Happy Mother’s Day. From My Trench To Yours.

I’m going to confess something.  And I thought long and hard about whether to publish this post today.  Because it’s not the typical “Happy Mother’s Day” post that I’ve seen floating around this week on WordPress, Facebook, Blogspot, and all of the other places where blogs reside online.  I tried to write that kind of post, and each time I took a stab at it, it felt fake, concocted, lacking in authenticity, disingenuous, and really, not all that honest.  

But there is something on my heart today that needs to be said, and it starts with a confession.

 

This Mother’s Day, I’m down in the dumps.  

 

Maybe it’s because I turned 40 on Friday, and for the first time in my life, I’m feeling “old.”

Maybe it’s because my middle child is “graduating” from Kindergarten next week, and I’m really sad about that.

Maybe it’s because my husband had to work much of the weekend, I had primary responsibility for the kids, and I’m feeling extra tired today.

Maybe it’s because Little Bit called me “mean” when I gave him a consequence for a poor choice he made this morning.  So today, I’ve been confronted, yet again, with the reality that being a mom can be a thankless job.

Maybe it’s because, as typical, on Sundays I function a bit like a single mom, and Mother’s Day is no different.  (And on that note, my hat is “off” to any of you who are raising kids without a spouse.  My prayers are with you, and I have the utmost respect for what you do every day.)

Maybe it’s because this is the first birthday and Mother’s Day that I’ve spent away from our old church family and my friends of 11+ years, and I’m homesick.

Or maybe it’s because I woke up to this:

 And this:

And a handful of other things that must be done today.  

And I realized that, even on Mother’s Day, the work never stops.

 

I’m a mom “in the trenches.”  

Today, I’m acutely aware of it.  

And I feel very much alone.  

 

But when I strolled into church this morning and took my seat on the front row, someone noticed that I wasn’t myself.  She noticed because she, too, is “in the trenches,” she’s a pastor’s wife herself, and probably more than most people in my life, she understands me.  

She noticed that when our oldest was playing chimes this morning, I was staring through her, completely absent from the moment.

She noticed that when my husband cracked a few jokes from the pulpit during his sermon, I didn’t laugh.

And when she approached me after the service and asked me how I was, she noticed that I was fighting back the tears.  

So instead of going to Sunday School like she would normally do during the 9:45 hour, she swept me away to my husband’s office for a cup of coffee and some girl time.

And for the next 60 minutes, we swapped stories about how things are going, what we’re currently struggling with, and the ins and outs of being moms “in the trenches”.  And I confessed that I was having a really bad day.

That was the best Mother’s Day present anyone could have given me today.  

And I realized that it was the best present because it was given to me by someone who truly understands.  Someone who shares my mother’s heart.  Someone who’s experienced the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of motherhood.  Someone who knows what it feels like not to feel appreciated.  And someone who’s experienced days where simply putting one foot in front of the other requires tremendous effort.  

It made me realize that, despite the very best of intentions, there are days when no gift, no word, and no gesture offered to me by my children or my husband could validate and affirm my efforts as a mom quite like a gift, a word, or a gesture offered to me by another mom.  I think this is particularly true on Mother’s Day because I think my expectations are sometimes too high.

No doubt my children and my husband love and appreciate me.  

They just don’t understand me.  Not like other mothers do.

So this morning, I realized that I need to look at Mother’s Day from a wholly different perspective.  

I need to STOP looking at Mother’s Day as the one day of the year that I have the RIGHT to be honored by my husband and children.  I’m called to serve my family, and even on Mother’s Day, I need to approach my role with the heart of a servant.  I also need to take note of all the times throughout the year that they do honor me.  Because they do.  In their own special ways.  

I need to STOP trying to use Mother’s Day as a “get out of jail free card” to avoid my responsibilities for my family because life never stops.  Even on Mother’s Day.  Particularly when the children are so young.  As a result, even today, there are things I must tend to.  And life will be so much more pleasant for all of us if I tend to them with a happy heart.

I need to STOP expecting my children and my husband to “get it” on Mother’s Day or any other day of the year for that matter.  No disrespect intended, but they won’t.  And that’s OK.  Motherhood is a sisterhood.  And it takes one to really know and understand one.      

And I need to START looking at Mother’s Day as an opportunity for me to bless other moms who stand with me “in the trenches.”  To notice the ones who may be struggling.  To give them words of affirmation.  To do something nice for them.  To hug them, look them in the eyes, and wish them a Happy Mother’s Day.  And to communicate to them in whatever way I can, that at least in some ways, I understand their journeys.

That’s what Mother’s Day needs to mean for me.    

So to my sweet new friend and partner in ministry.  Thank you for being my confidant today.  Thank you for standing in the trenches of ministry and motherhood with me.  Thank you for not judging my honesty.  For listening to me.  And for sharing openly with me parts of your own journey.  You are in my prayers.

And to all of the moms who are reading this post.  

Happy Mother’s Day.  

From my trench to yours.  

May each of you know that the work you do as a mom is eternally significant.  On the good, the bad, and even the ugliest of days.

May you look to God, and not to your families, as the source of your inspiration to press on.  Daily.  

And may you experience the fullness of God’s unconditional love and grace in your life and in your motherhood.  Always.

 

 

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9 thoughts on “Happy Mother’s Day. From My Trench To Yours.

  1. This is exactly the reason my trip with five other quad moms meant the world to me last weekend. We’ve become members of a sisterhood where everyone “gets it”. We message each other daily, checking in to see if it’s a rough day, or if we have something to celebrate. I’d be lost without my “sisters” of other quad moms, women who experienced infertility/ loss, and every mother who is in the trenches. I’m here with you to share your joys and pick you up when you’re down. By the way, you look great as a 40 something. I hope it’s from good genes. xoxo Amber

    • I’m so glad you got to spend that time with your “sisters”! I’m sure it was incredibly meaningful and encouraging to be together. There is something about the bond of motherhood, isn’t there? Thanks for your sweet words. Happy Mother’s Day!

  2. Jennifer, we at Custer Road love you, Kory and your sweet family more than you will ever know and I know this year has probably been one of the toughest you all have ever faced. We are so blessed to have you we and wouldn’t change it for the world! I don’t know who it was that came to and spent time with you this morning, but God bless them. And that’s the way our awesome, amazing church is. We all love and care about each other so very much. Yes, we are big, but so very close and I am so glad you were able to see that today. I see it every single Sunday when I walk through the doors and get hugs from 20 people before I ever make it to the AV room! Happy Mother’s Day my sweet friend!

  3. I took a ‘break’ from packing – Allan’s is finished – mine isn’t started! What does that tell you?! Thank you for ‘another’ incredibly wonderful post – wonderful in the sense that you ‘get it’ – and wonderful in the sense that God gets it! And HE will always honor your love for your husband and children because you honor HIM first – and look to ‘him alone’ for your strength in the ‘trenches’. Signed – ‘a grateful mother-in-law’. I love you…..oh – and P.S. – thanks for taking the time to wish me an early ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ greeting by text. It meant the world to me – as do ‘you’.

  4. Jennifer,
    Just wanted you to know how much I appreciate your post about Mother’s Day. I am just now reading it on WEDNESDAY morning, so that’s how my weekend rolled. I had a wonderful day, but not without some of your same feelings, and my girls are 30 & 20. I was the one that called the oldest to find a time when she and her fiance could have a meal with us, because her sisters are both in town, which is rare, and I so wanted a “whole” family meal. After much conversation, I finally got it negotiated for Sunday morning after we all went to church together, time determined by when they had to be at the Ballpark to watch the Rangers, and then to breakfast at Cindi’s after church, because that would fit into their schedule. I turned to Robert after several phone calls and said…”shouldn’t she be calling me and the girls working out when they could be with me on Mother’s Day”? I like you, had to take a step back and remind myself, that if I didn’t have those 3 angels, I wouldn’t be trying to celebrate Mother’s Day at all, but all I wanted from them was time. If you have a chance, you might listen to Paul Rasmussen’s sermon on hpumc.org. He said the same thing Sunday morning… that mothers of all sorts or situations, many times only need time.
    Love to you all.
    Betsy (used to be Fisher) Hurst

    • Betsy: Thank you so much for taking the time to reply and to share such honest feelings with me and all of the people who read this blog. I appreciate your vulnerability. Thank you for helping me keep healthy perspective by reminding me how fortunate I am to have a family to tend to. My time with them is precious even when it feels like so much work! Happy Belated Mother’s Day to you!

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