By Rachel Baker, Crosswalk.com
Mother’s Day approaches. This day is synonymous with breakfast-in-bed or brunch, a family outing to church or an afternoon of pampering at the spa.
At this time of year, websites tout their top 10 gifts for Mom. Bloggers suggest sweet and kind ways to honor the woman who bore you. There are easy “click now” bargains for spa treatments, candles, skincare and whatever else can be sold under the guise of “something for her.”
On this day, once a year, it’s all about the women who gave us life, raised us, wiped our tears, changed our diapers and made us who we are.
And so, it doesn’t come without sting or heartache, that so many of us are attempting to cope with the reality that this year Mother’s Day probably won’t look like what we’re use to.
For the majority of Americans, extended shelter-in-place and self-quarantine for the protection of the at-risk, means that those brunches and spa dates are canceled. The family outing to church is off the table unless you get creative and digitally attend church together, and even then the pain of not physically being together may weigh on us all.
The ache of being away from family may feel heavier; even more so than it has over the past few weeks. You may find yourself missing your Mom so much more than you anticipated.
You may be experiencing a myriad of emotions, grief, or disappointment. The list goes on.
Of course, and as always, there are those who have tenuous relationships with their Mom. Or, as with our family you could still be freshly grieving the loss of a Mom—in my family as we are collectively grieving the recent loss of our maternal grandmother—our family’s matriarch.
For the grieving, or those with difficult relationships, the approach of Mother’s Day can open fresh wounds or remind us of deeper wounds yet. This day may be painful for some of us and yet completely joyful for others.
Either way, for all of us, it can be a day to pause and reflect, to sit with the uncomfortable or joyful and take stock each emotion that washes over you.
As Mother’s Day nears, here are some helpful suggestions to help us all honor and remember our Moms. Through the practice of honoring or caring for her we might even find that we are better caring for ourselves and those around us.
1. Remember Her
In the midst of grappling with life’s current circumstances celebrating a little day like Mother’s Day could feel almost ridiculous.
With a survival mentality stopping to write a card or make a phone could feel trivial or irrelevant. In contrast to that mentality, find reasons to celebrate even more than you normally would.
Find reasons, daily if you must, to rejoice.
Clean kitchen? Rejoice. The kids got a little homework done? Rejoice. The sun was shining and there’s breath in your lungs? And again I say rejoice.
So, on Mom’s Day, celebrate her. Celebrate her life and what she has instilled in you. Run with the advice of Philippians 4:8, “…whatever things are true, noble, and just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things.”
Whether you have the absolute best relationship with your mom, or a broken one, orient your thoughts, meditations and memories upon whatever is lovely or of any virtue. This practice will certainly honor your Mom.
There are also, of course, tangible options. Maybe there is a gift that would lift your Mom’s spirits and make her feel seen. If gifts are her love language and you are able to, speak her love language. Or maybe for your Mom sentimental is best; create something for her, maybe make something by hand. As simple as it sounds a hand-written letter to Mom can go a long way.
2. Be Present with Her
If you are able to connect with your Mom set up a time to speak with her online or by phone.
Have a little date with her. Give her your full attention, even if this is only for 15 or 30 minutes. During this time ask her deep questions and listen to her. It’s amazing what we can learn about our Moms through deep listening.
Developing the habit of listening will ultimately gift you with your family history or an even better understanding of who your mom is. Think about stories or sweet memories from your childhood that you want to share with your mom.
Allow this day to be one of nostalgia and gratitude. During this time of being present with her, she may also learn more about the person who you’ve become. Through being present your relationship may soar to new heights; even heights you never thought possible. I know this is true of my own relationship with my Mom.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Maurian Soares Salvador
3. Help Her Look Forward to the Future
During this strange season of COVID-19, my mind turns to those who are immunocompromised or at-risk.
The younger generations can’t risk a visit to their parents or grandparents’ homes and retirement communities. This separation creates an anguish and an almost urgent feeling that we need to be together.
To call this anything but hard and heart wrenching is a lie.
I think of my paternal grandmother. I can speak with her by phone, but setting up a Zoom call with her is unrealistic. For the moms who are experiencing isolation, encouraging a future-forward mindset can be incredibly life-giving. This Mother’s Day call your grandma, your mother, aunties or sisters who may be isolated (those of us isolated with small children really need this as well).
When you call, talk about the future. Give her something to look forward to. Maybe it’s a simple as another phone call next week.
As a side note, if you say you’re going call, do it, make it a priority. Perhaps you’re able to point towards an upcoming visit. What else does she have to look forward to? Find those things and remind her of them.
4. Take Care of Her Child
This final point is the one my mom appreciates the most. (Yes, I ran all of these points past my mom!)
She’s a mom of five living biological children, two stepsons, a daughter-in-law, and three sons-in-law. During this season knowing her children are all out in the world and not under the safety of her wings is almost too much to bear. Knowing that her children are taking good care of themselves helps her rest at night.
Communicate with your mom and tell her how you are practicing good self-care during this season. If you’re a parent yourself, show her how well the grandkids are holding up. This means more to her than you may ever know.
Finally, remember that Mother’s Day—especially this Mother’s Day in particular—presents a fantastic opportunity to express gratitude to all the women who raised you. As the saying goes “it takes a village” and why not allow yourself the luxury of stopping for a moment to list all the women who were and are a part of that village.
If you are able to, use the points above to honor them as well. You know who they are, but they may not know just how much they mean to you. So pause, reflect, and in the ways that would be the most meaningful to them show them appreciation and honor.
Happy Mother’s Day.
To read Rachel’s tribute to her mom, check out her blog here!
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/dragana991
Rachel Baker is the author of Deconstructed, a bible study guide for anyone who feels overwhelmed or ill-equipped to study the word of God. She is a pastor’s wife and director of women’s ministries, who believes in leading through vulnerability and authenticity. She is a cheerleader, encourager, and sometimes drill-sergeant. She serves the local church alongside her husband, Kile, in Northern Nevada. They have two amazing kiddos and three dogs. Rachel is fueled by coffee, tacos and copious amounts of cheese. For more on her and her resources to build your marriage, see her website: www.rachelcheriebaker.com or connect with her on Instagram at @hellorachelbaker.