Sunday was Mother’s Day. My social media was filled with pictures of mothers and their children, comments of praise and thanksgiving for all the amazing women who’ve raised us. I posted my own, happy to join in. It really is a beautiful thing to see that love poured out. But if we’re not careful, those picture perfect posts become fertile ground for comparison and that, as they say, is the thief of Joy.
"...picture perfect posts become fertile ground for comparison; the thief of Joy."
I was judging my own self quite harshly on this special Sunday. Other Mothers seemed to have it all together but I saw the baking I hadn’t baked, the un-laundered laundry, and the scrapbooks entirely void of scrap booking. To top it off, neither of my two older boys would be coming to Church. Me and my daughter, which is lovely...but I had a sense of failure that it wouldn't be a family affair. I pictured all of the other families sitting in a row, everyone present and accounted for. I would be there without my whole crew, which somehow made me not a whole Mother.
"I saw the baking I hadn't baked, the un-laundered laundry and the scrapbooks entirely void of scrap booking."
The relentless self-judgement was almost enough to make me stay home. I’m honestly not sure what clicked to push me past my melancholy, but sometime between brushing my teeth and brushing my hair, I softened my criticism. My daughter and I put on our Sunday shine and happily headed out.
I’m so very glad we did! Halfway through the service, our Minister shared a sentiment that I had come there to hear. Affirmation of my decision to block those negative judgements. She held up some foam easter eggs (the church is still in the Easter season), and invited young and old to write down words that described the Mothers in their lives. Then she went on to say something that caused me to do that thing with your eyes; you know, where you open them unnaturally wide and lower your chin just a bit so you don’t drop a tear on your mascara. She said:
These eggs have a sparkly side and a plain side. The sparkly side is lovely and represents occasions like Mother’s Day; times where we shine and decorate our loved ones with praise. But the plain side is where we’re going to put our words. It’s where we direct our gratitude because all of the other, less sparkly days are the ones that really matter.
I have 364 days of the year that are also my day. My chance to be a good Mother, to be supportive and kind and hard-working and fun. To show my children that life is tough but wonderful, just like them.
"...the less sparkly days are the ones that really matter."
When we returned from Church, I did some housework. I sipped some tea. We played a board game and then enjoyed Chinese take out for supper.
My boys happily went to pick it up. :-)