THE BLOG
05/08/2014 02:02 pm ET | Updated Jul 08, 2014

When Mother's Day Hurts Just a Bit

Some talk about Mother's Day.

I'm going to be real. I know Mother's Day hurts for some of you and that you kind of actually look forward to the day after, when you can put that big red X on the calendar and call Mother's Day done. I know that.

Do you know why?

I see it. I see in this world that there are piles of things that hurt. And those things that hurt on other days can sometimes hurt more on a day that seems like it is about celebrating the perfect image of mom.

That mom, that life, well, that just doesn't exist.

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I know we could try to rationalize in our brains that it is just a holiday put together by Hallmark and all of those retailers and that such a day shouldn't really matter. Or hurt. Or make it feel like our lives need to measure up to this nebulous idea of perfect motherhood. But, no matter the origins, or all the people who really do want to honor moms, the truth is that sometimes Mother's Day is a day that is just a bit hard.

I think it hurts because sometimes it creates this illusion of moms and motherhood and life that seems unattainable or perfect. It's full of white sandals, kids with combed and parted hair, brunches, families, and tulips carried inside. Or at least that's what we sometimes see. There are glowing cards and chocolate fountains and rose stands set up on the side of the road. There are pictures of families that are happy, without financial worries, and kids that make the cutest handmade cards.

But real motherhood? Real life? It so often doesn't look like that. Real life has rebellious kids, fighting parents, no money for brunch (or even a card), rainy days, unmet expectations, miscarriages, infertility, children who are sick, and on and on and on and on. This isn't about listing all those things or pretending I get how all those things feel that hurt. It's about acknowledging that they are there. Being real. Those things don't work their way onto a card very well, and there aren't that many roses for the mom in the midst of those kinds of journeys. Those are the things that could pick at the joy, the little things in motherhood that truly matter.

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On Mother's Day this year, I remember the big, amazing picture of moms. You. And maybe you don't have a life that is perfect and you don't get to do all the things that you think others get to do on Mother's Day, or maybe you don't even get a card. Maybe you feel like you give and give and give and all you do is lost or not appreciated and all you would love is a small bouquet of flowers. Maybe sometimes you don't like being a mom or don't feel like you do it well or just are worn. Maybe you are really looking forward to ripping that page off the calendar and just moving up. You know what? It's not fair that this day can hurt. And I am sorry. I guess today, today, I just want to remember you and to thank you for all that you do.

I think the reason I write so much about celebrating real, and the real little things that we do, is that I've seen and I've felt the pressure of a life that didn't feel like it measured up. And as soon as I started comparing my life with another's life, or what I thought motherhood should look like, I quickly found myself discontent. That comparison thing eats away at contentment. So instead of comparing with others, we need to see what we do. Which is why I write about joy, and finding joy, and you, the brave mother in this world.

Motherhood is brave.

The flowers, cards, brunches, notes and chocolates on a day set aside are lovely. But so is May 12, the day after Mother's Day. And May 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, and all the days until the next one loops around. I honor you for all of those days as well. Those days in between, the hard days, the great days and the normal days. I stand up and applaud you for those days. For fighting and moving forward and for being mom. It's that deep hope that we have in us that makes us press on to the next day and do the next thing and to see the beauty in life even when it isn't perfect. Hope is powerful.

Being a mom isn't about those grandiose moments and one day of the year where the world pauses and sells cards and flowers. It's about those little things that are the amazing things. It's about tenacity and spunk and inhaling deep and moving on. Those are the things that I celebrate.

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Thank you. Thank you for getting up, cooking meals, paying bills, buttoning shirts, combing hair, checking homework, reading stories, picking up toys, wiping noses and faces, playing catch, driving to and fro and to and fro, praying, scrubbing dishes, tucking in, playing tag, folding socks, breaking up fights, opening slammed doors, sorting toys, listening to whines, mowing yards, sighing but smiling, being a friend and the other million times infinity amazing things that moms do.

I remember you. I remember you today, tomorrow, on Mother's Day and then on Monday of next week when you press on again.

And to you, today, I give thanks. Thank you, moms whose lives aren't perfect but just keep on going. Thank you, moms whose Mother's Day doesn't look like what they imagined. Thank you, moms in those calm places in life. Thank you, moms. Thank you for giving of your life and for loving those children and for pulling up your bootstraps and looking for the little things in life to love. Thank you.

Simply, thank you.

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