I ordered Sam a gift for Father’s Day. I know he’s not my dad, but my kids stink at doing anything for Father’s Day or Mother’s Day, so I thought I’d pick up the slack for them just this once. Anyway, when it came, my daughter was convinced the box contained something for her and she talked him into opening it before I got home. So he found his gift already. Happy Father’s Day.
I know many moms want to spend Mother’s Day spending wonderful family time together, but my M-O has always been to spend Mother’s Day doing something away from my family. For years, I would leave them immediately after church and disappear for hours until dinner. Sometimes I’d go to a coffee shop to write. A few times I took a hike. Whatever I chose, it was always by myself: a smidge of the precious alone-time that fills my tank. Now that my tank has a little more in it than it did when I had littles, I like to spend Mother’s Day working on Labor and Delivery. It’s a chance to pay forward all the coaching and cheerleading I have received over my many years of being a mom.
One of my favorite parts of my work is helping new parents transition from life-as-adults into life-as-parents. It’s a very different task, and one that requires not just education, but a cheerleader. When I was a new mom in 2000, I was still using a camera with film (anyone else remember what that was?), and all the photos of my oldest child are either with him as a tiny speck far away, or really close up and really blurry. When I transitioned into part-time work in 2003 to spend more time at home, I discovered parenting blogs on the internet. There I found a community of parents who were struggling and were honest about it. Uploading photos to the internet was still a pain, so the pictures of messy houses and chaos were painted in words. Those stories of how hard parenting could be held me up through the next few really busy years as we moved to Colorado, had baby #3 and began to home school. Soon after that, I joined the ranks of (mostly) moms sharing stories of the good, the bad and the ugly online.
What I see now online lately is a new beast, one with perfectly curated photos and “influencers” who make everything look like it’s going to beautiful and easy if you only listen to this podcast or buy this pressure cooker or monthly subscription box they are advertising. What used to be a lifeline for me has turned into yet another place I can go to feel bad about yelling at my kids and having a messy house and weak abs.
So Happy Mother’s Day to you. May you find a safe place to cry if that’s what you need. May you have enough quiet to hear the truth that you can do this. It’s not going to be perfect, or even beautiful most of the time. But you are enough. You have what it takes, even if the neighbors might hear you yelling at your kids now that it’s warm enough to have the windows open, and your kids are more resilient than you know. I believe in you.
Happy Mother’s Day.