Today is Mother's Day. In our culture we have tried to turn a day of honoring the women who raise us into a day of selfish indulgence. As contemporary American mothers we are taught to expect a day of pampering, presents, and rest. Essentially, we tend to think of Mother's Day as a day free from the responsibilities of motherhood. A mother who does not mother? Does that even make sense?
I believe the primary justification for this kind of behavior stems from a society in which everyone believes they are owed something. Mothers work very hard...true. Mothers rarely get a day off...true. Mothers deserve to be rewarded for their work...perhaps...but does that mean that we are 'owed' a day free from familial contribution?
This morning I found myself grumbling as I woke at 6:30, got myself and all four kids ready for church, and tried to clean up the breakfast mess, all while my husband kind of sat around looking dazed. Doesn't he know it's Mother's Day? Doesn't he realize that I deserve a day off? Apparently not.
By the time we made it to church I was fuming. My husband hadn't helped me get the kids ready, I knew that I would be cooking lunch and washing dishes as soon as church was over, and I was fed up. Meanwhile, without any regard for my own personal dilemma, my pastor began preaching. Do you know that he had the nerve to preach out of I Corinthians 13, the love chapter?
One of the first things out of my pastor's mouth, as he had all of the mothers in the congregation stand up, was that we deserve recognition and appreciation because we carry the primary responsibility for the spiritual training of our children. Oh crap. He went on...not that fathers don't carry that responsibility as well, but children generally spend more time with their mothers during their formative years, thus it is from their mothers that they learn a large slice of their spirituality. Double crap. He also mentioned something about being selfless and not always thinking about ourselves. Crap, crap, crap.
So what did I learn in church this morning? Raising children is the most important job ever. We are responsible for their spiritual training? Wow, what a huge responsibility. How could I have taken motherhood so lightly? It's not just about making breakfast, giving baths, and folding laundry, we are responsible for raising godly people. How am I supposed to train my kids in spiritual matters if I can't even make it through the morning without complaining about silly things?
A mother is not defined by the amount of clothes she folds or the number of dirty plates she washes, the primary indicator of a good mother is the selfless love that she lavishes on her children. The fact that she spends forty minutes scrubbing the stains out of her three-year-old's favorite dress, or two hours blistering in the summer heat to watch her son play baseball. A mother is willing to lay down her own life for her child, just as God showed His love for us when He sent His son to die on calvary.
Happy Mother's Day!
P.S. My husband loaded the dishwasher and offered to take me out for dinner. Miracles do happen!