05 May 2014

How not to be disappointed this Mother’s Day

I heard it all over Facebook and Twitter and in phone calls last year. The disappointment.

The flowers that didn’t come, the cards that were forgotten, the breakfast that was a disaster and that you had to clean up while everyone else was watching TV.



The house that wasn’t quiet or clean or tidied up. The getting to sleep in that didn’t happen, the nap that evaporated into a toddler’s meltdown, the meal that someone else didn’t prepare. The laundry that wasn’t folded for you.

The kids that didn’t call, the sermon that wasn’t about mothers, the grand kids who didn’t visit.

I heard it again and again in so many different, disappointed, let down ways – 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? I ask myself this every year after the inevitable disappointment.

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.

So this year, this year I want to be prepared. I want to take Mother’s Day into my own hands and make it magical in unexpected ways.

Because I’m learning. Slowly, stubbornly learning that we fight the fear of missing out by remembering that it’s in bending the knee to serve that we are most satisfied.

So this year, this is my plan to make sure I don’t miss out on the joy of Mother’s Day.

HOW NOT TO BE disappointed this mother's day

An UPside Down Mother’s Day Gift List:

  1. Send a card to the special women in your life (whether they are mothers or not) to thank them for all the ways they have mothered so many with their words and their lives.
  2. Quit the Hallmark Channel in the days leading up to Mother’s Day.
  3. Invite a single mom to lunch and celebrate her.
  4. Pick flowers from your back yard for the women in your mom’s group.
  5. Let your husband off the hook – just go ahead and tell him exactly what would make you feel loved – so he has a fighting chance of getting it right.
  6. Invite that friend who is pretty much an adopted mom to everyone in your community over for lunch.
  7. Help serve meals and build bathrooms in South Africa for mothers a world away and see motherhood and your own messy kitchen as anything but ordinary through her eyes.
  8. Write each of your kids an individual list of why you love being their mom. This will help you remember why you’ve already got everything you need today.
  9. Call your mom, your grandma, your favorite aunt in the week ahead of Mother’s Day – it doesn’t have to all be on that crowded Sunday.
  10. Give a gift, a card, a slow conversation, a phone call to the motherless daughters and mothers in your midst who ache today. Take time to remember their mothers with them.
  11. Fill your table with women who have mothered others whether they are mothers themselves or not. Celebrate and serve them.

Because the thing is, we mother because we’re called to it. We mother because it’s a gift.

We mother because God trusted us with these kids. We mother because we can’t not.

Over and through and under and around the unappreciated days, we mother on.

And I want to remember to keep seeing it for what it is.

A messy, beautiful, chaotic, miraculous, unexhangeable and irreplaceable gift.



Mother’s Day for the Motherless Mother

When You Feel Like No One Notices or Appreciates What You Do for Your Family, You’re Wrong

Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected about Being a Mom is my book that tells the story of losing my mother and gaining 3 kids and the belief that God puts remarkable people into our stories to mother us despite our losses, our loneliness and our questions.




{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    YES. It took me a couple of Mother’s Days to learn this lesson, that the day that celebrates mothers doesn’t mean I get to quit for a day. I get to keep serving, keep bending low, keep loving and seeing the joy all around me — especially on Mother’s Day. And if someone wants to celebrate me? Great. But I don’t want to expect it. Thanks for giving this reminder, and practical ways to live it out. You encourage so many!

  2. 2

    I can’t tell you how much I love this, LJ. Yes and amen. xo

  3. 3

    Love, love, love! So beautiful, Lisa Jo!

  4. 4

    LOVE this, LJ. So, so great. <3

  5. 5

    Lisa-Jo, this is a great post. While I don’t feel shame or guilt over asking only for time away anymore, I do honor others’ needs on this day.

    My story is complicated and my ‘mother situation’ is a strange one. No matter what, I am a mother and know how I can be a better one to my two wonderful children. The worst Mother’s Day I’ve had in my 9+ years of mothering was when we were all forced to do something we did not want to do. Everyone was unhappy and we vowed to not do that again.

    This year, I will continue my tradition of being alone for a little while and a little reflection. I will continue to write letters to each of my children during that time about our time together since last year and how they make me proud and honored to be their mother. I will continue to enjoy a sweet dinner with my family after my time away and feeling refreshed. I will continue to write thank yous and gratitudes to those that have acted and been mentors and mothered me in various ways over my years here on earth.

    Thank you for the points you make here. Generally, I believe the best gift you can ever give anyone is showing that you care and love them for who they are. I just wrote about this and appreciate #5 because that’s exactly my point.

    You are the best. Happy Mother’s Day!

  6. 6

    Yes. I had to quit social media last mother’s day because I was overwhelmed by how many people complained and said they were disappointed. It’s not a day off. And, goodness, the reasons we celebrate mother’s day in the first place are because of the kiddos. It’s not perfect. It’s an ordinary day, and that’s okay!

  7. 7

    Mother’s Day has always been about being with my Mother-in-law, the focus has never been on me expect for the brief acknowledgement. Its been about the grandiose lunches at the club, or my dear sister-in-law whose been more than gracious to open her home and serve a beautiful buffet. but this year after over twenty that have passed, my husband wants to do something different with just our family, and I’m not sure how to receive such an honor. just the thought of having a day being about us delights my heart.

  8. 9

    I love this so much! My only Girlie works on the weekends so this is the second year in a row without a day spent with her… so I have already taken to doing several of the things you have listed here ahead of time! No guess work… no entitlement… no disappointment! (Sharing this on facebook – and tagging the women who have mentored and mothered me along the way!) <3

  9. 10

    Preach it, sister!

  10. 11
    Elizabeth says:

    For the past few years I have done two things that have really helped me have happy mother’s days. First, I buy gifts for my kids, and tell them it’s a day to celebrate how much I love being their mom. Second, I plan with my husband ahead of time a fun family activity we will do for the bulk of the day. Being proactive puts me in the right frame of mind to mother well that day and then any acts of love done for me are bonus blessings. I think where we get derailed is thinking that it’s a day to take a break from our kids. What kind of message does that give them about how we feel toward them? I do take breaks, but not on the day meant to celebrate motherhood!

  11. 12

    Can I just say Preach it Sister! Oh thank you for releasing us from the pressure of Hallmark holidays! They drive me crazy sometimes with the unhealthy, unbiblical expectations. It’s ok. I’m a mom, by God’s plan. I’d do this even if there wasn’t a day to celebrate it.

  12. 13

    I was a little nervous when I saw your title pop up in my email.
    I was preparing, you see, preparing for the self-serving, shallow, cliche dribble, that has become Mother’s Day.
    Hooray for you for calling it what it is.
    Today is Cinco de Mayo, and trying to find some relevant material for homeschooling, I stumbled upon an article called “American Alcoholidays”-how our ‘cultural holidays, like Cinco and St. Patty are an excuse to drink, and the marketing world has found a way to cash in big. While I don’t think drinking and Mother’s Day has become synonymous yet…but hey you never know, and that just MAY BE the time I actually start celebrating it!…it is definitely over marketed to the point of nauseating. But your words to just continue to do what you do: serve, because that is what makes motherhood so “flower-out to dinner-breakfast in bed-45 minute sermon devoted to you-worthy, right? Scratched my head and could not think of one single mom, or struggling with infertility mom, nor do I belong in a mom group {again, the seclusion of motherhood} but I do appreciate your suggestion to write a card to your own child. That I will do, and then ignore the day completely like I always do.
    Wonderful, relevant post, that was so Christ reflected instead of hokey or cynical.

  13. 14

    Thanks Lisa, you are saying how we feel in a real way. I’m sure moms would love to be appreciated day by day. Today my 25 year old son thanked me twice for driving him around and buying him a stock of soaps for his new apartment. He always says I love you. That means more than a mothers day card.

  14. 15

    #1 is questionable advice.

    • 16
      Sarah Dunbar says:

      Yes,I think it is good to tread carefully here. When I was wanting to have children and wasn’t and had someone say how good an aunt I was didn’t cut it. I did appreciate the value they placed on my involvement in their kids lives, but I was not a mother, what I had longed for. My desire was unfulfilled and I felt empty. Sometimes the reminder of what I wasn’t, hurt. It wasn’t Mother’s Day but in a group where I was the only one without kids.
      So please be very careful, it is a vulnerable position to be in.

    • 17

      I agree. One of the worst comments I ever heard was that a woman who was experiencing infertility was “a mother in her heart.” Tread carefully with this one for sure.

    • 18

      I too agree. I dealt with infertility for over seven years before we were able to conceive our son. I had people who were well meaning do and say all kinds of truly awful things like that. Please, please never do this. Tell your friend you love her and you’re praying for and supporting her, absolutely. But tell her anything along the lines of how she’s mothered so many without giving birth, adopting, or fostering a child? Just don’t. Please. From someone who’s been there, this is one of the most painful things you could ever do.

    • 19

      Please, please DO NOT do number one. Sending a card at any other time telling your friend battling infertility would be awesome. Please do not use the word “mothering” in it, and certainly not near Mother’s Day–salt in an open wound!

  15. 20

    This is genius. I was already lamenting all the ways my expectations of being blessed on
    Mother’s Day was probably going to be dashed…and then you come through with a better way to focus my day…on others. Thanks for writing to us all in where we are at, and then calling us to live for more!
    Blessings, Lisa Jo!

  16. 21

    “Let your husband off the hook,” that LisaJo is a good point!! All mine are three and under so he is still in charge and it’s just not his fault he can’t read my mind. That one really opened my eyes. Your words always dig deep in my spirit. Thanks for writing and encouraging and celebrating women. Xoxo

  17. 22
    Baey Cameron says:

    I cannot believe you made a post dedicated to this. This is ridiculous and the most absurd thing I’ve seen on Pinterest. Some ppl do not have a mother!

    • 23
      Lisa-Jo says:

      Hi Baey,

      I know. I’m one of them. I don’t have a mother. She died a week after I turned 18. I wrote another post called Mother’s Day for the Motherless Mother over here. http://lysaterkeurst.com/2014/04/mothers-day-for-the-motherless-mother/

      But that doesn’t mean there aren’t so many wonderful and amazing women who have mothered me throughout my life. What a gift to get to celebrate them. And to remind myself that this day isn’t just about what I’ve lost or about what my family forgot to get me, but what I can DO to love on other women for all the ways they’ve loved on me.

      • 24

        this is just where my heart has come to, especially the last couple of years {it is 12 years this month}. I know my mama would want me to celebrate…live & love and make much of the goodness of God…most, to love as she taught me–bringing in so many who were not daughters, sisters, mothers, by blood, and making them so through the Spirit. LOVE this post :)

  18. 25

    Lisa-Jo, I’ve been a Mom for 38 years and this spoke volumes to me. It is just truly best if we live our lives without any expectation. We’ll be far happier for sure and you are so right, we are called to be Moms and all that truly matters is that we do the best we can do to raise God fearing children. Great post!

  19. 26
    Heather H says:

    I LOVED this, so much so that I willing volunteered to host Mother’s Day dinner at my house for my inlaws. I guess I have always “wanted a day off” but really its a day to celebrate the four wonderful little people in my life and I will be this year, thanks!!

  20. 27

    You couldn’t have said it better. I have fallen to this year after year. Making the choice to not be hurt again. Great write on something we all battle with…

  21. 28
    Stacey says:

    I grew up looking forward to the day I’d be able to be a Mommy, but when my husband and I were faced with infertility it threw me for a loop. We were blessed with one successful treatment and a baby girl, but have had failure in any further treatments, and so are pursuing adoption. We didn’t know much about infertility, but from that diagnosis forward I made a promise to myself that I would remember all of the women who have gone through or are going through this painful journey like we are. When we’re at church and they hand out flowers to all the moms, I don’t take them, because sometimes God chooses for you whether you get to be a mother or not, and I’m not comfortable with the singling out (which is not to say it shouldn’t be done, of course, but that’s my personal stance). Should we celebrate the countless mothers out there, our own mothers? Yes! But we should try to be sensitive to those broken hearts out there, too, who would give all that they are for even a smile from a child they could call their own on such a day. I love your list of how to love on women on Mother’s Day. Thank you for that!

  22. 29
    Sarah Dunbar says:

    I appreciate the reminder of what motherhood does…bends, serves, delights, laughs, celebrates and to keep on in this manner. I find it easy to forget the joys…thank you for your encouragement.

  23. 30

    Oh how I wish I had been a grown up at your age!
    I am feeling as if Mother’s Day is really for my girls. For them to feel creative and blessed that we have each other.
    Love this post.

  24. 31

    Thank you Lisa-Jo, for this beautiful and much needed reminder. Mothers Day has been painful for me for the past two years due to a prodigal daughter who wants nothing to do with our family anymore. I think of her daily, and as Mothers Day approaches, my heart is heavy as I long to have all 5 of my kids together on that special day. Your post is a sweet reminder to me that rather than letting myself be weighed down by all of this, I can choose to serve my precious children this Mother’s Day, and that I can rejoice in the gift of them, no matter if I’m with all of them, or if ones missing. God bless you this Mother’s Day, Lisa -Jo, and thank you for the encouragement.

  25. 32

    I love this! And I guess this is what I really needed to hear. I have three kids that are really too young to do anything for Mother’s Day. My husband is out of town on national guard duty, and won’t be home on Mother’s Day. This year I’m expecting Mother’s Day to be completely forgotten, and I’m okay with that. This week I worked with my kids to do a project and get it in the mail for their grandmas. I plan to call my own mother, as well as my husband’s since he will likely be too busy to call. I have a good friend who recently lost her first baby at 34 weeks, and she will really need a friend that day.
    I have so much to be grateful for. I have been blessed with so much. I don’t need to be selfish on this day meant to celebrate mothers, I just need to be more appreciative of the mothers in my life.

  26. 33

    I sat down last night and wrote letters to each of my boys as to why I love being their mom. Thank you for this, Lisa-Jo! What a beautiful Mother’s Day gift writing those letters has already been to me!

  27. 34

    I loved this post! Although I am a mom, a mother-in-law & a Mimi, this year the Lord has compelled me to buy your book for a bunch of young moms – some in my family, some unknown to me (like the single mom who is a teller where I do my banking). In so giving, this Mother’s Day has already become a joy to me. There is no way I can be disappointed. Beautiful post!!!

  28. 35

    On Mothers Day 2006, I forced myself to go to church. I was fresh off the loss of one baby to ectopic pregnancy, and another to a end of first tri-mester miscarriage. I didn’t want to go, because I was afraid that I would bawl through church. Both of my losses were fairly private, and few knew of them. When the pastor finished his message, and asked kids to come forward to pass out flowers to the “mothers,” I was overlooked. And then, the tears did come. I vowed that day, that even if I never became mother to a living child, I would recognize all women on Mothers Day, who have suffered loss, who have given of their time to children etc. I was gifted a daughter in 2008, and I cherish Mothers Day, because it is so close to her birthday. I spend the day thinking about what a blessing she is, and how I might help other grieving mothers.. It can be very uncomfortable to know how to help those struggling with infertility and loss, but it is important work. Please, do not overlook these women. I know fully well, how painful the day can be for them.

    • 36

      Leah, First, I’m so sorry for your loss. I feel your pain through your words and I’m so sorry you were overlooked, my heart breaks all mothers that have lost their children. I had a very similar thing happen to me at church, (which in turn caused me to have a panic attack) I had 13 years of unexplained infertility. May God bless you and your works.

  29. 37

    That was beautifully put! Thank you!

  30. 38

    I stumbled across your blog months ago and am so very thankful I did! Your words inspire and encourage me daily! Thanks for your honesty and real portrayal of motherhood. Some days are hard, tiring, and just plain exhausting BUT worth every single second! :) Have a blessed week!

  31. 39

    Lisa Jo, thanks for this post. I find myself already getting all bunched up inside. I KNOW about the expectations and I fight them every time my birthday, mother’s day and Christmas come around. Oh, and my anniversary. I SO want it to be about serving and thinking of others! I DON’T want the unrealistic expectations that lead to disappointment. I need God’s help in this because sure as I’m writing this, I will be fighting these expectations this coming weekend. I loved your list of things to focus on instead and I’m going to take those things to heart. THANK YOU so much for your wise and timely reminder! Happy Mother’s Day to you!

  32. 40

    THANK YOU!!! Oh, how I dread Mother’s Day because of the expectations set on families (especially dads) to make the day special. A day set aside for honoring older moms by older daughters has become a Hallmark-driven, expectation-ridden disaster. We do not celebrate Mother’s Day in my family (despite having a small tribe of children) because I don’t ever want to put pressure or expectations on my family. Every day is Mother’s Day for me. Every day I get to see my little ones with their smiling faces or chat with my “young people” at the end of our day is Mother’s Day. I don’t need a day to celebrate me as a mother and I sure don’t need a day that stresses my children or husband as they try to do things they think I would like. I don’t need children who say or do things because they are told to or expected to. The note slipped under my bedroom door or left on my pillow thanking me at random times during the year means more to me than breakfast in bed or flowers on a set day of the year.

    And for those experiencing infertility/pregnancy loss, this day is horrific. Our church is having a baby dedication on Mother’s Day – something obviously planned by someone who has never felt the agonizing heartache of empty arms.

  33. 41

    When my kids were little, and I was so thankful to be a mom – their mom – I gave them presents on Mother’s Day. Things they wanted – or didn’t even know they wanted. I wanted to delight my kids, on Mother’s Day. It gave me joy. That was how I celebrated Mother’s Day.
    Now my kids are 21 and 18. My 21 year old told me he was coming home to see me this weekend. O Joy. And….what will I give them? xo

  34. 42
    Pat Weiser says:

    I’m sorry. I understand all you have said….. When my mother was alive I celebrated her. And my daughters celebrated Grandma. Now that she is gone, I am ignored on this one day of the year, and they go off to their in-laws. When will it be my turn to be the Matriarch, the revered mother, the grandma? I don’t want perfection, just acknowledgement. I love you Mom, that’s all.

    • 43
      Mommy to one boy says:

      Pat, I hear your pain and sadness. I read this article hoping that it would relieve the pain and sadness that I suffer every holiday. My husband has PTSD and sits alone in a room 23 hours a day. I am his caretaker. I care for my son. I care for my parents, his parents and those at church who are in need. I bake, cook, clean, pray and serve. I just want acknowledge because I am lonely and starved for affection. I want to be important.

    • 44

      I have read many of comments. We all agree that motherhood, IS the gift. But I haven’t read one comment from a mother that admits to not even getting a card. I am hurt. And I don’t know what to do with the hurt. I am super granny. I have a great relationship with my grown daughter (I think she loves me?) She never says so. People tell me all the time what a great mom and granny I am. Just saying that so you might know why it hurts so much. I love her, pray for her, pray for her little family, rejoice in their happiness, walk with them through every tough time, give so much of my time… only because I love them all and wan’t to see them happy. And then nothing. From now on, I think I am going to take my Mom and daughter out a week early and celebrate Mother’s Day, and then totaling ignore Mother’s Day. I will continue giving my love and enjoying every minute with my daughter and her sweet babies. But… No more Mother’s Day s for me… can’t take it.

  35. 45

    What a great and timely reminder not to focus on ourselves but on those around us on this day. This will be my first Mother’s Day with a little one after several years of loss and hoping, and it’s hard to avoid one of two extremes: to pretend the day doesn’t exist because of past hurt, or to expect someone (my husband) to build me a monument as a celebration of current reality. But the truth is, neither of these reactions is the right one. I pray that on this Mother’s Day, I will take time to be thankful for the rich blessing I have been given.

  36. 46

    Thanks so much for this post. The timing of it was just perfect in my life. I read it just before a conversation with my husband where he said he’d be working on Mother’s Day, and I was so grateful to have your perspective first!

  37. 47

    WOW loved this post! Well said! Thank you and Happy Mothers Day To You Too!

  38. 48

    Mothers Day is in May…. why would “everyone else” be watching football?

    • 49
      Lisa-Jo says:

      —-ah yes, sports and me. We don’t go together well. That reference would have worked better for a Thanksgiving post, eh?

  39. 50
    Pamela Ryba says:

    Being treated like a beast of burden by a selfish family is a good thing, and I am an entitled brat for simply needing to hear a “thank you” once in a while? To know I’m appreciated? What the absolutely clueless Lisa Jo Baker is suggesting is a very poor way to raise a child. What kind of adult does a child who is never taught to say “thank you” or to show appreciation for those around them grow up to be? What kind of coworkers or bosses would they be? What kind of mates would they be? I know the answer to that one…they would grow up to be like my husband, who tells the kids they don’t need to thank me for doing my “job”.

    • 51

      Pamela, I am so with you on this. I refuse to believe that expecting some sort of acknowledgement ONE day out of the 365 each year for a job I do 24/7 makes me “entitled”.
      The two things that I like about this article that I plan to do are: tell your husband (significant other, kids, etc.) what you would like from them on this special day and write a letter to your kids telling them why you like being their mother. Those two suggestions I can get behind.
      The rest of the article, for me, is chock full of “mommy guilt”. There is no shame in vocalizing your needs and desires and expecting those who love you to acknowledge your feelings and try to give you what you ask for. As mothers–we are on the giving end of this equation all the time! Mothers shouldn’t be made to fear the “entitled” label if all they want is a day off, or a phone call, or a card, or whatever.
      Down with the “mommy guilt”!

      • 52

        Amen, sister. A card…is that asking so much? It would have meant the world to me.

  40. 53

    Try ordering flowers online. What a rip-off.

  41. 54
    Jill C says:

    Football? Boy, and I thought I was out of touch. Who’s playing football in May? :)
    My husband asked me what I wanted to do for Mother’s Day, and I couldn’t think of anything. I did enjoy the day trip we took a few years ago, even though all the shops were closed because it was Sunday. It was a beautiful day and I enjoyed spending the car time with the family and all the animals we got to see in the wilderness we drove through (a moose, a bear, a wolf and a fox!).
    He asked, half jokingly, half unkindly, if I would like to stay home and clean the house, which has gotten away from both of us since we bought a business, kept our jobs and our infant “bonus child” who has turned into a toddler. I’m starting to think that actually sounds nice.
    My daughter called and said she was thinking about coming up to visit, but kind of didn’t want to because it would be her first weekend off in several months where she just got to stay home and be alone. I don’t blame her. I told her that I celebrate Mother’s Day with her ALL THE TIME, because she calls me and gives me her commute time 2-4 times a week, and that’s really wonderful. It’s been such a joy to be her mother, and I know how fortunate I am to have a daughter who wants to talk to me so often!

  42. 55

    I just love this. So many Mother’s Days I cling to an idea in my mind and find that nothing can meet the expectation I’ve set because no one is in my head (thankfully). I have fought the selfish battles to have “my day” only to find that at the end of “my day” I felt miserably lonely and full of selfish pride. The most liberating gift is to let go and serve. To truly serve, we never really take a day to honor ourselves. We keep on keeping’ on. Thank you for a beautiful reminder that gives fresh perspective. I love the practical ideas as well!

  43. 56

    Your “upside down” list is INCREDIBLE!! So thoughtful and just what I needed to be thinking about and implementing.
    It took me several years to understand why Mother’s Day was such a hard day for me, and I’ve been able to come to terms with the fact that I was beginning to feel like I pretty much DESERVED to be worshiped on Mother’s Day because of the other 364 days of the year when I basically felt invisible. I’m thankful for God’s patience (and my husband’s!) as I worked through my selfishness (and continue to do so…) I’m learning to make my expectations much more reasonable for myself and my family – every day of the year, but even more so on the special days.
    But your list at the end is definitely the next step – for me to look outward even more than my home and my own family.
    Thank you for your encouragement!!

  44. 57

    Thanks for writing this post. It truly blessed my heart today.

  45. 58

    YES! I wholeheartedly agree. Thank you for this!

  46. 59

    I really think people get their hopes up too much for one day sometimes. Yes, it would be wonderful if everything went smoothly; of course! But your life also isn’t ruined if life takes a fairly normal turn and some things aren’t perfect.
    I also think activities/experiences are better presents than things: more value & less likely to be a disappointment.

  47. 61

    This was beautifully expressed. Even though my sons are grown men and live out of state they always call and send a card on Mothers Day. Sometimes no flowers or gift but they always call a few times in a month and I know they would be there for me if needed. I know in my heart it is not just that 1 day a year but everyday the thoughts and live are thete. Thank you Bonnie for sharing!

  48. 62

    Beautiful! Great reminders!

  49. 63

    Thanks for the #1 on your list! I was dealing with unexplained infertility for over 13 years and Mother’s Day was so hard for me. I remembering going to church on Mother’s Day and the pastor had everyone stand up to wish/hug all the mothers a happy MD, this was one of the saddest days I can remember…
    I am now blessed with three beautiful children!

  50. 64

    sooo very awesome!!!!!!!!

  51. 65

    As a single mom, this brought tears to my eyes. My little dolly girl absolutely adores me, and I love how she does what she can – hand-made note cards and sometimes getting my parents to make purchases for her to give to me – so I feel the warmth and specialness of the love she bears me without being disappointed. But if somebody randomly were to take me out just because I am a single mom, I think I would cry. It isn’t easy living every day knowing that my failed marriage is like a stain on who I am and what I deserve in life. I can imagine it being even worse for those who gave birth out of wedlock. Once in a while my dad will take us (my mom, me, my daughter) all out for dinner on holidays like this (Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, etc.), and even though it’s not quite the same, it matters. From my perspective, there could be a lot more in the way of charitable appreciation for all those mothers out there who don’t have a partner in life to make the day extra special but who enjoy the day anyway for what it means that we are mothers. You don’t know how great you’ve got it when you’ve still got your Mr. Right to buy you expensive jewelry and flowers and all those wonderful things women want to be given to make them feel special. Thank you, Lisa-Jo, for encouraging women to think of women other than themselves and recognize them as special, too. <3

  52. 66
    Debra G says:

    Beautiful post. I’ve been doing some of these things the past few years, and will try some of your other ideas.

  53. 67

    Grieving my own daughters infertility, I am understanding how painful Mother’s Day is and will be for those who desperately want to carry their own child and cannot.

  54. 68
    Pat Stokes says:

    Thank you from this Grandmother………You said it all so well…….My heart is touched and warmed…..

  55. 69
    Kathleen Richardson says:

    When I feel sorry for myself that my third son Ted didn’t send a card this year as he has always in the past, I remember that Mother’s Day 1992 was the last time I spoke with my second son Matt who called to wish me a Happy Mother’s Day. He died in a motorcycle accident on July 8. It puts things in a better perspective and forces me to be grateful for the things that really matter.

  56. 70

    You know, this strikes at my very thoughts today. I always leave Mother’s Day vaguely disappointed, not because anyone did anything wrong, but because I expect motherhood to be different on a holiday. I should know better, having had vomiting and feverish Christmases, teary birthdays, and whining Halloweens. The moments that honor and reward our role as mothers cannot be boxed into one day on the calendar any more than the unpleasant moments can be boxed out of those “special days.” Every day is special, even if every moment is not.

  57. 71

    I hand copied this into my motherhood encouragement journal. Thank you so much for this wisdom. If you wrote a book.. I would buy it

  58. 72

    Thought this was a wonderful post. reblogged in on blog.

  59. 74
    Sherrie Roderick says:

    Thank you as the mother of 6 girls and one boy this was the best mother’s day lesson. I put your words to the test and enjoyed myself. What a great day!

  60. 75

    I have read many of comments. We ask agree that motherhood, IS the gift. But I haven’t read one comment from a mother that admits to not even getting a card. I am hurt. And I don’t know what to do with the hurt. I am super granny. I have a great relationship with my grown daughter (I think she loves me?) She never says so. People tell me all the time what a great mom and granny I am. Just saying that so you might know why it hurts so much. I love her, pray for her, pray for her little family, rejoice in their happiness, walk with them through every though time, give so much of my time… only because I love them all and wasn’t too see them happy. And then nothing. I honk I am going to take my Mom out a week early and celebrate Mother’s Day, a week early and then totaling ignore Mother’s Day. I will continue giving my love and enjoying every minute with my daughter and her sweet babies. But… No more Mother’s Day s for me… DONE.

  61. 76

    I have read many of comments. We all agree that motherhood, IS the gift. But I haven’t read one comment from a mother that admits to not even getting a card. I am hurt. And I don’t know what to do with the hurt. I am super granny. I have a great relationship with my grown daughter (I think she loves me?) She never says so. People tell me all the time what a great mom and granny I am. Just saying that so you might know why it hurts so much. I love her, pray for her, pray for her little family, rejoice in their happiness, walk with them through every tough time, give so much of my time… only because I love them all and wan’t to see them happy. And then nothing. From now on, I think I am going to take my Mom and daughter out a week early and celebrate Mother’s Day, and then totaling ignore Mother’s Day. I will continue giving my love and enjoying every minute with my daughter and her sweet babies. But… No more Mother’s Day s for me… can’t take it.


  1. […] happens when you anticipate perfection, your living turns into a never ending cycle of discontent. So I read a post this week that got me thinking in an upside down way. Well, upside down for the world, but right in line with […]

  2. […] if you’re fighting the ache of being disappointed this Mother’s Day – won’t you come do this with […]

  3. […] On how not to be disappointed this Mother’s Day… […]

  4. […] read this blog post yesterday (How Not to Be Disappointed on Mother’s Day) and I just loved it and wanted to […]

  5. […] How not to be disappointed this Mother’s Day :: Lisa-Jo Baker […]

  6. […] How not to be disappointed this Mother’s Day @ Lisa-Jo Baker […]

  7. […] was recently reading a post called “How not to be disappointed this Mothers’ Day.” In light of that post’s advice, I’d like to take a moment to celebrate my own mom, who […]

  8. […] Lisa-Jo Barker’s How to not be disappointed this Mother’s Day. […]

  9. […] really important bit of advice: “How Not to be Disappointed this Mother’s Day,” from Lisa Jo Baker.  How many of us have unrealistic expectations for this holiday?  Here’s […]

  10. […] your Mother’s Day wasn’t all you had hoped it would be.  I ran across this post earlier in the week, and it’s worth reading on the Monday after our big day.  Because, you […]

  11. […] read this post by Lisa Jo about laying down our expectations and it was such a good thing for this weary […]

  12. […] Here’s that post if you’re interested: http://lisajobaker.com/2014/05/how-not-to-be-disappointed-this-mothers-day/ […]

  13. […] was out of town for work. Although I would normally have been disappointed about that, I read an article last week that said exactly what I needed to hear — that you, my sons, are the gift and that […]

  14. […] author of Surprised By Motherhood, caught my eye.  The title of this particular post – How Not To Be Disappointed This Mother’s Day.  In this article Lisa-Jo discusses what we as mothers EXPECT; her point on Motherhood being more […]

  15. […] more experienced and wise on the topic of motherhood and entitlements. Lisa-Jo Baker in her recent blog post this Mother’s Day, […]

  16. […] few days before Mother’s Day, a friend sent me this post on how not to be disappointed on Mother’s Day.  One suggestions is “write each of your kids an individual list of why you love being their […]

Hide me
Free eBook for Blog Subscribers!
Just enter your email & you'll receive a welcome email with a link to download the eBook. Easy Peasy!
Show me