I admit it. I generally don’t watch “reality” shows. The only one that has piqued my interest is Bear Grylls’ “Man vs. Wild.” The rest seem to be a mixture of narcissistic, dysfunctional people in various settings. I get enough reality in, well, reality itself.
“Reality” entertainment is popular because it helps us escape from our own reality. We can feel better about our marriages when we see the train wrecks of others. Our homes look a lot cleaner after watching an episode of “Hoarders.”
In some ways, our celebrations of Mother’s Day may be designed to escape from reality — the reality of how difficult it is to be a mother. Could it be that in our desire to celebrate motherhood, we sometimes paint an unrealistic image of a perfect mom that leaves many of our mothers feeling like failures?
The “perfect” mother must be a super woman! She spends hours before dawn in prayer and Bible study, has breakfast ready for her family when they wake, their clothes are clean and ready for them to wear, and as the children leave for school and her husband for work she is also on the road to her “outside” job. At the end of the day, dinner is prepared, children are bathed, stories are read, and she is her husband’s vision of romance. The “perfect” mother supposedly does this every, single, day.
But in reality, few of our mothers bat 1,000 every day. Who does? The reality is that many of our mothers are faced with unrealistic expectations that foster feelings of guilt and inadequacy.
The reality is that this Mother’s Day some mothers will not have their children with them. Some will be grieving that they never got to get to know their children before they left them for Heaven. Yes, they look forward to seeing them there, but they still hurt.
Others will be heartbroken because their children are too busy for them even though they poured out every ounce of their time, energy, and money to help them prepare for adulthood. These mothers only want some time with their children, but “they have their own lives now” and all she has is memories.
Some of our mothers have grown up being abused in dysfunctional homes and are obsessed with not making the same mistakes their parents made. As a result, they may feel even more pressure to indulge their children in order to gain the love they didn’t receive from their parents.
And this Mother’s Day will also be a painful reminder to many women that for some reason, God has not chosen to give them children. They have lost track of how many doctor visits they have made and how much money they have spent just to hold their own child. Sometimes it is hard for these dear women to believe that God has a plan when they have so much pain.
Look around you on this Mother’s Day. Do you see the elderly mother? Did you notice the young mother who is now a widow? Have you seen the mother who brings her children to church so they will know God, but has to do it alone because her husband has other plans? Do you see the single mother who is barely getting by?
Remember the stories of mothers in Scripture. None were perfect. Some failed. But many found strength in God and left a legacy we celebrate to this very day. Today’s mothers need to know that the same God Who comforted, protected, provided for, and used mothers to rear children who changed the world is still God today and willing to use them too.
Dear moms, be encouraged! You are not alone. You don’t have to be perfect. You are leaving a legacy. And you are loved.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. (Prov. 31:30)