So tomorrow is Mother's Day and Mother's Day for me is usually filled with family, dinner, school pictures and flowers. I am usually so excited for any sort of holiday, especially ones where I receive gifts. But, this Mother's Day, I seem to be struggling as a mother. Johnson and Johnson's came out with a commercial about a baby and what he would say to his mother if he could, it still makes me cry.
What parent out there actually feels like they are doing a good job? I'm not asking this question to be flippant, but to reflect upon myself because I never feel like I'm doing a good job. I find myself every day feeling less than who I should be. As a wife and mother, I have this sense of who I "should" be.
~For my Husband: I "should" be thin, fit and sexy with a libido that rivals any man's. My hair should always be lustrous and curled and my eyes always alluring with just the right amount of heavy mascara. Dinner is always well prepared and makes him moan with delight at each bite. The house should always be clean and smelling amazing so that at the drop of a hat people can pop in or we can decide to make love at any location in the house the moment the kids are out of sight.
~For my Girls: I "should" be home. Home to clean, do laundry, do dishes, help with homework or projects. Always have their beds made with clean sheets. Their rooms smelling like fresh laundry. Help them be prepared for every church activity/project/award/service/etc. Run them to friend's houses and back, to dance, piano, and soccer because we can afford it. A snack for them after school and a very well balanced dinner freshly prepared from my amazing coupon filled shopping trip where I saved enough money to take them to Disneyland. Oh, and a room mother.
~For my Job: I "should" be on time, looking amazingly professional, always remember everything I was taught, impressing, eager to be promoted, fill every second I am on the clock with job related activities that improve the company, willing to work extra hours and wear a smile.
~For my Church: I "should" be perfect and have enough time to serve in multiple callings.
~For Myself: I "should" be content, capable, and fulfilled with all of the above.
Now I know the details are all different for everyone, but I'm sure most of you will put yourself at the bottom of this list too. Slowly breaking under the weight of all the "should's" you should be doing.
For the most part, I really "want" to be able to do all of those "shoulds". I want to be able to do it all so my family will be at their full potential and so I can say I am a good mother. But I just can't do all that. I only do what I can and most of the time it's to the point of exhaustion because I tell myself it will be easier tomorrow if I just stay up a little later to finish all of the dishes tonight. But is that really "good enough"? Are pancakes for dinner because you forgot to plan dinner really good enough? Are early morning homework sessions because you ran out of time to sit down with your ten year old yesterday really good enough? Is a C in History for your thirteen year old because you didn't notice she was struggling until now really good enough? Is allowing your six year old to wear shorts and a sweater because you didn't do laundry again really good enough? Is asking to be on the bottom because you are so tired and you know it will be over faster really good enough? Honestly, is any of this really good enough?
I want to take you back to your childhood for just a moment. What do you remember? Do you remember the laundry? the dishes? Do you remember all those times you were late to dance class because your mom didn't get out of work in time? Do you remember how little money you had as a family so you didn't get the upgraded hotel package on your vacation? Do you remember only going to McDonald's once a month instead of every week? What do you honestly remember? Well for me, I remember how I felt. Certain events or every day livings are strong in my recollections, but what I remember the most is how I felt. I can't tell you what my parent's budget was, or how many times we could go out to eat, or any of the times I was late to something, or how many times my mom drove me from place to place, or how much my school clothes cost for tenth grade, or even who was at my graduation. I just don't remember those things. But I do remember how I felt when my sister and I would share a Coca-Cola from 7-Eleven. I do remember how much my dad loved fishing and how he made me feel so happy every time we fried up those rainbow trouts. I do remember feeling inadequate as a daughter in my mother's eyes. I do remember the feelings I had as a kid.
It has been difficult for me to not be able to give everything to my family. Everything I think they "should" get from me. But I devote all of my energy to making sure one thing is given to them every day. I make sure they feel loved. I'm not always successful at it, but I make sure they feel like I made those pancakes with pure love. I do everything I can to make my daughter feel like homework at 7:00 am is the best way to do homework. I make sure it's understood that a C in history is not how I measure the value of my daughter. I make sure my eclectic six year old feels like a supermodel in her green sweater and orange shorts with matching over sized crocheted headband she insists on wearing even though it's no longer winter. And I make sure my husband knows he rocks my world regardless of what position we are in.
I know I will never be rid of all the "shoulds" that hang over my head but at the end of the day, all I pray is that the love I show for them, the love they feel from me, will out weigh any expectation that comes along with the title of Mother. So I ask you this, Have you shared the Love today?