Thursday, May 11, 2017

Is Mother's Day for Me? Or is it for my Mom and Mother-in-Law? Who Gets Mother's Day??

"Is Mother's Day for me?  Or is it for my Mom and my Mother-in-Law?
This common question, often heard circling around neighborhood parks, Chick-fil-A play areas, and online forums is a definite hot button for most young moms.  Who actually gets Mother's Day?  Certainly my Mother-in-Law was celebrated in her day.  And I sure as heck know my mom got all the breakfast-in-bed she could handle when I was little.  So isn't Mother's Day finally mine??  Haven't I paid my dues?  I mean, I haven't washed my hair in 4 days or gotten a full nights sleep in 4 years.  For the love of all things holy, just give me a mere 24 hours!

Here's the deal.
You're right.  You should be celebrated.
So should she.

We are now in this Sisterhood... together.  I'm 12 years in, she's 38 years in.  She looks back on the good 'ol days... and I'm in the midst of living them.  Same journey, different stage.  They say you never stop being a mom.  Clearly, it changes.  But the undying, sacrificial, I'd stand in front of a train for you kind of love?  Never ends.

Now I don't know whether it matters which day you celebrate.  Saturday?  Sunday?  Next week?  There's not a one size fits all.  Just don't get so lost in yourself that you forget those who went before you.

So why, as a young mom to 4 young kids, do I feel so passionate about it?

Because this.

This is one of my favorite pictures of my mom (and sisters) and me a few years ago.  My mom... My best friend.  Type A.  Energetic.  Hilarious.  Life of the party.  My "first call."  My biggest cheerleader.  The ultimate in #momgoals.

And this is my mom and me on Mother's Day last year....

Shortly after turning 60 years young, a brain disease began to attack my mom's brain and her body.  At the time of this picture, she was unable to speak, barely able to walk, and was functioning at the equivalence of a 1 year old.

Almost 6 months to the day after this picture was taken, I sat by my mom's bed and watched my best friend take her last breath.  I cannot describe the excruciating pain of that moment.

What I wouldn't give to spend one more Mother's Day with her, lavishing her with my time and giving her more eskimo kisses.

So do I want to sleep in?  Desperately.  Do I want a day of pampering?  You better believe it.  But not under the banner of neglecting the ones who went before me.  The ones who mentored me and showed me.  Who cheer me on and fill in the gaps.  I don't regret one Mother's Day spent with my Mom and my Mother-in-Law.  Do I change a diaper on that day?  Nope.  Do I cut the kids food and take them potty?  Nope.  My husband still gives me a day off from "mom-ing" the regular stuff.  And then he schedules a spa day for me every year -  on a day shortly after Mother's Day... so I can get that much needed day off I so desire.   A day that's all mine.

But Mother's Day?  That day I gladly share.  Because you never know.  You never know how many more you have with yours.  And with his.  Life is precious.  Moms are precious.

So have your day.  But make sure they have theirs too.
Because us moms - All of us - are worth celebrating.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

What Every Mother Wants on Mother's Day...

"Give her the day off."
"Do something active as a family."
"Send her to the spa."
"Don't send her to the spa, it's too crowded on Mother's Day at the spa."

The messages are loud and clear.  No, I take that back. The messages are loud and seriously confusing.  Every article says something different.  Every blog has a different formula.  Just yesterday, I read a Facebook post that said, "Men, don't let your wife get off the couch on Mother's Day."  And directly underneath it was another Facebook post that said, "I find it seriously insulting that people think Mother's Day is about doing nothing.  I want to go on a rigorous hike with my kids on Mother's Day."  It's no wonder men approach this day with fear and trembling.  They don't know how to "win."  They want to win.  They do.  But every idea seems as good as the next and at the same time, as horrible as the next.  Helping the kids make a home cooked meal for your wife could be a huge win.  Or she could be irritated that there's now a mess in the kitchen.  Having the kids serve her breakfast in bed could really win her heart.  Or it could make her seriously frustrated that she didn't get to sleep in longer.

Men, do you want to know what every wife wants on Mother's Day?  I know I just said there is not a  one-size-fits-all formula for pleasing every mom.  But this?  I promise this is what we all want:

To be known.

That's it.  It's that simple.  Know her.  Like, really know her.  Be a student of your wife.  Know that your wife really wants to run a family 5K on Mother's Day.  Or that she wants to sleep until 11.  Know that she actually hates that big, fancy brunch and she'd rather eat a breakfast burrito from a yummy hole-in-the-wall joint.   Not every mom wants the same thing.  So know YOUR wife and love her how SHE desires to be loved.

And if you still don't know or can't figure it out?


Seriously.  Just ask.  Not in a, "Hey, so it's almost Mother's Day and I was wondering what you had planned?" kind of way.  But in a, "Hey babe, Mother's Day is almost here and I want that day to be a celebration of who you are and all you do.  I want you to feel loved and cared for.  How can the kids and I honor you best on that day?"  Ask it with love and with genuine interest.  I know it's only a few days away.  The lie you may believe is that it's too late.  It's not.

Now moms, this is where our role comes in.  If your husband asks you what you desire to do on Mother's Day, be gracious.  Take it as a sign that he cares.  Closing the gap between expectations and reality is a daunting journey.  If your husband is willing to make the effort to close that gap, then receive it as an act of love.  Don't belittle him for not knowing.  Your relationship is a journey and whether he has you figured out already or he is intentionally continuing to seek you out, it's beautiful.   It's all beautiful.

And Moms, in just 5 short weeks, we get the opportunity to return the favor on Father's Day.  So as this weekend unfolds, be gracious.  And thankful.  Seek to know and be known.  And if it all falls flat?  Choose grace.  :)

OK, one more thing.  I think this is important to clarify:   I understand that Mother's Day is supposed to be a day where Moms are celebrated by their CHILDREN.  Many dads get to Mother's Day feeling frustrated that any expectation is on them at all.  Some feel that their only job is to wish their own mom "Happy Mother's Day."  But the reality is, Dads bare the responsibility of teaching the kids how to celebrate mom well.  Dads get to teach and train and guide and direct.  "Hey kids!  Shhh!!! Let's be super duper quiet this morning so mom can sleep in! She works so hard caring for us, let's give her a day to rest."  or "Hey kids!  You know how mom loves to be active?  Let's plan an adventure for mommy together!"  Teach them what it looks like to be a student of someone and to love them in their love language.  You are raising future husbands and wives and mommies and daddies.  You are raising future best friends and bosses.  Celebrating WELL has become a lost art.  You get to help shape their hearts toward seeing the good in another human being and honoring who that person is in your life.   It's a life skill they will take with them the rest of their lives.  Lean in and enjoy the privilege of impacting the next generation!