I am the proud survivor of 26 Mother’s Days as an LDS mother, and they haven’t all been easy! Today’s the day I share some of my survival tips with all of you.
1. Learn that Mother’s Day is not about you. I’m not sure exactly what Mother’s Day is all about. But once I learned it wasn’t about making me happy, I enjoyed it so much more. The disappointment was gone and I could flow with whatever happened (or didn’t happen!)
2. Help your family succeed. The husband and the children may have difficulty making this day a success on their own, as mine do. The younger children often become disappointed when they are caught without anything to give. By all means, go out and buy yourself some lovely things to give to your husband to pass out to the children.
3. Forgive your mother, just for this one day. My mother and I had issues all of my life. One year, as I was reading “Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood,” I had an epiphany. My mother had done the best she could. She wasn’t actually trying to hurt me or be a horrible mother. She had done what she was capable of. Remember: there is no place in your psyche that you can escape your mother. “A Freudian slip is when you say one thing but mean your mother.” Make peace with that inner mother, for today.
4. Celebrate your mother, grandmother, and other mother figures that you know. Do something special and meaningful for them. Try sending anonymous gifts to the elderly or shut-ins. Little gestures are best. Don’t put too much time or money into this. Make it fun for yourself. If it’s not fun, don’t do it.
5. Don’t make Church too personal. Be detached. Think: “That was probably a comforting talk for Sister Jones to hear.” Think: “Brother Fry’s talk really honored his mother. How nice that he remembers his childhood fondly.” If someone wants to give you a flower, take the flower. If they don’t give you a flower, let it pass. Just let this be one of those screwy Sundays that happen sometimes.
6. Do the planning yourself. Announce ahead of time: “For Mother’s Day, we are all going on a picnic!” or, “Let’s go to that new Italian restaurant.” or, “After Church I’m going to spend three hours by myself in my room reading.” Then thank everyone profusely for giving you the kind of Mother’s Day you wanted.
7. Grieve for your deceased mother. After my husband’s parents died, he felt like an orphan, even though he was in his 40’s. Mother’s Day is a sad time for him. It helps when I encourage him to tell the children stories of his mother. He enjoys remembering her in this way. Others might visit the cemetery with flowers, light candles in front of her picture, or write memorial poetry and thoughts.
8. Ignore the day. Some women, for a variety of reasons, may find Mother’s Day excruciatingly painful. If you are having a hard year, don’t feel obliged to be a part of the holiday. Skip Church, head out into nature, go to a movie. Extend an invitation to some friends who don’t have children to come over for dinner and game night.
9. Don’t succumb to the commercialization of Mother’s Day. Make your cards. If you don’t have much money, don’t send expensive floral arrangements! Instead, make phone calls, send free e-cards, or make a personal visit.
10. Enjoy whatever you are given. Most mothers are wonderful at this. We love flowers in plastic cups, homemade cards, gifts that are too expensive, things that we don’t need or want. One year a friend received the gift of a plunger and toilet bowl cleaning set from her husband. She received it graciously and saved her laughter and groans for her best friends the next day. We have laughed hilariously about this gift so many times over the years!
Please add any of your Mother’s Day survival tips if you feel so inclined. Happy Mother’s Day to all my blog friends!