Parenthood part 10: Sometimes even great moms dread Mother’s Day

Parenthood part 10: Sometimes even great moms dread Mother’s Day


Submitted by admin on Sat, 05/12/2012 – 21:38

Parenthood part 10: Sometimes even great moms dread Mother’s Day

My mom is an extraordinary woman. So imagine how I squinted when she admitted that she shifted in the church pew every Mother’s Day. As we worked on Every Essential Element together she revealed herself in a generous and intimate way. I was taken aback by this admission. “Why? “I asked. “Because I felt completely inadequate listening to stories about the perfect women around me. I couldn’t sew or craft. My house was a wreck with an army of your brothers clomping about. I lost my cool. I worked when that was a no-no. Your dad loved me, but I felt fat. I would never be that ideal woman.”

This surprised me because she accomplished so much, rearing seven children while helping to pioneer the natural health movement in America. She was a full partner with my dad and his co-entrepreneur when there was great pressure from Mormon leaders to stay home with the children. Together, they co-founded a company that sparked an entire industry of health products from the Great Salt Lake while onlookers snickered. She baked whole wheat bread, made her own yogurt, grew sprouts, tended a massive garden, and put up the harvest in tidy jars. Even with the demands of seven children, they also took people in to our home to live at various times. They lived a life of adventure and had a fifty-five year love affair.

Sure I had moments of thirteen-year-old embarrassment over my parents, but she had seemed just right to me. I never knew she felt this way, and we decided to include that vulnerability in the book. As others have read about her inner struggle they have told me they too secretly feel the same on this, of all days. Worse, yet, they feel guilty for not basking in the honor that the day was meant to bring, like it is another sign of falling short. One of my friends confessed, “I thought I was the only one!” Another said, “On Mother’s Day I stress about how the kids look and act because it feels like on that day you are being scrutinized. If Mother’s Day were not on Sunday you could sleep in and wouldn’t have to do so many heads of hair, iron many dresses/shirts, find shoes, and pack the bottomless church bag. I feel like I am competing with perfection.”

As the book neared completion, my mom opened up about something else. “It has been so fun working on this together but now that it is close, I find myself feeling shy.” I reassured her, and she elaborated, “I just don’t want anyone to think we were perfect or that we thought we were. I know how insecurity feels. We did the best we could but we still made a lot of mistakes.” What I want her to know now is this: Mom, the best you could was enough.

It makes me think. Far too often we spend precious energy comparing our weaknesses to other people’s strengths. We diminish our own talents because they are different from what we admire in others. We regret the past and worry about the future while forgetting to savor today. Recently two separate women told me that the most magical time of their lives was when their children were little but they did not realize it.

We fret over what we never were or never will be rather than celebrating who we are. The wisdom of seventy-seven years has freed my mom from much of what weighed her down before. She has embraced the words of Corrie Ten Boom who wrote The Hiding Place about surviving a concentration camp and said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its troubles. It robs today of its strength.”

This Mother’s Day, I wish I could remind women everywhere that we all feel insecure at time. We would be happier taking a cue from the women who remind us to “Enjoy the moments we have today. We are not perfect, but we are enough. Every woman is the heroine in her own story.” I love you Mom.