This year, I found myself having a real love-hate relationship with Mother’s Day. Maybe because this has been such a tough year for the kiddo. Maybe because I’ve seen two families rocked by the death of newborns in the past 18 months. Maybe it’s the fact that legislatures across the country are going after reproductive rights in disturbing ways. Maybe because I am wearing so many hats that I count mothering among the many… and Mother’s Day seems to be about honoring that particular role above the others women play every day. And I’ve never seen myself fitting that whole Mommy image.
I don’t think I am
- …a better woman because I am a mom. I am certainly a different woman, with a different perspective than I had BC (before child). But I am a different person as a dog owner than I was a year ago BF (before Fred). Not totally analogous, but still…
- …a better wife because I am a mother. There are times I feel like parenting is the most stressful aspect of holding our relationship together. Not because of our particular child, so much as the nature of the work parenting is. That said, there is something about parenting through the difficult times this year that has made me appreciate my husband’s ferocious loyalty and love. I don’t know if he’s seen anything like that in me.
- …a better employee because I am a mom. In fact, I suspect I miss more hours at work for parenting things (sick days, doctor visits, field trips, emergency runs with forgotten items) than I do for school and vacation.
- Nor am I a better child, sister, friend, neighbor, dog-owner, student (see employee above) or driver as a result of my maternal status.
But I might be a better preacher. Because I might be a better Christ-follower and God-lover as a result of the triumphs, joys, sorrows and pain I go through in my relationship with my child. I can know in some small part what it must be like for my creator to see me do well at those things God has gifted, called and called and called and (when I finally answered) equipped me to do.
I can know in some tiny way the pain that God experienced when Christ was tempted, when he suffered and died, and when he was separated from God for three days.
I can begin to grasp the frustration of telling the story and giving the rules over and over and over again to wayward children, knowing that the free (strong) will that God gave us as part of that very good creation process is the very thing that will bring us sorrow, pain and frustration in our lives.
I can preach the love of our God who mothers us- in ways that my male colleagues cannot bring to the pulpit. Not just on some special day when we romanticize what motherhood is. But each time I stand and proclaim the Good News. Because it is GOOD NEWS that God loves us even when we can’t love ourselves very well. That She cares for us on the days that we are too ill to go to school or work. She waits for us on the porch, expectantly, and with food and water that nourishes our souls.
It is GOOD NEWS that God loves me and understands me when I am a bad mommy. The sort that lashes out in my own tiredness and barely holds in the tantrum at the grocery store. The sort that punishes first and asks the important questions later. The sort that ignores the warning signs because she doesn’t want to see the pain her child is in. The one who forgets, blows it, opts out and otherwise disappoints.
It is GOOD NEWS that God can and will lift me from my pit of sin and despair. That God sends friends and strangers alike with words of hope and moments of joy. That God is with us. Even if we don’t fit the Mommy mold.