Why I'm not a fan of Mother's Day

This is proof of how crazy I am about my kids: I take pictures of them at the most mundane times,
like when they are all squished together on the couch after school watching "Wild Kratts."
Because yeah. Like that doesn't happen every day. But look! My babies!
I love being a mom. It's one of the biggest surprises of my life.

I love my children with an intensity I didn't know was possible. Sometimes, the sheer scope of that love feels like an 80-foot wave, powerful and more than a little scary. I'm just trying to ride it.

With that caveat out of the way, I will say what I want to say: I'm not a fan of Mother's Day. It's always felt contrived to me, and a tad self-indulgent. Getting to be someone's mom is one of life's most vibrant blessings. Being celebrated for that is like being honored for eating the whole lemon chiffon cake by myself.

And then I read this from Anne Lamott and I practically quivered with resonance.

Mother’s Day celebrates a huge lie about the value of women: that mothers are superior beings.

Ah yes. That. A whole day to celebrate only a certain subset of women. It's a day that excludes as much as includes, a day that divides rather than unites.

In fact, I would guess that Mother's Day is responsible for more pain than joy. Because for most moms, it's just another day, only with crumbs in the bed and clay corsages on the shirt. But for those who flinch at the mention, the celebration is fresh gouge in the wound.

Anne goes on to say:

I hate the way the holiday makes all non-mothers, and the daughters of dead mothers, and the mothers of dead or severely damaged children, feel the deepest kind of grief and failure. The non-mothers must sit in their churches, temples, mosques, recovery rooms and pretend to feel good about the day while they are excluded from a holiday that benefits no one but Hallmark and See’s.

I bet you know someone who fits that description. In fact, I bet you could find a few of them in the women's bathroom at your church today. They are the ones silently weeping in the stall, hoping no one hears their heart breaking again.

I see no reason why a small honor to me should come at such a great cost to them.

So while I am gushing over my children's homemade cards today and smiling at their sincere expressions of love, I will be loving them back and thanking God that He gave me this job. My kids might think they are celebrating me today. But it's really me celebrating them.

And I will be praying for you, friend, for those of you who feel your heart crush again today.

You do not need to be a mother in order to love and love well.

Anyone can unwrap that gift.

And I speak from experience: It's the best gift of all.


  1. Very true... A friend from our old church told me once that she never came to church on Mother's Day anymore- it was just too painful. Though she had a wonderful mother who was right there at church, my friend and her husband were never able to have children. A life long dream that was never full filled... And a dear friend of mine here faces tomorrow with her 2 sweet boys, but also remembering the sweet boy she birthed almost 2 months ago, already in Heaven...

    A beautiful blog post that I agree whole heartedly with. Thanks for the reminder to pray for those who tomorrow isn't a happy day... And the reminder that for me, the day is really about celebrating my children. Some of the greatest gifts that God has given me.

  2. Friend, I didn't know I could possibly adore you more than I already do. I love hearing your perspective- and not just because I happen to agree with it. :) Thank you for acknowledging those of us who have been hurt by this holiday.

  3. I cannot tell you how much this resonated with me as I read it last night. Mother's Day has been increasingly uncomfortable for me the past few years and I think this finally explains why. I recently discovered Anne Lamott myself and have been enjoying her books. I need to go subscribe to her blog now...

  4. I gave the message at my church yesterday, and talked about much the same thing. I remember having one Mother's Day in particular, before my girls were born, where I wished I hadn't gone to church. I've never been comfortable at church on MD since - just knowing someone else might feel it. There is so much hurt for so many. But God knows those hurts, and he loves us so much. I pray he fills the gaps for those who are feeling them.

  5. A million yes's, love. Beautiful words. xoxo