Yesterday was Mother’s Day. A time to celebrate, honor or at least recognize the person who literally – and in so many other ways – made us who we are today.
It is so easy and unfortunate, to take our mothers for granted or become frustrated with what we see as their mistakes and missteps. To say that moms take a lot of grief would be an understatement. I see it play out regularly in my home with my three daughters and remember it when I was younger with my own mom.
Growing up we had a scarcity of many things – but struggles were in abundance. We were classic latch-key kids. My mom’s absence was the by-product of working long and late hours as a bartender trying to raise three young children on her own.
Many years later, we found ourselves back in our hometown of Chelsea, Massachusetts. It was the first time the four of us had been together there in over thirty years. As we sat eating dinner, we began having fun at her expense. Joking about how she wasn’t around many nights, the Spam sandwiches that were a staple of our diet or having to clean up ashtrays after she had friends over. At some point, it became too much. She stood up from her chair in tears. She looked at us and said, “I did the best I could. I was a twenty five year old kid trying to raise you all on my own — all while dealing with my own problems.” She stormed out of the restaurant in tears.
I was broken with guilt.
We chased her down the street, apologized and told her how much we loved her and appreciated all that we did. Cue group hug.
I will never forget that moment or ever again take my mom for granted. It is impossible for any child to ever know the depth of sacrifice or appreciate the breadth of effort and emotion that goes into being a mom. The fullness of their lived experience is largely a mystery to us. Which is why, with this ignorance and humility, we should always err on giving our mom’s a break.
As I write this, both the mother of my three children – my wife – and my own mother are dealing with uncertain health situations. Both bring fear, worry and trepidation.
I refuse to envision worse case scenarios. I cannot imagine life without a mother – for me, my children or anyone. Their mere presence in this world makes that world feel safe, more secure, more beautiful and of course more full of love.
Yet for most of us that day will sadly come. Until then, let’s not just honor our mom’s one day of the year but better support them the other 364. Two-thirds of moms say that being a mom is so much harder than they thought it would be. Half say they are tired and feel judged most of the time.
This article “What Kind of Support Do Moms Need?” lays out some specific ways we can do for moms what they so often do for us – support and love us unconditionally. In addition to the Mother’s Day flowers, perhaps we can make this the gift that keeps giving.
Here’s to all the moms out there. Thank you.