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Mother's Day Baggage

Mother's Day. Oh. Mother's Day. The day when moms across the U.S. wake up to a day of magical pampering, appreciation, and children who have suddenly transformed into these perfectly behaved bundles of cooperation and sunshine.

Uh. Well, that would be really nice. But, here's how my Mother's Day went - and I'm certain I'm not alone.

Historically, Mother's Day has been pretty great for me. The kids try extra hard to make me feel special and try to pitch in as much as possible so I don't have to lift a finger and I let things slide that I would normally stick to my guns on. This year was... well...interesting? trying? educational?

Breakfast in Bed and Second Breakfast

It started out pretty great. My 7-year old brought me breakfast in bed- her usual proud spread for a weekend morning: a lightly toasted mini bagel with a perfectly spread, thin layer of cream cheese, 8 baby carrots, 10 grapes (off the stem), and 4 pieces of turkey sandwich meat, 2 gummy multivitamins and a glass of water. All with a smile and a homemade card. It was early, but I can't think of a better way to wake up.

I went back to sleep and heard my 10-year old in the kitchen about an hour later. She was making a lot of noise and was clearly very busy making her own Mother's Day breakfast production. When she finally came in and announced breakfast was ready, I got up and went into the dining room to see a lovely table setting with toast or a mini bagel and glob of assorted jams and jellies on each plate. She'd made my coffee the way I like it and poured waters for everyone.

As breakfast concluded and we prepared to get ready for church (they have a photographer on Mother's Day and I really look forward to the family photo each year) I asked the kids to unload the dishwasher then clean up the breakfast situation- this is the expectation on ANY day, not just Mother's Day. I got back a LOT of sass and backtalk, and blatant disrespect - don't even get me started. The arguing, the awful feeling of being upset with your kids, the hurt of being disrespected and treated like a maid. All of the bad feels. I go get ready for church.

It Goes Downhill Quickly

Most Sundays my hair is dripping wet and I'm barely in presentable clothes as we peel out of the driveway...late for church. Excited for pictures, I was determined to be on time today. I ironed my hair, put on mascara and lip gloss and picked out a nice dress that I got a year ago and have only worn once.

I came out to find makeup on one of my beautiful daughters. A known "no-no," unless you've secured explicit permission. I start removing her makeup (it looked nice, but she knows she has to ask first, so off comes the makeup) and talking to her about asking permission and following our family rules. It gets me nowhere but into a bigger battle of wills and I'm getting upset (again). The snowball builds, I end up in tears (ugly, ugly tears) and can't get myself emotionally put together to go to church, which makes me even more upset... cue more ugly tears.

They go to Lowes for fertilizer and I go to my office and sob my mascara off. No church. No family photo.

You're Not The Only One Struggling Today

While they're at Lowes, I'm hurting. Hurt that I can't be the mom that everyone looks at and says "she's got it together." Hurt that I've probably traumatized my children in exactly the ways I was damaged growing up (this one haunts me). Hurt that we missed church and a family photo opp. Hurt that my kids are hurting because of me. Hurt. A lot of Hurt.

Are you hurting too? Are you disappointed that Mother's Day wasn't an award winning, tv-mini series worthy day? You're not alone. I remember many, MANY years when Mother's Day seemed to be my mom's own personal hell (next to her birthday). I want to set a different example for my kids and experience more joy and fulfillment on these special, Hallmark-made holidays. And, I've had a good run - until this year.

I felt the full weight of every way that I've failed my kids, that I've been impatient, imperfect, and too demanding. I feel how deeply I want them to trust the rules that are in place for their safety and protection instead of fight against me with every bit of energy they have (and they are SO strong). I feel guilt for losing my cool and sabotaging this day.

I Interrupt This Meltdown To Teach Healing

In the midst of wallowing in all the feelings of failure and wanting to run away, they come home. They bound in the door smiling, with flowers, balloons, and little gift bags full of the kind of special trinkets that only my beautiful girls could pick out. And the healing begins.

I ugly cry some more. We hug. We apologize. We forgive. We stop the pattern that I have been so afraid of and we love each other. We take radical responsibility for our actions and together we heal the hurt that happened.

...The Rest Of The Story

We had an amazing rest of our day. Pool time with cousins, laughter, play, joy. The sting of the morning was still present in my body, but it did not take control of our day and our celebration of family. This is the message - there is hope. There IS healing. Being a family hurts; but being a family is restoring and everything my heart needs. I can make the mistakes my parents made and generations before have made; but, I also get to stop myself dead in my tracks and rewrite my own destiny. I get to make my own mistakes and I get to lead with imperfect love.

I'm licking wounds today - and we're loving each other harder. Appreciating how fragile all of our hearts can be and honoring the ways we can disrupt ourselves in the middle of our ugliest of moments and CHOOSE a new path.

Does this resonate? I'd love to hear from you! Comment your thoughts!


©2020 by Kristin Benton.

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