The ‘Perfect’ Mother’s Day

By Jill Savage
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
Jess Golden

As you sort through your unmet expectations on Mother’s Day, realize that you may play a part in fueling your disappointments.

All I asked for was some help planting summer flowers in the pots and flower beds in our yard, I ruminated. This was my honest answer to their question about what I wanted for Mother’s Day. It seemed simple enough, didn’t cost them a dime and could have been great family fun.


Related content: No More Perfect Moms: Learn to Love Your Real Life


Why then wasn’t the day turning out the way I imagined it would? When I asked the family to pull together and do something, why did it feel like I was herding cats? The more I asked myself these questions, the more I came face to face with my unrealistic hopes for the “perfect” Mother’s Day.

Unmet expectations

Somebody once told me that expectations can become preconceived resentments. Indeed, my expectations were building into resentment, and I needed to do something about it. As I explored what was going on in my heart, I found I was harboring three kinds of expectations:

The unknown. Presumptions often come from our family of origin and include the traditions, routines and habits that feel “normal” to each of us. Because we usually spend about 18 years doing things a certain way, we don’t give much thought to the fact that there might be other ways to celebrate special occasions.

The unspoken. These are the things we feel we shouldn’t need to tell our spouse or our children because it’s a certainty in our mind. For instance, if I expect not to cook or do dishes on Mother’s Day, but I don’t let my family know that’s my desire, then I’ve created an unspoken expectation.

The unrealistic. These hopes are often idealistic. Let’s be honest, it’s unrealistic of me to think that five kids of varying ages and personalities can come together perfectly to help with planting flowers.

As I sorted through my unmet expectations, I realized that I was the one fueling my own disappointment nearly every Mother’s Day.

Addressing my expectations

Speak up. If your idea of a perfect day is to spend it alone, then let your family know you love them very much but you’d appreciate a little bit of personal time. If you don’t want to make meals on your day, share that desire with your spouse and talk about practical ways to make that happen. My husband, Mark, always wanted to take the family out to eat on Mother’s Day, but taking five children to a restaurant did not feel like fun to me. As a compromise, we agreed on takeout food for lunch and pizza for dinner.

Practice gratefulness. Instead of seeing what isn’t happening, pay attention to what is happening. While my whole family wasn’t helping with planting flowers like I had hoped they would, I did have 15 minutes of one-on-one conversation with my teenage son, and later, I had some girl time when my two daughters slipped on garden gloves and joined me. A grateful heart made it easier to see the blessings of the day.

Give grace. It’s entirely possible your family will do very little to make your day special. It’s also possible they won’t respond even if you make your desires known. And sometimes they will make an effort, but it won’t look like you thought it would. This is where you have to respond with grace. Mark and I use the term “grace space” to describe the effort we make to allow our family members to be imperfect. Grace allows others to be human and make mistakes; it allows for different personalities and priorities.

Change your expectations. You may need to adjust your wishes to better match reality. No Mother’s Day will look like a Hallmark commercial, and there’s nothing magical about setting aside one day to honor one person. If you’re loved every other day of the year, you’re certainly loved on the second Sunday in May.

This year I’m giving myself four gifts for Mother’s Day. I’m going to speak up, practice gratefulness, give grace and change my expectations. Wanna join me?

Jill Savage is the founder and CEO of Hearts at Home, a ministry for moms. Jill’s 11 books include No More Perfect Moms and her most recent release, No More Perfect Marriages.

© 2017 by Jill Savage. Used by permission.

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

About the Author

Jill Savage

Jill Savage is a popular public speaker and has written seven books including Professionalizing Motherhood, Real Moms … Real Jesus and No More Perfect Moms. She is the founder of Hearts at Home and served as the ministry’s director for 24 years. Jill and her husband, Mark, reside in Illinois. They have five children and several grandchildren. Learn more about …

You May Also Like

Thank you [field id="first_name"] for signing up to get the free downloads of the Marrying Well Guides. 

Click the image below to access your guide and learn about the counter-cultural, biblical concepts of intentionality, purity, community and Christian compatibility.

(For best results use IE 8 or higher, Firefox, Chrome or Safari)

To stay up-to-date with the latest from Boundless, sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter.


If you have any comments or questions about the information included in the Guide, please send them to [email protected]

Click here to return to Boundless

Focus on the Family

Thank you for submitting this form. You will hear from us soon. 

The Daily Citizen

The Daily Citizen from Focus on the Family exists to be your most trustworthy news source. Our team of analysts is devoted to giving you timely and relevant analysis of current events and cultural trends – all from a biblical worldview – so that you can be inspired and assured that the information you share with others comes from a reliable source.

Alive to Thrive is a biblical guide to preventing teen suicide. Anyone who interacts with teens can learn how to help prevent suicidal thinking through sound practical and clinical advice, and more importantly, biblical principles that will provide a young person with hope in Christ.

Bring Your Bible to School Day Logo Lockup with the Words Beneath

Every year on Bring Your Bible to School Day, students across the nation celebrate religious freedom and share God’s love with their friends. This event is designed to empower students to express their belief in the truth of God’s Word–and to do so in a respectful way that demonstrates the love of Christ.

Focus on the Family’s® Foster Care and Adoption program focuses on two main areas:

  • Wait No More events, which educate and empower families to help waiting kids in foster care

  • Post-placement resources for foster and adoptive families

Christian Counselors Network

Find Christian Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists, Psychologists, Social Workers and Psychiatrists near you! Search by location, name or specialty to find professionals in Focus on the Family’s Christian Counselors Network who are eager to assist you.

Boundless is a Focus on the Family community for Christian young adults who want to pursue faith, relationships and adulthood with confidence and joy.

Through reviews, articles and discussions, Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live.

Have you been looking for a way to build your child’s faith in a fun and exciting way?
Adventures in Odyssey® audio dramas will do just that. Through original audio stories brought to life by actors who make you feel like part of the experience; these fictional, character-building dramas use storytelling to teach lasting truths.

Focus on the Family’s Hope Restored all-inclusive intensives offer marriage counseling for couples who are facing an extreme crisis in their marriage, and who may even feel they are headed for divorce.