Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Risky Muse on Mother's Day Sunday

This is going to sound a wee bit like a rant. And I wish there was a way to avoid that. I'd like to express some opinions, at the risk of controversy and sounding like a whiny baby.

I've observed something for a while now, on various days of distinction. But particularly on days like today: Mother's Day. We live in such an equalizing society...where everything has to be level and even, and we don't want to make anyone uncomfortable....ever. I hear that schools now often give "participation awards" rather than recognizing actual achievements made. We just throw everything into one big pot, stir it up and dole out equal portions to all. Society, I mean.

The church falls prey to this, too. Sometimes I think we should rename Mother's Day as "Female's Day". We're so afraid of somehow hurting somebody's feelings or leaving someone out, that we bend over backwards to honor females in general....and in the process, I think something very precious and valuable is lost. And that is the opportunity to actually give HONOR to the women who are MOTHERS!

I told you up front this was a risky post. I sure don't want to sound like I'm against honoring females....let's go for it! Let's honor everywhere everywhere at all times.......but on MOTHER'S
DAY let's try to remember to honor motherhood!!

While many people fill nurturing roles, and have "maternal" spirits, and all that is true, there is a unique intrinsic mystery that is part of the process of a journey in life called "motherhood". It can't be compared or lumped in with some other area or way of understanding. It is a great mystery and a great miracle to carry life within do everything possible to bring that life safely into this world, to nurture, care for, and sustain that life that is utterly dependent on you. To constantly be on call 24 hrs a day for everything big and discipline, to train, to influence.....all of the things that we know Motherhood is and involves. Of course this includes adoptive Moms as well....even though that journey begins past the initial stages of life, once it's embarked upon it is a lifelong commitment and responsibility for those moms as well.

So I think that on Mother's Day, it should be about Mothers. Biological and Adoptive. But about Mothers. And Mothers only. Not women. Not men. Not society at large in it's "maternal" universe. About Moms.

And if that sounds whiny and ranty, then so be it. I guess since it's Mother's Day, I'll take the chance on being politically incorrect and hopefully getting a free pass!!!

To every Mother reading this.....I hope you manage to have a wonderful day that you can enjoy to the fullest. Don't beat yourself up for the areas where you lack. Be thankful for the fact that God trusted you enough to lend these souls into your care. Increase in your areas of strength, and know that with the dawning of each new day is a clean slate, and renewed mercies from above.

Now for my disclaimer: I think it is appropriate if people want to honor women in their lives who have been "like a mother" to them. I just think that should be an individual's decision. There are indeed some fantastic ladies out there who have played critical roles in the development of lives....even if they're not a mom. And if you have someone like that in your life, then by all means let that person know how much they mean to you!!! I just worry with it being corporately forced. I also want to point out, that sometimes when you just hand out Mother's Day flowers to everyone, even just newlywed girls for example, you do them the disservice of making the time when they actuallybecome a mother less special. If they take home a flower every Mother's Day, it devalues the flower received on the Sunday that they actually are a Mom for the first time. This is all just my two cents, worth nothing more I'm sure!

Disclaimer, Number Two: Another thing that is rarely talked about, but is very real, is that some people just don't have warm fuzzy feelings on Mother's Day at all. Maybe you got a bum rap in the Mother department and your Mom didn't do a very praise-worthy job as you were growing up. That is nothing for you to be ashamed of. That is your reality, and you have every right to own it. I don't think glowing, unrealistic tales of Motherhood do ANYONE a service on Mother's Day: whether you're one who didn't have a mom like that, or whether you yourself are not a mom like that! I don't think Mother's Day should be about honoring a fantasy or a fake angelic perception. It should simply be to give honor where honor is truly due. Again, each individual knows what that means for them. My thoughts here I guess were/are more directed at what is done as a corporate, public recognition of the holiday.

Whew! I'm done! :)


Anonymous said...

Feel better now? ;-) Happy Mother's Day to you, my friend!

Kimberly said...

You're a hoot! Will you still be my friend even though my little fan at the catholic church gave me one of the "Mother's" carnations?:)

Well i guess I maybe agree sorta...who is trying to honor non-mother's on mother's day...? i haven't really seen that occuring too much...and yes I stayed seated and didn't make a scene when all the mother's were honored (rightfully so) at my church services today:)

re: the 2nd disclaimer: so true...there is a lot of pressure to be or pretend you had the ideal...never good for anyone, imo. Maybe that has something to do w/this being a holiday that makes a lot of $$$.

Sure love you and you're a GOOD, GOOD Mom!

Tara said...

Love you both, too! :)
I will simply say that I wrote this shortly after the Sunday morning service on Mother's Day. You can infer from there!

Perhaps it's just my own little corner where I see this unfortunate occurrence. Hopefully so.

Precious that a child gave you a flower, Kim. Truly!

Juwah said...

Loved the "rant". :) BTW, Happy Birthday too. I did think about you, just too much of a loser to actually do anything about it.

Linda S said...

Tara, this is Marty's mom. At our church we honor all ladies. You have but to talk to Susan and Cheryl and see how uncomfortable ladies without children feel on Mother's Day. Many women would have loved to have had children and their heart's desire needs to be honored and appreciated. Many women who are unable to have children decide not to attend church that day in order to avoid the miserable feelings that go with it. Therefore we celebrate the gift of womenhood and all it represents at our church. My husband thinks of them as women who would have loved to have been a mother, actual mothers, and mothers to be. We have gifts for girl toddlers up to those needing wheelchairs. We had a Hawaiin theme this year. Each girl and woman was greeted at the door and a lea was placed around her neck. So before they ever took their seat they knew someone thought they were special. Then our gifts had a Hawaiin theme and the spiritual emphasis was there will someday be an eternal vacation in heaven. Well, there's my two cents. :)

Linda S said...

Can you find my misspelled word in my last post?

Tara said...

Yes..."lei"! :)

I appreciate and value your point of view, Mrs. S. I think these things are often opinions we arrive at based on our own experiences.

I still tend to stand by my feelings that Mother's Day is for mothers. I think honoring women in general is a wonderful idea, just not sure that is the day to do it. There are also some women who though they are of child-bearing age, and able to have children, choose not to do so for personal reasons. I'm just uncomfortable lumping all people in together.

We also don't give gifts to all of our children on each of their birthdays. I know some people who provide a small gift for all the children in their family on one child's birthday... so none will feel left out.

My heart is very compassionate toward those, such as Susan and Cheryl, who have/
(are) struggled with infertility. I don't have the answers for that kind of pain. I can't imagine what that must be like.

I just know that we can't fix everything in this life, and I worry that our society attempts to re-define terms a lot.

Thanks again for your comment! Loved hearing from you, and your service does sound like a LOT of fun!!

p.s. I'm not uncomfortable with a little healthy debate!! It's okay if no one changes the other's mind. :) I only responded this directly to you because I know you're a direct lady who raised some very strong daughters, and you can take it!

Linda S said...

I chuckled inwardly when I read your reply to mine. Actually "lei" wasn't the word I noticed after I had published my post. Maybe I was wrong on the other word. :) Yes, everyone approached from their own perspective. I have always disagreed with the birthday gift thing also. Maybe you and I could compromise and have a Mother's Day at church and a Women's Day at church. :) I posted and then worried that I should not have done so, but some things I feel strongly about.....all in one's perspective. Thanks for being a good friend to my daughters.

Jody J said...

I agree with you on this one, Tara. Although, I totally understand Linda's perspective. As you know, Jenny struggled with infertility (so it is very close to home) and it is very painful. But oh, the joy when she brough her first adopted baby home. It made the wait worth while.
There is an older lady in our church that was never able to have children. Somebody makes sure she has a gift after the service, but she does not come up front with all the mothers.
I was in a Mother's Day service once where they gave all the females a flower - even the little girls! Then, on Father's Day they gave all the males a gift. I did think that was very inappropriate.
I love it when you rant! :)

Anonymous said...

Who ever read in the bible that they had a "Mother's Day" at the temple? I think it is best to leave out the world when it comes to church and bring in the gospel. Don't get me wrong, I do honor mother's that are mother's indeed, but it has it's place and church is not it. On the contary, the Lord admonished us not to lift ourselves up or think more highly of ourselves than we ought. I am not saying that we are doing that by getting a flower but shouldn't we be lifting up the Lord instead of mother's? or father's? in church? Should it just be at home and in our own families?
Just wondering.