. Motherhood is created through a multitude of circumstances. This day that is coming up is meant to be a day that champions all mothers. And while the greeting card companies paint rosy pictures of the epitome of motherhood, most of us, if we are honest, believe in our hearts and souls that we have fallen way short of the mark for achieving any mother of the year awards.
Let’s take this day and let go of the guilt we carry for taking a perfectly perfect little human child and messing it all up because, let’s face it, we didn’t have a clue what we were doing in the first place. Let’s just grant ourselves some amnesty for one measly day and say, “I forgive me” and pray that our kids forgive us too. Beyond that let’s be a little kinder to those mothers we have judged because to quote Oswald Chambers: there’s always at least one more thing we don’t know about someone. Maybe she was our own mother. Maybe someone in the car pool who doesn’t do as great a job as we do. Let’s think way outside the box and try to have a little grace for the mothers spending this day incarcerated. Mothers whose children are incarcerated. Mothers whose children have died. Little children and adult children who are just trying to get through their first or consecutive Mother’s Day without their moms. Mothers who gave their baby or babies to another mother. Mothers who are blaming themselves and carrying that wretched guilt because their children are facing the challenges of disorders, disease or addiction. Motherhood, no matter how we were claimed by it, is not for sissies. It is messy and hard and mean and glorious and UH-mazing.
I will leave you with an oldy but oh so goody by Erma Bombeck and hope that I haven’t broken too many copyright laws by posting it here. It is an abridged version of something she wrote way back when I was young called When God Created Mothers.
When the good Lord was creating mothers, He was into His sixth day of overtime when the angel appeared and said, “You’re doing a lot of fiddling around on this one.” And God said, “Have you read the specs on this order? She has to be completely washable. Have 180 moveable parts…all replaceable. Run on black coffee and leftovers. Have a lap that disappears when she stands up. A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair. And six pair of hands.”
The angel shook her head slowly and said, “Six pairs of hands…no way.” “It’s not the hands that are causing me problems,” God remarked, “it’s the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have. One pair that sees through closed doors. Another in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn’t but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he or she goofs up and say, ‘I understand, and I love you’ without so much as uttering a word. God went on to say “I’m so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick…can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger…and can get a nine-year-old to stand under a shower.”
The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly, “It’s too soft,” she sighed.
“But tough!” said God excitedly. “You can imagine what this mother can do or endure.”
“Can it think?” asked the angel.
“Not only can it think, but it can reason and compromise,” said the Creator.
Finally, the angel bent down and ran her finger across the cheek. “There’s a leak,” she pronounced. “I told You that You were trying to put too much into this model.”
“It’s not a leak, it’s a tear.” said The Lord.
“What’s it for?” asked the angel
“It’s for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride.”
“You are a genius,” said the angel.
Somberly God said, “I didn’t put it there.”
Happiest Mother’s Day to every single mother,