I am intimidated by Mother's Day. The cards all wax eloquent thanking me for being so selfless and giving; for putting aside my own desires to focus on the wants of my kids; for being patient and kind; even for having gentle hands that nurture.
That's just really not me. I am often selfish and needy, impatient and rude, rough and crass. I feel like a fraud when I accept the humble offerings of my kids on this day.
I am human and imperfect. My children know this about me and I am sure that picking out the perfect Mother's Day card is difficult for them. I imagine them standing in the aisle rejecting card after card, until they finally find a safe, funny one.
I hate that the holiday objectifies motherhood until it is something angelic and saintly like halos and gold dust. I know few women who can live up to that.
It portrays the "good" mothers are those who can read the same favorite bedtime stories for hours on end, instead of hiding the annoying books and leaving out only the short ones....that rhyme. They can create gourmet meals on a shoe string budget, instead of serving frozen pizza for the 3rd time this week. There is no way they have a hidden chocolate stash, but if they did and it was found, they'd be sure to share, instead of lunging for it and yelling, "MINE!"
The truth is I love my kids. I clean up their bodily fluids because it needs to be done, not because I am saint-like. I delight in them because they're, well, delightful. I try to do what's best for them and can agonize for weeks over the simplest decision.
I'm just a mom. I feel like I am failing much more often than succeeding. I notice all the the things I'm not doing, over all I am. I worry that I'm not disciplining enough, enjoying them enough, teaching them enough, loving them enough...that I'm not enough.
Instead of thanking me for what I have done, Mother's Day - with it's sappy cards, commercials, and sermons - just spotlights for me the areas I'm lacking. Next year, I'm going to unplug from all the media pressure and enjoy my family as they celebrate imperfect me.