Years ago, a good friend of mine gave me a hilarious book called Today I Will Nourish My Inner Martyr: Affirmations for Cynics. If you know me, you know that I am totally into affirmations. I say them every day. My kids have “AFFIRMATIONS” listed on their job chart. And before I let them leave the house, I ask, “Did you brush your teeth, say your prayers and do your affirmations?” I am just kind of crazy in love with affirmations! And this book is full of them…. but not exactly the good kind. For example:
Today I will become an expert at hiding my feelings.
Today I will pretend that everyone I see is judging me.
Guilt will be the driving force behind all my actions today.
I will remain tense all day.
Are you laughing? This book is pretty hilarious.
I am not a cynic. And yet, every year, around Mother’s Day, cynicism seems to bubble up in me spontaneously. There is something about this holiday that makes me feel like I wrote this book.
I hate Mother’s Day. No, that is not true. I am just a Mother’s Day grinch.
I have a wonderful mother. She is an angel! I have an amazing mother-in-law and grandmothers. I appreciate them! I definitely want to recognize them for their sacrifice and their investment in me.
I have a dear husband and eight remarkable children. They are my life. I have been richly blessed with all the opportunities of motherhood. It is the life I have chosen. And I don’t even resent the sacrifice it requires. Why, then, do I cry (and not a happy cry) when I hear the words: “Dear mother these flowers remind me of you?”
Motherhood itself is a sensitive subject. It evokes our greatest joys and our deepest sorrows. For many, unmarried and childless women, Mother’s Day arouses visceral grief. Some, who have had children, are unable to have more. And others have no spouse to support and appreciate them in their most demanding role. I weep for all these women on Mother’s Day. Their pain is real.
Even those women who seem to have ideal family situations, like me, have very real struggles. Motherhood is tremendous work; it requires absolutely everything we have to give. And so often, we feel like we are failing. For me, Mother’s Day exposes a great divide—a gaping separation between the mother I am and the mother I wish I could be.
At some level, I wish my life were picture perfect, with me an ageless beauty rearing clean and cooperative, flower-bearing children.
Every year, I am asked what I want for Mother’s Day. And every year, I am frustrated by the question. My children should already know what I want. After all, I tell them EVERY day. But they are generous and want to buy me something, a token of their love.
I want to tell them that when we really appreciate our mothers, when we really love them and value them, we will work to become who they raised us to be. We will honor their lives and their sacrifice with ours.
I want to tell them to be their very best selves, despite all my mistakes. That is what I really want for Mother’s Day.
I know that my husband and kids need me to graciously receive their adoration… and not have a meltdown or cry and lock myself in my bedroom (not that I have ever done that before). After all, I am the mother and it is my job to teach my children to show proper gratitude.
Because they need me to be emotionally healthy on this very special day, I will be making use of the following affirmation:
Today I will have absolutely NO expectations!
Or even better than my silly, cynical affirmation, I could humble myself and say these. After all, Mother’s Day follows closely on the heels of Easter.
Today I will depend more completely on my Savior.
Where I lack, He will make me enough.
Where I fail, He will succeed.
Where I sorrow, He will comfort me.
Where I have unmet expectations, He will bring me peace.