It is easy to be cynical and dismissive about Mother’s Day. Isn’t it just an opportunity for retailers to make some money, not to mention flower shops and restaurants? Sometimes it seems as if the day is for easing the guilt we can feel over not relating much to our mothers over the rest of the year. If I spend some time, some money on my mother today, then it is all right not to include her much in my life for the rest of the year.
In my family of origin, the tradition was always to give mum breakfast in bed. She tells of burnt toast with lumps of butter and jam on it, and luke-warm tea being presented to her with great pride by me and my siblings and of her having to eat it with enjoyment as we watched. She is a great lady. She will be 89 on May 28. I remember my own children presenting me with freshly-picked and already wilting bouquets of dandelions and wonderful handmade cards.
These days it is always about e-cards, phone calls and being remembered. No presents. Mothers, especially many young mothers, need encouraging these days, don’t they? Some women are not only wives and mothers, they are breadwinners too. The fact is that there are many women who are having to do far more than I think the Lord ever intended mothers to do. Proverbs 31, the description of the wife of noble character, is a little daunting, to say the least. Our society has changed and the role of a mother has too.
When I was growing up, my mother, besides being a wife, had one job – that of raising 6 children. Things were changing when I was a young mum. Gene and I chose for me to not work outside the home and I was blessed to be able to do that without financial hardship. We made some sacrifices, sure, but on the whole it was great for us and our children.
I guess that what it comes down to, doesn’t it – the choices we make. We choose our husband, we choose our careers. Sometimes our choices lead us to have to work outside the home. Most often we can even choose how many children to have. And usually we can choose to be a mother, or choose not to be.
I would like to acknowledge here those women who are mothers and didn’t choose to be and women who long to be mothers, but are unable to be, and those mothers who have had a child die. I think mother’s day must be a painful time for all those women. When we thank the Lord for our own mothers and for our children, we must remember to pray for those women, our hurting sisters.
But whatever choices we make and wherever that leads us as mothers, we have the most important choice always before us. To choose to follow our Lord Jesus and be in God’s will as we parent, work, manage our homes, be wives to our husbands, or go it alone as a single parent. And as we are children to our own mother – remember the 5th commandment. No matter where we are, we can still choose the Lord’s way – loving our God with our heart mind soul and strength and our neighbour as ourselves. That is what will make us good mothers, and good daughters to our own mothers. This mothering business is about loving and being loved. It is about choosing to imitate our Lord in our words, our work, our mothering, and our treatment of those who mother differently from us. I pray that we all, with God’s help, will be the mothers that he has created us to be.