Should I talk about Mother's Day?
Mother's Day is hard. Because, the secret is, I don't think I'm a very good mother.
I mean, sure. I have my moments. Some days I am kind and patient and fun and encouraging. But more days I am tired and crabby. I snap and grumble and give of myself begrudgingly. I resent interruptions and neediness and the natural immaturity of childhood.
Participating in a day to celebrate mothers makes me feel a little bit like a fake. I have never been good at receiving compliments, but compliments that I know deep down are not true... that, I'm really not good at.
I wish I was a better mother. Better at balancing work and play. Better at calming instead of inciting. More generous. More patient. More wise. More than what I am.
On Mother's Day, I feel my lack. Really, really feel it. It seems like it should be called (Good) Mother's Day. Celebrated by all those who have SUCCEEDED at motherhood. Let's celebrate my mom! Yours too! They're awesome! But not me. I'm barely keeping my head above water. It feels like someone's trying to hand me a medal at the 3rd mile of the marathon. "I'm dying here, keep your stupid medal, give me some water or one of those weird gel packs instead. I'm never gonna make it to the end of this thing!"
It puts me, again, on my knees. Hoping that what I can give and who I am will be enough. That what I have will be sufficient for my children. Praying that Christ will fill in the gaps for them. That He will work a loaves & fishes kind of miracle with my meager efforts. That they will feel his love when mine falls short. His mercy when mine is lacking. His truth when mine rings hollow.
And I know that I'm not alone in these feelings. My closest (and more honest) friends lower their heads with me and whisper of their own feelings of shame and guilt. The riptides of insecurity and doubt that tug relentlessly at our ankles, threatening to tow us out to sea. That we look at our children and feel simultaneously overcome with love and with fear. That our own inadequacy looms so large sometimes that it blots out the light. That we LOVE being mothers, so how in the world are we so BAD at it?
Our inescapable weakness is the secret that we've buried under playdates and crafts and bravado and trips to the library and private lessons and bragging and bold magazine covers. (cough, Time, cough.)
So if you, like me, sit in the wake of Mother's Day feeling a more than a little overwhelmed, not only with the tasks that are waiting to be done, but with the children who need you so desperately; if your cup runneth over, not only with blessings, but with a nice fat dollop of guilt; if that Mother's Day nap you took yesterday feels like a barely a drop in your sleep-deficit bucket, then take heart.
Take heart first of all, that you are not alone. And, secondly, take heart in the knowledge that your weaknesses and failings and shortcomings may be the best gift you can give to your children.
Because, get THIS:
1 Corinthians 12: 9-10
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me... For when I am weak, then I am strong.
I've been finding a lot of heart in that lately. Hope you do too.
Oh, and Happy (belated) Mother's Day! To all the strong mothers, and us weak ones too.