Mother’s Day is quickly approaching. There are commercials, signs in store windows, and even old-fashioned mailers. It is pretty hard to miss or ignore.
I want to address a different side of the day. For some, Mother’s Day signifies pain. Not all mothers live up to the sentiments on a Hallmark card. I know all too well how that feels. I used to experience a sense of obligation to recognize my mother but giving a card that did not truly represent my situation felt hypocritical. I never could locate a card that said, “You did the best you could in your circumstances.” That would have expressed my heart.
The other side is being a mother that has either a strained or non-existent relationship with your child or children. If you fall into that category, you might feel like an even bigger failure on this “designated” day than you do every other day of the year.
I do not want to leave out step-parents who are often left to feel insignificant. The sidelines can be very lonely especially when you give your all and get nothing in return. It can be one of the most unrewarding relationships that some “moms” may have.
I happen to fall into all of these categories.
All of these categories have one thing in common. They all represent the way that someone else feels about you – none of which we can control. Think about that for a minute. This truth extends beyond Mother’s Day. It can truly apply to any relationship.
If we tie our identity to how someone else feels about us, we are setting ourselves up for failure. We cannot please everyone, at least not all of the time. We will disappoint people by not meeting their expectations.
Emotions aside, even if we do our very best, we may fall short of someone’s expectations of us. We can give all that we have and it is possible that it may never be enough.
Oddly enough, society has encouraged mothers to place certain expectations on their children as well.
So, here we have a day of expectations. How could this possibly lead to disappointment?
Oh, let me count the ways!
No matter what the dynamic of a relationship is, if it is based on our expectations of another rather than on loving that person right where they are at, knowing where they are coming from, and appreciating their story – there will be hurt and disappointment.
Sometimes these “special” days make us focus on ourselves rather than on the other person.
I am certainly no expert. I am figuring life out just like everyone else. One valuable lesson that I have learned along the way is that if we simply focus on being the best person that we can be rather than on the type of person that we expect someone else to be, our relationships will improve.
If you are striving to be the best version of you, please do not devalue yourself based on someone else’s inability to see your worth through their subjective eyes. You matter. I matter.
I know some fabulous mothers! I also know some really great kids. Neither focus on being a mother or being a kid, which happens to make up only a limited part of their identity as a whole. Instead, they focus on being really good people. They maximize their talents and focus on what they bring to the world rather than what they can take or what they expect.
So, on this Mother’s Day – no matter what your “title” – mother, father, step-parent, son, or daughter, step-child, – if you are striving to be your best, no matter how many expectations that you may have fallen short of… Celebrate you!
Until Next Time,