OK all you fans of moms the world over. Allow me to let you in on the dirty little secret that may be plaguing the mom in your life: she puts herself down every day. If she’s been a mom for even a week, she has begun to nit-pick and obsess over whether she is good enough. Moms with older children are highly skilled at negative self-talk because our list of mistakes gets longer every day.
And we moms refuse to forget our mistakes. We can’t accept the fact that we are human and therefore, imperfect. We can’t move on, learn, and grow with joy. We moms cling to and collect our sins for safekeeping. We’re the worst kind of hoarders in this regard. One image that comes to mind is the out-put of a diaper genie, that nasty, smelly blue sack of poo. We moms have a weird obsession with collecting our messes – big and small – and storing them in the closet of our minds.
Another, more powerful image is listening to my 90-year old grandmother as she lamented the 18 months she lived in a sanitarium apart from her newborn son (my uncle) because she had tuberculosis. She chose an experimental treatment that required this isolation from family and many of those who entered treatment with my grandmother died. She lived! What a wonderful gift she gave her family. Yet sixty years later she was convinced that separation from her son led to many of his trials and poor decisions. It was painful to hear her beat herself up for something so long ago and so out of her control.
So now that you know how ugly and long-lasting our negative self-talk can be, you have some inspiration for a Mother’s Day gift.
Take a moment to write down how you feel about the mom in your life. I know you may tell her all the time. I know you have often encouraged her not to be so hard on herself. I know you may say thanks for all she does for you, but writing it down makes it permanent. It gives her something to return to when she feels unworthy. Even though store-bought greeting cards are special, the thoughtfulness and sacrifice of writing from your own heart will really have a powerful impact. And if you involve the children and grands, the words and artwork will be treasured like no bouquet of flowers or bathrobe can ever be.
In fact, my mom saved very little of our childhood handiwork, but she did save two cards my younger brother and I gave her on Mother’s Day in elementary school.
One of my favorite gifts from my children was this compilation of reasons why they love me.
I won’t share everything each child wrote, but here are some excerpts:
- Cynthia: You have, and will always be there for me!
- Carrie: You like clothes just as much as I do!
- Sara: You teach me wrong from right.
- Kellye: Your heart to serve others is amazing. U da bomb dot com!
- Michael: You always support me no matter how bad my situation is!
- Erica: You pick up the phone when I call every day!
- Andrea: You love the Lord with all your heart.
These words written 10 years ago when our eldest was 21, are dear to me and will never be thrown away. They are a great reminder of the ways I have been a good mom and that my children actually notice what is good. They aren’t criticizing me the way I criticize myself.
So you have two weeks to put your thoughts on paper for your favorite mom. Don’t feel pressure to frame it or make it fancy. Simple paper. Simple words. Profound blessing.
Here children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also and he praises her.