As Mother's Day approaches, I began reflecting on where the holiday came from and what this day means for myself and others as a mother.
The origins are from a celebration of a Christian holiday celebrating the mother church not motherhood in England in the sixteenth century. People would return to their main church or cathedral for service held on Laetare Sunday. Parishioners would go “a- mothering” on this day to their local church. Years later, it became a day where household servants were given a day off to visit their families and children would pick flowers as presents to give to their mothers which is why flowers have become so much part of the holiday tradition.
In 1908. Anna Jarvis held a memorial service for her mother in Grafton West Virginia which became the early beginnings of the American holiday that we celebrate today. Her mother had worked hard for better sanitary and health conditions in five US cities for both men and women and her daughter campaigned for Mother’s Day to become a holiday which was granted in 1914.
Over time the holiday has become a day to celebrate motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence mothers have had on society.
As it is a Spring holiday, the sense of new beginnings, birth, growth, and the nurturing, care, and attention that comes with it seems integral to the celebration.
It is the one day of the year, that as mothers, we can also reflect on our roles within our own families and how it effects the community and society at large. It is the most important role we can ever be given. This is why many women struggle with the notion of career and children. Instinctively, we understand the importance of our mission as mothers and the effects it can have on the world.
So as a mother now with two teenage children, my perspective on being a mother has evolved along with my children.
In the beginning you want to give them so much of yourself, your care, direction, knowledge, and love. There is not enough that you would and could not do even with the responsibilities and demands of career and family. You think this will mold them, transform them into what you first believe is your maternal role and this continues into their adolescent years. But there is something you realize very early on that tugs at you and it only becomes so much more evident as years pass and they get older especially the teenage years. They are who they are from the get go and you cannot try nor should you try to change them.
I have experienced my son and daughter’s personalities from their birth to the present and that has been the constant in my relationship with them. Many things change in that dynamic but not that. Sometimes the worry and frankly, the guilt of “being” a “good” mother becomes pretty stressful because of this sense of helping them become. However, I have come to the conclusion on this Mother’s Day that my most important mission is to simply help guide, support, and show great love. Most of the rest is out of my hands and in theirs.
This Mother’s Day whether you are a new mother or a grandmother, with a career or not, relax and enjoy this amazing experience.
It is truly one like no other. Realize that there is only so much you can do and control. You can lead by example with all your heart and you can pray that by osmosis certain values will stick, but do not chastise or blame yourself on any disappointments. Love yourself as a mother as you love your children. Enjoy their transformation from babies, through adolescence, into adulthood. Feel good about it all and do not have unrealistic expectations.
Your children are part of you but also so very different and that is by design.
Respect their differences, laugh and cry on all the ups and downs, and celebrate your role as their mother on this Mother’s Day.