Can I be honest? I used to hate Mother’s Day.
It felt kind of like “Mother’s Yearly Evaluation Day” to me. It was like a report card on my mothering and I used the day as a massive evidence-gathering mission on all the ways I was failing as a mother.
Which were many.
When my kids fought and argued on Mother’s Day, it was clear evidence that I was a terrible mother and hadn’t taught them how to love each other.
When nobody pitched in to help cook or clean on Mother’s Day, I used it as evidence that I’m the only one who does things around here and my family doesn’t really care about me.
When my husband didn’t get me flowers or the right gift it was evidence that he thought I was a terrible mother and wished he had made a better choice. (I even used to compare the amount he spent on me with the amount he spent on his secretary for “Executive Assistant Day” and compared which one of us he thought was doing a better job—believe me, that felt good.)
When the speakers at church talked about how their mothers never yelled and were endlessly patient and always compassionate, I would use it as more evidence that I was surely the worst mother in the kingdom of God and my poor kids were the innocent victims of my ineptitude.
Do you see how fun Mother’s Day was?
But here’s what I want you to know. I was only wanting everyone in my life to give me validation of my worth as a mother because I did not believe in my own worth as a mother. In other words, if I could find evidence that they thought I was a good mom, then maybe I could believe I was a good mom.
This was giving them an impossible job. Outside people and gifts and flowers and talks could never make me feel like a good mom, because deep down, I did not believe I was a good mom. And then I blamed them for making me feel bad. (Happy Mother's Day, to all of us.)
Here’s the thing: Each one of us gets to decide our own definition of what makes a good mom. Keep in mind that your definition should never be based on other people’s results. Your kids get to choose. Your kids get to not believe. Your kids get to be angry and sad and disappointed. And none of it means anything about your mothering. It just means they are humans (that you created!) with the agency to think and act for themselves.
For me, I believe that I am a good mom because I love my children and I taught them what I thought was important. It doesn’t mean I did any of it perfectly. That’s not in my job description, see? My definition does not say love and teach them perfectly. It just says love and teach them.
The truth is I did this and continue to do this in the best way I know how and that (alone) makes me a great mom…in fact, it makes me the perfect mom for them.
And the best part is, I just get to believe this.
When I really started believing this, Mother’s Day changed for me. Actually, when I started believe this, motherhood itself changed for me.
I’m a good mom.
And so are you.
(If you look, you will find tons of evidence for this beautiful thought.)