20 May 2013

Entitlement will kick contentment in the shins. Every time.

Contentment is a delicate bubble, isn’t it?






We sit out on her back porch watching the kids play with soapy bubbles and the playground blinking through the trees in the background. It’s my favorite time of day, the sun waning and hints of fireflies flirting with the coming dusk. We’ve done all the baseball games and church activities and washed up the lunch dishes. There were afternoon naps and fresh tulips in a clear vase on the dining room table we’ve had since our first apartment on Rosemary Lane in South Bend.

But now me and her sit out with the kids and the bubbles, barefoot, in the late afternoon and talk about this strange riddle of being content with where we’re at.

I love her, this friend of mine who called three times in a row on Sunday and left me voice messages that had me packing the kids up and over to her place by 5:30 because when real life friends need to talk, you need to go. Even with the messy hair and the no make up and the maybe sweaty pits left over from a weekend of kid wrangling that’s left you all wrung out.

We talk about being mothers.

We talk about the expectations that sometimes whisper sneaky sneaky, “If you’re not doing motherhood like this, or like that, or this other way, then you’re doing it wrong.”

Not to mention the stains in the carpets and the fact that boys can be down to their last pair of underpants, again, if a mom isn’t paying attention.

She has all these bats and balls and Dollar Store treasures that didn’t get played with this weekend and our kids discover them with whoops and curiosity and the back yard blossoms joy.




We sit in the green chairs and talk between cleaning up soap and spills and washing out eyes that came into contact with bubbles. We talk about church and worship and leadership and marriage and mothering. The kind of conversation that is the stuff of building friendships that can go the distance.

And then before we know it we’re talking about that day last week, the one with all the built in, pre-packaged expectations.

Mother’s Day disappointed us both.

It’s a relief to say it out loud under cover of laughing boys and spilled popcorn and bubbles bursting off everything. Funny how few secrets there really are. Because there’s always someone who will listen to the parts of your story that scare or hurt the most and say, “yes, me too.”

I heard it on a late Sunday afternoon and on Facebook and over phone calls. How this one day can’t possibly live up to what it means to mother. How 24 hours can’t possibly hold the measure of a lifetime of laying oneself low for the loving and raising and wrangling of tiny humans.

Why do we think it will?

But we do. We expect.

We expect so big and so hard and with so much pre-programming that we don’t know how to turn the expectations off.

We expect and the expecting is high and impossible until it blossoms into full blown entitlement. And entitlement? Entitlement is a very slippery thing.

Entitlement believes that we know best, deserve the best, and resents the rest who don’t deliver.

Entitlement takes the sacrifice of motherhood and spins it in dizzying, disorienting circles.

Motherhood bends. Entitlement demands.

Motherhood serves. Entitlement stomps its foot.

Motherhood delights. Entitlement keeps lists.

Motherhood laughs. Entitlement whines.

Motherhood celebrates. Entitlement sulks.

Motherhood forgets itself in favor of remembering her dimple, his fastest mile, their mouths all ringed around with chocolate.

Entitlement tastes bitterness in every bite of a day that doesn’t go as planned.

And the grand irony of a day devoted to remembering mothers is that it can make me forget how content I am in this skin. Because I am not the sum total of breakfast in bed or empty dishwashers. I am not defined by how tidy the playroom is or who remembered to make me a thoughtful card.

What I believe, what I’ve learned, what I’ve earned through all those sleepless nights, all those miles of carpet walked, all those parent-teacher conferences and cold meals and ruined clothes is that the gift of motherhood, the art of this beautiful, terribly holy work is to find a way through to forgetting myself in favor of someone else.

The holy of motherhood is how it teaches me to lose myself, to let go of Lisa-Jo and surrender myself in an act of rebirth that only a God who wants to help me uncurl my desperate white knuckles from around what I think I’m entitled to could envision.

It’s been a hard battle to hold onto my contentment. In this small, rental house with these sometimes drive-me-crazy kids.

I mother in my DNA. I mother because I’m called to it. I mother because it’s a gift. I mother because God trusted me. I mother because I can’t not. Over and through and under and around the unappreciated days, I mother on.



Hands open to the delicate, shimmery, every day beautiful chaos.

That is always and only a gift.

And you? Did Mother’s Day disappoint or come through? I’m so interested in how many of us harbor secret expectations that seem to disappoint. Or maybe I’m the only one?


{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    You are not alone. My kids were wonderful. They made me breakfast in bed without Daddy here because he was out of town having spent the weekend in Tuscon at a resort because he had business there on Friday and couldn’t fly out till early Sunday morning, which meant he didn’t get home till Sunday evening, and he was exhausted. But back to breakfast in bed, I had pre-planned the night before and had “easy food” ready because I knew my older 3 would still want to do this. So they come singing in my room early Sunday morning with smiles and loud exuberance, waking up the baby who I’d just gotten back to sleep in her bassinet beside me. And as my sleepy, tired body wanted to groan, I mustered up the strength and grace to smile through at their enthusiasm and love. And we really had a nice day at my mom’s with my sister and her family. But I must admit, that I’ve wrestled with resentment that my husband was gone and didn’t get home till the whole thing was already done and put to bed. And I guiltily remind myself of the single momma’s who don’t have a husband to come home at all, ask forgiveness for my discontent and resentment and say thanks for a husband who works hard for us and the 4 beautiful kids who call me mom loudly and early.

    • 2
      Lisa-Jo says:

      This got my eyes welling up. Thank you for sharing. It’s so good to know many moms wrestle with this day and what we expect from it and how there’s no time frame or decibel level we can restrain those calls of “mom” to, is there?

  2. 3

    Oh no friend – you are not the only one. Mother’s day came and with it came time with my family, my mother and brothers and sisters. A big affair, a big event, a lovely meal – and what I wanted most was a moment of quiet – a moment of just me and my couch (normally I would say garden however, it snowed on Mother’s day in Ontario: the weather didn’t even meet my expectations) a coffee and my book. And it’s hard, sometimes, I often feel like on the one day that is meant to honour you, you’re being pulled by the strings of other’s expectations – And now I’m reading this back and feeling somewhat whiny. And trying to find that balance of laying low to the task of mothering while trying to capture healing, renewing moments for yourself? It’s hard – really hard. But then I read words like yours and others and I feel God still the weary of my heart and whisper strength into my tired. A reminder of who my confident expectation is – Him and Him alone. Thank you Lisa-Jo – thank you from the bottom of my heart for bringing brave here today.

    • 4
      Lisa-Jo says:

      So many friends I talked to say they just wished for time alone. Interesting isn’t it? How being surrounded it what makes the name, mother, but being alone is what restores.

      • 5

        …and yet, being “alone” on that day for so many women like myself who never had the gift of children (and/or no longer have our own mothers, either) can be so hard as well. Maybe
        all of us finding ways to be “restorers” to the hurting on days like this would be the most soul refreshing of all.

        • 6

          It truly is a day of sadness. My longing for children never happened and my mom has been gone for over twenty years. Women my age are enjoying their children and their grand children. I realize that mother’s do need a day of celebration for all they do. Why can’t their be a day for “aunts”. I, however, did have the most wonderful Christian mother a daughter could ask for.

  3. 8

    Geez, there is such beauty in your storytelling. Life-telling, really. It strikes a chord with me, and I know, so many. Thank you.

  4. 9

    You are not alone. My kids were wonderful. They made me breakfast in bed without Daddy here because he was out of town having spent the weekend in Tuscon because he had business there on Friday and couldn’t fly out till early Sunday morning, which meant he didn’t get home till Sunday evening, and he was exhausted. But back to breakfast in bed, I had pre-planned the night before and had “easy food” ready because I knew my older 3 would still want to do this. So they come singing in my room early Sunday morning with smiles and loud exuberance, waking up the baby who I’d just gotten back to sleep in her bassinet beside me. And as my sleepy, tired body wanted to groan, I mustered up the strength and grace to smile through at their enthusiasm and love. And we really had a nice day at my mom’s with my sister and her family. But I must admit, that I’ve wrestled with resentment that my husband was gone and didn’t get home till the whole thing was already done and put to bed. And I guiltily remind myself of the single momma’s who don’t have a husband to come home at all, ask forgiveness for my discontent and resentment and say thanks for a husband who works hard for us and the 4 beautiful kids who call me mom loudly and early.

    And though I sound like it up above, I’m really not bitter, but sometimes the timing of life’s circumstances stings. And it’s then I need grace to not let that sting change my gratitude for all of life’s blessings.

    Thank you for the reminder, Lisa Jo!

  5. 10

    I found myself disappointed, and then immediately had to make a redirect.
    Philippians 4:8 says,
    “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

  6. 11

    Oh, My…I think I’ve cried every Mother’s Day, and I’ve had 12. I cry because it’s not that I expect something grand, it’s because I am lavished with homemade goodness and kind words and I wrestle with expecting myself to be a better mama, so that I am worthy of their gifts. Crazy I know. Maybe it’s an identity in Christ issue at the core??? Don’t know! But I love your honesty and your willingness to put yourself out there. Thank you!

  7. 12

    I wrote about expectations on Mother’s Day too. It is so easy to get caught up in what it’s “supposed” to look like and miss the gratitude that is right in front of us, just because it’s not in a box or a vase.

  8. 13

    You nailed it! My best friend and I had the same conversation last week. She first, with that tentative – “so, uh…how was Mother’s Day?”, us both feeling eachother out until the truth came tumbling out. Clinging to contentment is hard enough without expectations getting in the way!

  9. 14

    Beautiful soap bubbles, our expectations; watch them float and shine from a distance grab them and they pop!

    All I wanted was to get my free coffee at the coffee shop and I had the car that day so I did that! It meant taking my youngest son and my brother with me and I paid for their coffee happily. My brother asked what I wanted to do and I replied that I didn’t think I should have to cook dinner so.. order pizza? Okay! After dropping the boy at his friend’s house we did a lot! Drove down the Coastal Trail with stops to walk along the lake and look at a house the construction company he works for worked on, get fast food, watch a movie and eat too much popcorn… tease each other and laugh, and talk.. a lot. It was a good day. It’s easy to exceed your expectations if you start with a few small soap bubbles and wait to see what our Great Multiplier of loaves and fishes does with them. :)
    Not that I do that every time but it went well this once!

  10. 16

    I started to write a post like this, but it came out sounding bitter. And that’s NOT what I feel. And I don’t feel ripped off. But I feel something. Yes, disappointment — but maybe because I didn’t ASK for what I wanted clearly enough. As if they SHOULD read my mind or something. So, it’s no wonder I’m disappointed. Because I’ve never been a very good asker. I think I have to try asking for what I want. If it doesn’t work then? Heads will roll. ;)

  11. 17

    Beautiful post. Mother’s Day was actually not bad this year. My husband was not here…he has already relocated to take a new job and my son and I follow him when he finishes school this month. I spent the day with one of my best friends. I’ve learned not to get my expectations up for events and holidays. I appreciate them for what they are. I did seem to think and miss my mom a lot more this year…maybe because there are so many unknowns looming in my family’s future.

  12. 18

    We have never done Mother’s Day. Mostly because we just don’t celebrate holidays on a Sunday–not even birthdays. Now birthdays just get celebrated on another day, but celebrating Mother’s Day on another day just doesn’t work. But I have to say that even though I agree with this practice, the longing to be recognized for what I do is still there, and is often disappointed when I start feeling like I slave and slave, and get no return–ah the entitlement feeling.

    I’m beginning to realize that attitude and perspective is really what counts, and in the end, the real reason we are doing this mothering thing is because the Lord put us in this position. Who are we to say we need recognition?

    Thanks for putting this into words.

  13. 19

    YES! This. This exactly, Lisa-Jo.

    I’m older than you ::cough:: so it’s taken me a while to figure this one out, but truly: expectations and comparisons are the killers of joy and contentment. It’s tough, because sometimes you don’t realize you even have built-in expectations until they aren’t met, and it’s only afterwards that you can do the hard work of pulling those weeds and planting fresh hopes and outlooks. But the renewed scenery is worth it, for everyone.

    I wrote this last week, about Mother’s Day: “The allure of holidays fade when they start to collapse under their own weight, and so often, my favorite days are the ordinary ones filled with sunshine and laughter and smoothies and late bedtimes.” The best part about that? Everyday can be Mother’s Day.

    • 20
      Lisa-Jo says:

      Oh I love that excerpt. So true. This weekend we had an amazing Sunday and there was nothing remarkable about it. Except it was the ordinary story of us and we loved it for what it was, not what we expected it to be.

  14. 21

    The tough thing about these celebrations is that marketing shows you how it should be. Flowers, and gifts, and breakfast in bed, and absolute adoration. Blah blah blah. An social sites flood like a mighty river with pictures after pictures of what each woman got from their husbands and children and it all looks so perfect and it’s sad. It’s so sad that women seek some kind of worth in that. For a moment I had my share of disappointment. I had to be at church at 7 am to do worship for all 3 church services. Which means I was up at 4:30 am to shower and get ready. There was no breakfast in bed. There were no flowers. There were definitely no gifts. We are living paycheck to paycheck, so there were no resources for extras like this. And I sensed the bitterness welling up inside of me. But then I thought of the mamas with babies battling cancer, of the mamas who lost a child. And imagine what they want for Mother’s Day . . . Just to see their baby healthy and happy, just to hold their baby again.

    That is ALL they want.

    Thank you for writing this. I’ve learned to not get lost in the hype of what it should be. Motherhood is hard work and its so worth it. And as long as I can enjoy my children, that’s all that matters. I don’t need some day to validate me. Because my husband and children already do on a regular basis.

  15. 22

    I’m sure no Mother’s Day will top my 1st Mother’s Day. I had no expectations, and I felt completely loved by the simple ways my husband served me that day. When he asked what I wanted to do this year (our kids are still young), I said “just do what you did that first year.”

    He didn’t. But that’s okay. It wouldn’t have been as wonderful anyway. Instead, I focused on celebrating my own mom. And my newborn nephew’s mom.

  16. 23

    Truly, my Mother’s Day, was like every other day in every way. And I guess that’s what being a mom is all about. Jesus sacrificed for me, and now I sacrifice for others…. Sometimes I get myself into a temper tantrum of entitlement, but more and more I have come to accept that I would rather keep moving forward in this high calling than turn back around. And even now I am beginning to see the fruit of my labor… Praise God!

    Thank you for your encouragement and inspiration. You have a gift of speaking what is in my heart and I do not have words to express.

  17. 24
    Val Hodges says:

    OMG! I can’t believe you said that Mother’s Day was a disappointment. Hearing those words was such a RELEASE!!!! Thank you! Thank you for saying what I felt. Thank you for making me feel like I’m okay & not the most terrible of terrible because I felt that too. I wish I could erase that marker on my calendar and just go on with life year after year without having that to “celebrate” as the world calls it. Because being a single momma of 3 kids there really isn’t much “celebrating” to be done. But I smiled my smile at my handmade cards & hung up my colored windsocks on the porch that were made in scouts & I hugged necks & thanked them with big kisses & went back to doing the dishes. Thank you so much!

    • 25
      Lisa-Jo says:

      I felt the exact same way when I heard from other friends and family that they struggled with the day too. And God bless school teachers and scout masters for always coming through with the home made gifts, eh? :)

  18. 26

    Thanks for putting into words how so many Moms feel. Mother’s Day for me was just OK. Our church had a local coffee shop set up a tent outside to give free cups of coffee to the Mamas, which was nice. Then after lunch we went to Carowinds (an amusement park) and spent most of the day, and that was fun. My youngest child was a little on the cranky side and it could have ended up a bad situation, but we worked it out. Then my choice for dinner (Outback) had a humongous waiting list and we didn’t have time to wait, so we had dinner at Waffle House. That was a true act of love from my husband because he detests the WH while I love it. It doesn’t help that I have two children with birthdays in May because Mother’s Day gets a little rushed in the middle of birthday celebrations. And yes, one of the best gifts they could give me is time alone, which is a rare occurrence for me.

    I have learned in my years of celebrating Mother’s Day (I’ve been the honoree for 25 of them) is not to expect too much from people. We’re all human and we can’t read each other’s minds. The advertising industry tries to tell us what Mother’s Day is supposed to look like but who says they get the last word? Mother’s Day is one day out of the year, one day in my adventure of motherhood, and it’s a lot of pressure to expect my kids and husband to cooperate with me and each other to pull off a Hallmark-worthy holiday. I’m a mother EVERY day. Some days life doesn’t go according to plan, some days are smooth sailing, and then there are the days that sparkle like diamonds. I’ll take those no matter what date shows on the calendar and count myself blessed!

    • 27
      Lisa-Jo says:

      Our church actually did their annual state of the church meeting on Mother’s Day and forgot to distribute flowers :) It was classic.

  19. 28
    Elizabeth says:

    Thanks Lisa Jo for daring to say what so many think and feel guilty for it. I did have a really special Mother’s Day this year, but I know exactly what you are talking about. I have had quite a few hard Mother’s Days over the almost 12 years I’ve been a mom. My husband goes out of his way to make it special for me, but where there are little kids involved, no plan goes as planned and mom will be needed a lot to be sure. I often ended up feeling sorry for him having tried so hard, but seeing how little resting I was getting anyway. It is ironic how often the baby has an extra fussy day or toddlers seem extra demanding or mischievous on this day. There were years I thought it was the worst day of the year!

    This year was different for a few reasons. The most obvious is that my baby is three we were able to actually have a big family outing that went well, and nobody woke me up in the middle of the night. It was quite a feeling to realize that we actually got to this stage! We are in the easy stage of parenting and enjoying its freedoms, between the babies and the teens. I am determined to enjoy them all, but this is a really special season for us as a family. The other thing that makes a difference for Mother’s Day now is that I have decided to plan ahead and make it a celebration of being a mother to these wonderful kids. I read years ago about a mom who took her kids shopping on Mother’s Day and bought them all gifts and it changed my whole perspective about this day. Instead of giving my kids the idea that I need a break from them on this day cause they’re so hard to work with, I want to show them how thankful I am that I am a mother because of them! I bought gifts for them, and planned a very fun day for us to enjoy as a family together which included a 15 mile bike ride and take out International food. In this way, I have taken control of what is mine to control and it set my mood completely on giving instead of receiving. We all had so much fun and I had none of those temptations to feel like I’m missing out since we were doing exactly what I wanted to be doing–celebrating the kids and giving them a memorable day! The special touches from my good husband and sweet kids were a complete bonus.

    I truly need time in perfect quiet and I arrange for these times to happen periodically.They are so important to keep me thriving as a mom, but I’ve decided Mother’s Day is not the day to wait around hoping they will happen. I also think communicating openly to our husbands beforehand can be a big help. Many times they want to make it special for us us but aren’t sure which of the many things these emotional creatures need most today. We can be rather confusing, you know. Most men would be relieved to know that two hours of quiet, or a chance to sleep in, or a particular gift, or a meal he handles, would make you perfectly happy! Men can feel it when we aren’t quite satisfied but it must be quite hard to guess what the problem is. If all you wanted is a nap, and instead you got a bouquet of flowers, an adventurous outing, and extra good sex, chances are you will feel disappointed and the problem wasn’t really your attitude or an insensitive man, just a need to say what you’d like. Lowering expectations, being very clear with a request, and then being perfectly happy all day would do a lot to make this a day the whole family enjoys. For the most part, we tossed out most of what is considered the “normal” things to do for mom on Mother’s Day. What I like is just so different that what is considered “normal” ! :-) Just a few discoveries I’m making through trial and error.

    • 29
      Lisa-Jo says:

      Well what a great idea, “Instead of giving my kids the idea that I need a break from them on this day cause they’re so hard to work with, I want to show them how thankful I am that I am a mother because of them!” You’ve given me some good food for thought here. Thanks for this example.

  20. 30

    This Mothers Day was a real disappointment to me this year and I totally felt entitled to all sorts of wonderful things that did not happen when in reality the adoption of my son whih made me a mother should be the wonderful thing I cling to. But temper tantrums, potty training and a constant chaotic house leaves me uncontented and gasping for air and I lose myself in the content and find myself in “if only land”. Thank you for this post that so adequately describes all of my emotions for the past week.

  21. 31

    Long ago when I was first married, I discovered that Mother’s Day was not for me, it was for the “Mothers” and somehow in the family structure that I was in, just having kids did not make me a MOTHER. Mother’s Day was about the expectations of my husband’s family that it was his mother’s Mother’s Day. There was the expectation of presents, visits, being treated with much more respect than she gave. The gift I got from it?
    The Lord taught me that Mother’s Day happens every day that you are a mother, from the eskimo kisses, to the hand drawn notes, to the emotion roller coaster that my kids were on in adolescence, to the days that my children were married. Each day was Mother’s Day for me.
    So when it comes around, I have no expectations, except that I will see each one of my kids and grandkids for a moment in time- even if it’s face time on the iPad. That’s my entitlement- just to see their sweet faces and give the ones who come over a big hug and a thank you for making me a mom.

  22. 32

    My Mother’s Day was not a disappointment. Did it live up to my expectations which were set too high and perfect? Yes…but it did not disappoint. My husband made me his wonderful french toast for breakfast and my 2 year old son didn’t know it was any day more special than the one before. He was fussy as we headed to church and clung to me all through his class. He wanted his Mommy in that room full of too many other Mommies and kids trying to craft something from their little inexperienced hands. I cherished what was made though. I wanted to go home and relax but the van needed some work done to it that my handy hubby devoted his afternoon to and I stayed outside with him “helping” while our son napped. The weather was gorgeous and breezy and I so appreciated that my husband was willing to fix my mama-ride for me rather than do anything else. He shows me in little ways how much he appreciates me and what I do for our family. Sure, he forgot to buy a card and gave me a handful of cash to go get a pedicure (which I have to schedule myself LOL). But now I can pick an evening to relax and the card would probably just have sat around until I found a place to file it with all the rest.

  23. 33

    I love how you said- Real life friends need to talk. I needed this today.

  24. 34

    Such a fantastic post, Lisa-Jo!!! God has been teaching me to let go of the death grip of expectations for years now- ever since the Christmas when I was in college and I CRIED, because my gifts included a potato peeler and window decorations. I realized how selfish I was being and that I needed to grow up. Letting go of expectations is hard work, but it has been such a blessing. My mother’s day was perfect as a result- because I didn’t expect anything- especially since I had just given birth to a precious baby girl 5 days prior- THAT was gift enough!
    But my husband bought me a card and a bag of Milky Ways and my kids made flower vases filled with carnations. Life is soooo much better when I seek contentment and recognize entitlement for what it is! Thank you, sweet sister!

  25. 35
    Sue Cornell says:

    I loved reading this as I had the worst Mother’s Day ever this year. I am a parent of a 15 year boy with many special needs and a 12 year old boy. I woke up on Mother’s day and nobody wished me a Happy Mother’s Day everyone was just doing their own thing. Because my oldest has extreme behavior problems as our day got going he was being very defiant and was mad at every thing I asked him to do. By the end of the he had had 5 meltdowns that lasted 45 minutes each. In my mind I was so upset and cried most of the day because I found myself thinking it is Mother’s day shouldn’t the kids be very well behaved. But it is just a Sunday in May where we pay tribute to our Mothers. For my son it was another Sunday and his disability is not programmed to stop just because it is Mother’s Day. I myself ruined the day for me but expecting this from my child. So after thinking about it the next day it was not any different last year or the year before. So in our house we are no longer going to emphasize these hallmark holidays and just enjoy everyday with our children.

  26. 36

    I love this so! The honesty and beauty and the sheer truth of it all! I could say more (as always) but it isn’t necessary! It would all just echo this.. and this: I love you, my friend!

  27. 37

    You are spot on with your assessment of entitlement. It can eat away at any joy, contentment or happiness you have cultivated in your life.

    I feel slightly guilty saying this, but here goes:
    My hubbie and I spent Mother’s Day helping our pregnant daughter & her hubbie move into their very first home. My first choice of how to spend any day? Nope. I’m just not a fan of lugging boxes. :-) However, I am so grateful our relationship is strong so we can help them, that they are so grateful, that my mom & my husband’s mom were grateful we were able to help the kids, and that there was no issue because we weren’t visiting our moms. My hubbie and I aren’t big fans of Mother’s, Father’s or Valentine’s Day, and instead take opportunities to appreciate throughout the year.

  28. 38

    I actually posted on FB at the end of Mother’s Day that I spent the day being their mother, and that was fine with me. My husband works every wknd, so there was no breakfast in bed, no special plans, no trips to a winery or outdoor picnics like I kept seeing other mommas post about on my feed. I got up, made them breakfast, worked on laundry, played with them, cleaned the house, took care of the pets, worked, worked, worked. But they all got along pretty well, which was nice, even if I did have to remind them several times – “no fighting on mother’s day!” lol. Dh ran home on his lunch break and they gave me a new rose bush and some cards, mostly homemade, before rushing back to work. My oldest forgot his card he made for me at school and spent some time making me a new one on construction paper bc he felt bad for leaving the other one in his desk. I realize that most single moms don’t even get those 20 min of “Here’s something for your garden and a card,” and that for them, just like it was for me, Mother’s Day is mostly just another day. I felt a little cheated for a bit, looking at everyone else’s beautiful, planned days, but not very long. I got to spend the day with them, and we were productive, and mostly we all used our kind words, and that’s a good day for me by any measure. I don’t need a dozen overpriced roses. I will plant that $12 rose bush and look at it all summer, and it will remind me of their love long after the cut flowers would have wilted. Mother’s Day getaways and fancy affairs always remind me a bit of people who regularly vacation without their children. Now and again, ok, but I want to be with my kids on my special days. That’s why I had them – So I can enjoy them!

  29. 39

    Ah well, this Mother’s day was particularly hard for me because this year was the hardest year for me as a mother yet. I feel unworthy of the celebration, of the day. Yet, I deeply want to be honored –like the bible says “her children will rise and call her blessed”–it is a deep, sincere desire of mine that I would be such a godly mother, that this would be a natural thing in our relationship and that God will get the glory, that there will be a legacy left for my future grandchildren that now lie in my daughters’ wombs. It is always a mixture of emotion for me, but this year was very hard. I have had a difficult time loving myself, believing I’m loveable, so I wrote a post about it called In Which I Tell You That You Are Amazing On Mother’s Day {because you need to believe it}.

    I have a wonderful gift of a 12 year old daughter, and I never said I better have breakfast in bed, or a card, (they did both on my birthday just days before) but she asked her daddy to get a card, and she and her sisters gathered a lovely bouquet of wildflowers from our backyard, wrapped it with pretty ribbon and placed in a vase with a sweet little card attached that read “You are the best mom in the world–what could we do without you? We love you.” And that’s all I need to know, all I ever wanted, to know that even though I screw it up, that they need me, that they couldn’t imagine this life without me. I love them so much. I had a wonderful two-hour long nap, and my husband grilled steaks out back and we all ate together. Just the six of us and it was quiet and sacred and felt right. The only problem entered into the scene when I stomped around, saying I had a headache and it was Mother’s day and why was I expected to do so much? (when I was called upon). I read Sarah Bessey’s post on this, and thought she was brave to admit it. It’s freeing isn’t it, to admit we stomp around and behave a bit like children at times, right? Thank you, Lisa-Jo, for leading us to the Savior, who is our All, and Who is the only one who leads us to repentance and peace and joy, in lieu of stomping. Love to you…..


  30. 40
    HappySingleMomma says:

    I also had expectations for this mother’s day, but they were expectations of not receiving anything wrapped with a bow or in a package. I expected the only mother’s day gift I would receive is the little buddle of little girl joy that I get to call my daughter. I was wrong. I am a florist so I have no expectations to receive a delivery of flowers or anything the like but the Thursday before the big day as my store is bustling with activity, my staff came to me and told me I had a delivery. I looked at them confused. What do you mean? All of our deliveries for product that day had already come in. And then they said “No, YOU have a delivery.” I went out front to find a gorgeous edible arrangement with a balloon, with a card that said “Happy Mother’s Day to the Sweetest Mom in the World”. Now as much as I would like to think it was from my 1 year old daugher, I knew it wasn’t possible. This thought made me cry. Someone took the time to make sure I felt appreciated. The silly thing is that the basket of goodies was gone by days end but the sentiment will last me a lifetime. And truly it is the sentiment is when I expect I am always disappointed and entitled and when I don’t expect that is when I truly am able to appreciate and be contented. Thank you for the post!

  31. 42

    Reading this brought tears to my eyes. Mother’s Day is the only holiday that I truly dislike. Sitting in church, listening to people give talks about how wonderful their mothers are/were usually leaves me feeling like I want to spend the day hiding in my closet with my secret stash of chocolates (I know that none of the mothers that they talk about in church have secret stashes). I am usually very content with my role as a mother. It is amazing how that one day that is supposed to celebrate our roles can leave us feeling so undervalued and discontent. Thank you for writing this and sharing.

  32. 43
    Talitha says:

    This from a gal who is a mother of three very young boys: 3 1/2 years, 2 years and 8 months. A momma who loves to write, but isn’t a formal writer. A gal who really struggled with Mother’s Day this year. Who kept it together beautifully on Mother’s Day, but lashed out in frustration the following morning with ugly words of disappointment because the day before hadn’t been peaceful. I actually said in anger, “Next year, let’s not celebrate Mother’s Day,” to the bewilderment of my husband~ poor friend. This gal who was able to get a lovely bit of humor out of the craziness when I talked with my older sister a couple days later and found that she’d had a similar Mother’s Day and that it came down to unmet expectations. It was so good to laugh at ourselves. Yes, to laugh. Thank you, Lisa-Jo, for being so real. I find life in the words you write time and time again. Smiles from Sandy, Oregon.

  33. 44

    Dear Lisa-Jo,
    Thank you so much for your post. I really appreciate your vulnerability and willingness to say what is on your heart.
    I know what you mean! I have struggled all my life with way too high expectations that I don’t usually even know I have until they are not met. Trying to balance faith in God who can do exceedingly above and beyond all I can ever ask or think with practical and realistic expectations that don’t feed bitterness and resentment and disappointment in me…
    I had an epiphany of sorts at the pool this weekend trying to help my son swim and get air and keep swimming. How I try to love and serve and be humble and content and I feel like I can only hold my breath so long and then I get mad or lose it. How God wants to be like the air that I am constantly taking in that will meet my inner needs so I can truly love right here and now. I tried to express this at http://susancontakes.blogspot.com/get some air.
    Maybe this will be a blessing…. I hope so.
    Thank you for talking about this topic and helping us find community and support for each other here.
    God bless you,

  34. 45
    Valarie says:

    Thank you Lisa Jo for this, for making me feel like I was not the only one. I went AHA ! as I read this post. You have a way with words, just lovely. I look forward to reading your posts every single day!

  35. 46

    This really hit home. My mothers day was awful. My facebook newsfeed was full of my friends posting about their special day and here I am with a husband that didn’t remember, and a child too young to care, and my husband and I ended up in a huge fight. I felt so cheated, so tired, so desperate for a break…I could barely remember that 2 years ago I was crying on mothers day because I didn’t have a child. I should have been celebrating that now I have a beautiful, healthy daughter. So glad to read this and know I’m not the only one!

  36. 47
    Melissa D says:

    Yes. And yes. And yes.

    I struggle with Mother’s Day because I struggle with fighting that sense of entitlement. I mean, I didn’t become a mom so that someone would give me flowers or take me to brunch or any of the things that advertising makes it appear that I “deserve”. And I truly do not want my husband or my kids feeling they “have” to do something for me because it is Mother’s Day.

    I struggle with Mother’s Day because I struggle with enormous self-doubt over the job I am doing as a mom. And when the focus is on all the lovey-flowery-mushy wonderfulness that is Mom, all I can see is the not-so-pretty stuff that feels like it is all my fault because it must be that I didn’t succeed in teaching my children properly.

    This year I had the added burden of this being the first Mother’s Day since my stepmother’s death. She was married to my dad for 35 years – since I was 6 – and I didn’t fully appreciate all the ways she mothered me until she was gone.

    Thank you for this post. Thank you for being willing to say out loud that sometimes motherhood and Mother’s Day isn’t pretty.

    • 48

      As a daughter of a mother who passed away…. your reply touched me.
      And as a current stepmother who met her middle stepdaughter when she was four years old….your reply touched me.
      And you saying that Mother’s Day being about all the “lovey-flowery-mushy wonderfulness” and how it brings out the not-so-pretty…. oh boy, I could relate!!!
      And you being a stepdaughter who appreciates your stepmom — even just now — that gives me hope.
      So thank you!
      Bless you, dear Melissa.

  37. 49

    I had a lovely mother’s day. Maybe because I harbored no expectations? Or maybe because my boys “spilled the beans” on what the day would bring? All I asked for was tickets to a baseball game. Our favorite team was in town and we had nothing else going on. So hubby bought tickets and the boys talked all weekend about it. The game was fun, although we did have to deal with a tired, sick boy (his asthma flared up) and a major temper tantrum (I wouldn’t let him play on my iphone). But time with my family is what I wanted most, and that’s what I got.

    And the sweetest part? My asthmatic, temper-tantrum throwing boy is the one who was appalled that he didn’t get me a gift. He didn’t understand that time can be a gift. He thinks a gift was something you buy and wrap in wrapping paper. And he was so upset that he didn’t do that for me. The funny thing is, he’s the one who brought home a gift he made at school and made me open it on Friday because he couldn’t wait until Sunday! Once I reminded him of that, he was happy again.

  38. 50

    Mother’s Day was hard… eldest is the hospital….my own mother is six years gone and it feels like yesterday…I wanted so badly for husband and other 2 stepkids to make it the perfect mother’s day….and mother’s day is always hard because I’m an “other mother” who mothers these kids as though they’re my own. and I must learn to not want recognition because so many people don’t think I should do as much as I do or even know all that I do. But it isn’t about recognition, is it? Isn’t that what you were talking about, Lisa-Jo? Entitlement? Am I entitled to be recognized for all that I do for these kids? Am I some kind of martyr because these aren’t my own flesh and blood kids? The enemy tells me I am. Oh, that enemy butters me up and tells me how much I slave away and how no one sees. But Lisa-Jo, I know Who sees. God sees. And what’s more — all the unseen things we do? They are eternal. That is what 2 Corinthians says, isn’t it. The seen is temporary. Sometimes I white-knuckle that verse. And I think that’s okay. I feel fortunate to read others’ stories about their Mother’s Day. Thank you, too, for your important words.

    • 51

      LOVE this. And stepmommas who love their stepkids like this are a *treasure.* I know – I have one. God bless you. :)

      • 52

        Lisa-Jo, thank you. I needed to hear that I was a *treasure* tonight, especially. It’s been a hard night. In fact, I’m going to go dive into God’s Word and find more of how I am a treasure to God’s eyes. Thank you.

  39. 53
    Rebecca Western says:

    My oldest child is 2. I hated mother’s day before I had children because everyone thought they should honor me regardless of having children. I didn’t mind letting the honor go to those who actually had children. This year I puzzled at the entitlement I felt creeping into my heart. I am very content being a mother without the expected appreciation that comes with “Mother’s Day” . I really appreciate your thoughts because they sum up so clearly what I felt this year. I can’t say the day was a disappointment– I definitely felt loved and appreciated. I just felt secure that I didn’t need that kind of attention to be the kind of mother I want to be all the time.

  40. 54
    Brenda Jensen says:

    Oh, my, I remember the years of dreading/hating/wishing we didn’t have to have mother’s day. No matter how good my family was to me, it always felt contrived and forced, and the time leading up to the day made me crazy. I didn’t want gifts…just make dinner! Or do the dishes! Or stop fighting!! or let me relax and have no worries!! But I always did the “make dinner for our moms” thing, and the kids never seemed to help out much. So much for MY mother’s day! This year I am 50. My own mom has been gone for 7 years. Four of my 5 kids are graduated and away from home, three married with kids of their own. My youngest has another year before she flies the coop. This year, I didn’t worry about making dinner-but my daughter planned one, and we used paper plates. I had skype/phone calls from all my kids. We relaxed. And I made sure that I sent things to my young daughters/in law so they would know that they are doing GOOD THINGS with their little kiddos. And how much I appreciate their willingness to sacrifice so many things to raise good kids. And that I remember how hard it was, sometimes even on the good days! I think by letting go of the expectation that I would be “honored” for being their mom, and instead trying to help my girls have a happy day, it was perfect. Yes, I got gifts. Yes, we had a yummy dinner. But there wasn’t any stress leading up to the day, (except for the excitement to get something to my girls in time!!) I felt like it was a day filled with love, like it should be. Finally!

  41. 55

    Been there, done that but now I count it all as a gift. Hubby went all out this year. Daughter ordered new picture book of grandson. OH YES Amma loves that. Baby boys both called. Oldest took his mother out for supper. Just the 2 of us. His love language is quality time so an I love u gift to him as well.

  42. 56

    Thank you, girlfriend, for just saying it. Amen.

  43. 57
    AineMistig says:

    Oh, how I wish I had read this yesterday!

    And, no, you’re not the only one. But good for you that you shared it this way, instead of loosing it a week later. Like I did.

    The boys have been sick for weeks, and then I was sick. Because everyone was sick, my husband didn’t do much. Actually he forgot that Mother’s Day was coming until it was mentioned in church service the week before, despite me emailing him a head’s up about it weeks ago. Everything we did was something I had mentioned. Don’t get me wrong — he did everything I asked, and got me a card! But since it had been such a long month with sick kids, and since last year I had hyperemesis and we couldn’t really do mother’s day, and since we didn’t get to do anything for our anniversary because the baby was really sick (seriously, what am I doing wrong that everyone keeps getting sick?! I give vitamins, cook homemeals, we still get sick. Some days I think I should just toss in the towel and have us live off McD’s, if we’re going to get sick. But I digress.) — I personally had a lot riding on Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day didn’t live up to my expectations. There have been so many missed holidays, and we haven’t gone on a date in over a year, and that finally brought it to a boiling point for me. I totally lost my cool yesterday, about things in general, and how could he not take the time to make sure I know how special I am to him?

    But this doesn’t exactly paint the right picture of my husband. My husband is WONDERFUL. There are lots of gals who would trade in theirs for mine any day. My husband does the laundry. MY HUSBAND DOES THE LAUNDRY. After I talked to him about it, he is RIGHT THERE with the kids from the time he gets home til the time they go to bed. And if I ask him for a cuddle, he will.

    It just seems that our “us” and I have gotten so lost in the kids that I’m just a fixture of the house, just MOOOMMY! I feel like I need to fight for me and my needs, because they’re reallllly not getting met. Lots of days I’ll have been up for 6-8 hours before I even eat.

    And then I feel guilty, because I know that EVERYTHING YOU WROTE IS TRUE. And I know part of why God has me doing this is to do just what you said — to let me let go of myself. Although not eating for 6-8 hours is a problem. Perhaps I need to stop worrying about getting my needs met and more about just taking care of myself so that I can take care of my family.

    And I don’t think facebook helps. I was accepting that Mother’s Day wasn’t going to be the big deal I was hoping, because everyone was sick. It wasn’t a bad day. But then I got on facebook, with friends writing how their families bought them shopping day passes to New York City (and they do not live in the state of New York), how they got a mani-pedi, gold earrings, and dinner. And maybe the hardest was knowing that all the in-laws were together with the cousins for Mother’s Day, because they all live within a half-hour of each other, and we live across the country with no family nearby (thus no date night in a year — I’m weird about asking non-relatives to watch my kids.) Feeling that others were getting their “super” Mother’s Day while I wasn’t is a big part of what made it worse.

    But for all I know, those women didn’t want all those things. Maybe they just wanted an afternoon alone. Maybe they picked out those gifts, and they weren’t a surprise. Funny how we assume the best of others’ lives, and the worst of our own sometimes.

    Darlin, I wish this response was more poetic, worthy of your beautiful prose. Sometimes I manage that. This time I couldn’t, I just had to say how it is.

    For whatever it’s worth, know this: I’ve been having a rough time lately, at least the past couple of months, and looking through entries in your blog has really been a lifesaver a lot of days. I read about “the days you don’t feel like mothering” and “go get some sleep. stat!” and it makes me feel like it’s OK that not everything is picture perfect like the pictures on all the mommy blogs. I used to be an assistant manager at a video store, worked 10 hour+ days sometimes, and this, being a SAHM, is the hardest job I’ve ever done. Hearing that you feel the same way, even with doing bigger and better jobs than I did, makes me feel a lot better, validated. Like I’m not crazy for saying this is hard. How did our grandmothers and great-grandmothers do it?

    Anyway, thank you for writing this. I needed it.
    And maybe a date night. ;)

    • 58
      Lisa-Jo says:

      Oh Aine, I loved this comment. Thanks for pouring out some of your week here. I especially get this “It just seems that our “us” and I have gotten so lost in the kids.” That’s one of the hard things, trying to navigate a marriage through the journey of parenting. We haven’t got it figured out yet either. But being honest with our good men about where we’re at and then knowing when to just let it go, seems there’s a time for both. Praying your week, your year lighten up and there are times for stolen dinner dates – even if it’s just take out pizza and a movie on the sofa!

      • 59
        AineMistig says:

        Thank you Lisa-Jo for replying to my comment — it really meant so much. And thank you for the prayers, my week seems to be going on an up-curve already. My husband offered to try to make plans for this weekend for a kid-free outing, and my son and I baked “thunder cookies” in our PJs after the baby went to bed last night. Except for the heart-wrenching stories coming out of the tornado hit communities, for which I pray and just try to keep back the tears, things are definitely looking up.
        And we actually did eat leftover pizza and hold hands on the couch last night. :)
        Thank you for taking the time to go through your comments and respond, and thank you for responding to mine. It means a lot.

        PS: if I ever give up cooking in favor of living off fast food, it would never be McD’s — it would be Wendy’s for sure! ;p

  44. 60

    Oh you are so not alone. Thank you for describing what so many of us feel. My first mothers day came years ago, as a foster mom. In the throws of infertility disappointments from empty womb to two in one phone call, I remember flopping into a heap on my momma’s couch and through the asking- “this is what I’ve been praying for.” It would be few years after those two left our home before I would celebrate another mother’s day. It came after the birth of my son-and those first few were near perfect. But life settles and no matter how precious the kids are, the day seemed to become a burden- a need to smile through the day as if it were the one perfect day among the other 364 that take everything I have and much more of what God provides to simply survive. What kind of momma doesn’t enjoy the day set apart for her? What kind of momma confesses that she’d rather have some alone time? Your post also brings conviction, I’ve been list keeping and whining more lately. I don’t want to, but life has been heavy and I feel sometimes I’m crushing underneath the load. And I’ve got 4 people counting on me to bear up underneath it. And it’s not just with my children but with the man I love so much. Thanks for allowing us to be real and sharing truth. Thanks for encouraging me.

  45. 61

    The weight of those expectations can downright drown a mama’s contented spirit. But, being able to share that sinking feeling with other mamas mothering on as best as we can manage moment – by – moment, is a gift. The best Mother’s Day gift that I can think of, on those Mother’s Days when entitlement creeps in and threatens to sink our Mighty Mothering Ships! Thank you for this gift, Lisa Jo!

  46. 62

    Mothers Day was fine, but I think it’s because I’ve come to realize that all that matters is the moment they delight in me being their mom, even if it only lasts a second in between the fighting and the whining. And we are still grieving the loss of a friends daughter so everything feels like a fresh blessing right now. But I know exactly what you mean about entitlement. I have wrestled so with that in the past year and struggle everyday with finding my contentment in what’s here right now: a small house, a tight budget, a bigger family than I had anticipated. You’re right, my discontent comes from feeling I deserve more and better when really what I have is pretty amazing.

  47. 63

    Oh, Lisa-Jo, you are NOT the only one! Not by a long shot. Yes, I got flowers and a card and got to quasi sleep in. But what was I expecting beyond that? For him to read my mind. For him to suddenly snap to and get the kids dressed and fed and ready for church with diaper bag packed and sippy cups ready. I expected a long afternoon nap and an uninterrupted shower, and a pedicure and coffee alone with a good book would have been great, too. Yes, so many unspoken expectations. Expectations that I didn’t even realize I had until my mood was low and I was struggling to find the Eucharisteo despite the card and flowers and three beautiful healthy boys and one faithful husband before me. Yes, the pressures of “Mother’s Day” made me feel entitled to somehow be relieved of all that gives me the gift of being called mom.

    Thank you for putting into words what so many of us struggle with in heart. May we all remember to choose to mother in contentment over expectations of entitlement next Mother’s Day, and ever day. Blessings to you on the journey.

    • 64

      You just summed up my whole post better than I wrote it I think. This:”Yes, the pressures of “Mother’s Day” made me feel entitled to somehow be relieved of all that gives me the gift of being called mom.”

      Exactly and yes and me too and thank you.

  48. 65

    My husband is on 12-hour night shifts 6 nights a week, has been for weeks and will be for at least the next month, and his night off is Wednesday. He got home at 7:30 a.m. and slept until 4:30 p.m. All four of my kids were too sick for church, and I spent the day in my pajamas moping, crying, and resenting. Resenting my husband for not even getting me a card until Mother’s Day evening after sleeping the entire day away – MY entire day away. Resenting the fact that I had to miss church on MY day when I even had a cute outfit picked out. Resenting the thanklessness of my season in life. And I spent the day wallowing in self-pity feeling like I had been deprived of what I deserved. Really? Who said it was MY day? And who was I to be mad about the fact that all my babies wanted was me all day, when a friend of mine has no living children left? And I threw a temper tantrum because I didn’t get to go to church and out to dinner. My heart broke when I realized how awfully selfish and, yes, entitled I had allowed myself to become. So to salvage the day I got out the “My Special Mother” fill-in-the-blank card my kindergartner made me, the one where he said I’m “as pretty as Mary from the Bible,” and the pop-up card that my incredibly artistic second-grader made me with all my favorite flowers cut out of construction paper and glued onto each finger of his hand tracing. I looked at those amazing gifts and remembered that no gift could compare to what God gave me with each of my babies. Thankfulness feels so much better than entitlement.

    • 66

      “Thankfulness feels so much better than entitlement.” I’m slowly learning this one too.

      • 67

        It’s a process, to be sure; one that my flesh doesn’t want to experience. >.< But my spirit, uh, woman LOVES it.

    • 68

      And I forgot the part about how my honey doesn’t love working this shift, but does it when he has to so that I can stay home with our kids. It’s his hard work that allows us to be able to do things like take our kids to Disney and go to Hawaii for our 10th anniversary. And I was whining because I didn’t get a gift?!

  49. 69

    We just got approved for Foster care about a week before Mother’s Day, and that Friday before MD, we received the call to take care of our first foster children. A brother and a sister, both still very young. Two more precious babes added to our family of mom, dad and four most-of-the-time-delightful kids. I got a glass bottle full of little notes from my four. Sweet and funny little notes that took some doing to retrieve….being that the inside of the glass bottle still had some wet spots! And on this day those stuck notes were like pieces of my heart unable to unfold and enjoy this day of blessing, joy stuck by a damping of grief for the two new ones without their momma. Our whole family a bit “shell-shocked”, surviving the weekend, loving as much as we could, eating even Mother’s Day lunch in desperation, just feeling our way through the heartache and changes (we had left-overs and hotdogs—blegck!). I battled between being miffed over a lunch I despised and being grateful I have a family that does not keep love to themselves, miffed over loads of laundry, and giddy over a home full of children to watch and love, miffed over weepy nap time routines and joyful over snuggles and hugs and forging new roads of security and family. Yes…it was a delicate balance of motherhood and entitlement, and I am so glad that you wrote about it, because it has colored my view of that day into a beautiful thing now! Thank you!

  50. 70

    I too have expectations, but if someone were to ask what they are, I wouldn’t know… I don’t really have any specific expectation for Mother’s Day. I am always excited to see what the kids have made for me at school or church. I never thought about having an expectation until I read your story. It never occurred to me, but there is always a sense of let down. (My husband isn’t the best at gift giving.) Maybe because I try so hard to meet everyone’s needs and make sure that all 3 of my children and family never feel the let down. I want so much for them to be happy and content. I think it is just something that comes naturally to a mother. Thank you for opening my eyes! I think I need to take time to be thankful that I have a family to take care of and not to worry about the small stuff. I need to worry a bit more on making myself content.

  51. 71
    Stacey Werner says:

    Oh Lisa Jo, you always get those tears welling up in me from deep down, even when I am not hormonal, which at 50 is less of my days than more. Living in Mexico and being American well I get two Mother´s Days. What is so beautiful here are how mothers celebrate mothers and it is usually with a kiss and hug or a text msj. The genuine, from their own hearts really understanding what this day means comes from our children when they become parents. Yes, that one simple phone call from my 23 yr old daughter who awaits her 4th child is the gift. My 13 yr old boy well no need to even comment, day came and went just like any other day. Oh but my dear girlfriends, who have been there, are there they are always the ones who celebrate me and even a few of my male friends who have on occassion whispered how much they admire me as a single mother, seeing the fruits of my labor. Oh and those expectations, as I feel them as a woman in recovery. Never going to do it perfect or how the others want me to. But as I have learned in recovery Acceptance is the key to all of my problems, just as my dear, sweet Jesus accepts me. Don´t think He has any expectations of my, just pure love. And as life got in the way and the Montessori school philosophy taught me, every day is children´s day and mother´s day, we must also not forget those men who have accepted their roles as fathers, so I will be sending some flowers today to wish a sweet woman I met this past year who has honored me several times for things and I will honor her today, just because we woke up to the gift of today and it is so much sweeter when it is unEXPECTED. in Christ´s love Stacey

  52. 72
    Stephanie says:

    This was my first Mother’s Day and it came and went without any fan-fare from my immediate family. I got a text from a friend I haven’t spoken to in a long time and one from my grandparents that was hilarious because auto-correct changed it and I had to spend 15 minutes trying to figure out what they meant to say, but my baby is too young for breakfast in bed or handmade cards and my husband doesn’t do “Hallmark holiday’s”. So Mother’s Day was just another day. But that’s okay. It reminds me that “everyday” is special. They are special because I get to snuggle with my son and laugh with my husband and be thankful for both and realize that just because I’m not celebrated the traditional way doesn’t mean I’m not loved and celebrated everyday for being me. That is my blessing.

  53. 73

    Hand raised over here as well. There were flowers. There were pancakes. There was brunch that I planned. And yet- there was not a single hour where I didn’t haul out my stern momma voice. There were tears, bleeding, complaining, whining, arguing and naps that were too short. There were chores undone and big deals made of the chores that were done on the heals of much too much nagging. There was a portrait drawn of me with a note that the six year old wishes she could give me time to myself. And there is the cringing mother wishing the kindergarten teacher hadn’t had the frown of reading that. Then there is the six year old in all her exuberance bursting into teary flames after she manages to rip my card clear in half in her desire to “help” me open it. The next morning that same six year old informed me that I wasn’t lame because I didn’t get to market to buy more of her breakfast cereal- after all- we had had a busy mother’s day where she “had to clean the entire house by 7:30pm”. Ahem. So yes, it could have gone better. I could have been kinder. I could have lowered what I already thought were pretty low expectations. God willing we’ll get a chance to do it all again next year. After all- that day right there- that’s the stuff isn’t it? That’s the stuff of motherhood.

  54. 74

    Here too. There was true attempts at making the day special which I greatly appreciate. But… I ended up making a trip to Walmart to pick up something my husband needed the next day, spent much of the day in the shed helping build a dollhouse for my niece’s birthday, and to top it off my husband attempted to make my preschooler green eggs and ham for lunch (since husband and I were still full from a big breakfast) resulting in an exploding green poop incident that required a full bathroom cleaning.

    But then I did have time to myself (while shopping). I ended up with a fun picture of myself and son. We spent most of the day as a family. And I know I was appreciated even if the day didn’t shout “You’re special!”, I heard the whispers :)

  55. 75

    As a wife and caregiver to my disabled husband, and mother to our seven year old son, most holidays are disappointing-yet more reminders that things would have been different, should have been different had my husband never been hurt. Not his fault, of course. He, of everyone, wants to be better, to be the husband and father he wants to be. If I seem disappointed or sad, he bears it, taking responsibility for all life’s woes. So, I put on my happy face and act like it isn’t a big deal.

    Like many here, I just wanted to be alone, to do whatever I wanted to do without someone needing something from me. I wanted to be able to ignore the to-dos and be quiet. And, although we put expectations on the day and ourselves, I believe expectations are placed upon us too. We had a lovely brunch at a fancy place, with too much food and all the local family pulled together. And, as wonderful as it is to see family, to join together and give thanks for our Moms still here and those already gone, I selfishly didn’t want to do that. I wanted to stay home and be alone and read a book or watch a movie. I certainly felt entitled to it for all that I do. But, after taking a step back, and thinking of those women who can’t be moms or women who do not have their moms, I changed my attitude and the day turned out just fine. I think sometimes we have to turn things around and look at them from a different view. Everyone has a story to tell; they just all have difference faces.

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    I can say it went exactly as I hoped. I didn’t have to do anything, we enjoyed church, son took a long nap and we ate ribs for dinner. It was perfect!

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    Beautiful post! Here in the D.R. We celebrate mother’s day on last sunday of may. It was today. And all I could see was the mess in the dining room, the crazyness and every other detail of mess, bad attitud, and extra work. Then I remembered your post, and remenbered myself that I actually deal with these, every other day. And I embrace it. This is not a day to celabrate me, it is a day tobcelebrate the beautiful choice I’ve made.

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    I stumbled across your blog just yesterday or Monday — I can’t remember what day or where from. A link from Twitter, probably. And it was just in time. Just in time to remind me to be content, to be thankful for what I have, to take joy in motherhood, to remember, yet again, that it is a gift, that this mothering is holy work. Thank you, thank you, for bringing things back to center in such a humble, beautiful way.

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    Yes, Mother’s Day dissapointed even though I tried ahead of time to not have expectations & to just be okay with whatever the day held…but I think you nailed it w/entitlement. I was convicted reading this because I do let that kick my contentment & joy to the curb time & time again. My husband was working nights so he wan’t even around to help the kids come up with anything, but I did have a sweet friend who knew it would probably be a sad day for me so she & I took our kiddos out for dinner which was full of joyful chaos & I am thankful for that!

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    Mother’s Day was weird. It was dissappointing only because I was coming down with the stomach flu and feeling particularly run down all day long. My Mother tried to make it special by giving me a framed picture collage of our infant daugther, a nice dinner and Mother’s Day book. And my husband did give me roses, but for some odd reason, they were already starting to wilt. His Mom said that she had the same experience with them. It was the company’s fault.

    Looking back, it was surreal in so many ways. Before Emily came into our lives, Mother’s day was one of the most depressing days of the year for me. Now it was weird to feel well, not depressed for once. I guess, part of me didn’t know what to completey feel. There is certainly no manual for it. I did feel a wave of gratitude for God that Emily was in our arms. And I think I feel it much more on a day to day basis rather than one day a year. And I think for me that will do just fine. :)

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