Mopping Up Mother's Day

dad and kids giving mom flowers
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When it comes to Mother's Day, I'm that easy-to-please woman who says, "Don't make a fuss over me. Just take me to Costco for pizza, spring for a soda, and I'll be happy." And when I say it, I really think I mean it.

Invariably, though, something mars the day. The children swat at each other in the backseat during the three-minute jaunt to Costco. They whine that they're starving because they only get to eat two gargantuan slices of pizza. And when we get home, my husband hands me a mop so I can join in the family's weekly house-cleaning routine. After I've sent one or two humans to time-out and wept pitifully into my mop, I realize, "OK, maybe I sort of do care about Mother's Day."

Mother's Day can be fraught with disappointment. Though we ask for little, we may still be unwittingly tangled up with unrealistic expectations. When we admit that the fairytale day — complete with well-groomed, pleasant-mannered children basking gratefully in the warm glow of our motherhood — only exists on commercials for greeting card companies, we're finally set free to enjoy the real day. And the real children!

Though I've had one or two decidedly disappointing Mother's Days, I've found that the day unfolds most pleasantly when I'm able to keep my sense of humor. My most cherished memory stems from a gift from my sons' preschool teachers. These thoughtful ladies asked each of the children to share their perceptions of their mother, jotting the children's thoughts down on a card to be sent home and opened on Sunday. When asked about my age, which was 36 at the time, one of my sons estimated, "My mother is 17." I love this child very much.

My other child offered, "My mother is 70 years old."

To this I say, "Boo!" And though no greeting card company will ever print my children's sentiments, it was still my best Mother's Day ever.

When the second Sunday in May rolls around, be ready to laugh with your kids — possibly at yourself — as you enjoy the gifts you've already been given: your children! 

Tips to make Mother's Day less stressful

  • Let your loved ones know what you would like.
  • Let your loved ones know what you would NOT like.
  • Maintain your sense of humor.
  • Practice gratitude — thank God for the blessing of your children.
Margot Starbuck is the author of  Small Things With Great Love: Adventures in Loving Your Neighbor.
This article first appeared in the Summer 2012 issue of Focus on the Family's Thriving Family magazine.

Copyright © 2012 by Margot Starbuck. Used by permission.  From the Focus on the Family website at FocusOnTheFamily.com.

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