May 6, 2009

Mother's Day Thoughts

by Anna Arnett

After I got home from my shift at the temple, and as soon as I remembered it was my day to blog, I thought about Mother's Day, and spent most of the afternoon hunting for a poem, or at least a ditty, I once wrote.  I called it, "Mother's Day is not for Mothers."  It wasn't anywhere that I thought it should be.  
since it's out of sight and un-memorized, it keeps getting better in my mind. Enough so that I do hope it's not gone forever, like the reader's theater text I wrote to go with my music for a 45-minute presentation on the restoration.  I really don't want to have to write either of them all over again.  Just possibly they're both still on my old IBM computer on a high shelf down in the basement.

As a kid I couldn't figure out why my mother didn't like Mother's Day.  It was a fun day for me.  I drew a picture for her, and made some kind of present out of whatever material was at hand.  I pranced around singing "Oh, I Had Such a Pretty Dream, Mama," and told her what a wonderful mother she was, but I don't remember fixing dinner for her, or even washing up afterwards unless she made me. 

It took me a long while to realize how little she liked the holiday, but she finally confessed, "I don't like to hear my funeral oration before I'm dead."  That absolutely amazed me.
Until I became a mother.  Then I saw her point.

Just listen to the talks on Mother's Day.  They talk about all the wonderful sacrifices mother's and mother figures freely give, and how perfect they are.  

Or read Proverbs 31:10, to get the Old Testament view of  a virtuous woman.  She's one who works most all night and is up again before dawn, keeping a spotless house, managing a business,  carding, spinning, weaving, and creating luxurious clothing for her family and enough more to stock a boutique.  She works out at the gym for flexibility and lifts weights to keep her arms strong.  She probably takes college classes to keep up with the wisdom of the times.  In her spare time she's busy cooking gourmet meals, buying fields, planting vineyards, taking care of the poor, and the needy, while her husband sits at the gate and looks wise.

My husband read that whole passage to me one evening, somewhere around the middle of our temple mission in Australia.  I wondered why he'd suddenly read aloud, and concluded he was trying to tell me how great I was.  When he finished, he closed the book with a soft bang and spoke. 

"There you have it."

I have no idea what he really meant by that, but it felt like cold water thrown on my face.  I immediately bawled aloud and gushed enough tears to hardly distinguish his astonished face.  That's when I thought I knew how my mother felt.

After years of working on it, I found the key to love Mother's Day.  There are a few simple rules.

1.  Never think of myself as a mother on Mother's Day.  Think of my own mother, or Mother Eve.

2.  I have 364 other days every year to evaluate myself.  On this day don't even think of it.

3.  If I want some special gift on Mother's Day, like breakfast in bed, tell everybody. 

4.  Even so, expect nothing and be pleased with whatever comes my way.

5.  Realize that Mother's Day is not really for mothers.  It's for children.  It does our hearts good to think of our mothers, to thank them, and to bless them.

6.  Relax, and enjoy.

Right now, my greatest joy is that Mother's Day isn't tomorrow. I'm so sleepy at this moment that my head keeps jerking, and my eyes blur.  I'm slipping out of womanhood and back into childhood.  I resist sleep, occasionally drool, forget to flush, expect to be waited on, made a fuss over,  and loved.

Actually, it's quite fun.


  1. It's funny how our perspectives are so different. I hated Mother's Day and promised to never make any kids I'd wished I'd had honor it because my mother still makes such a big deal of it. We have to top each year's event and lately I can't. So I never liked Mother's Day either, ha.

  2. I haven't been a big fan of mothers day either. Usually because of your #4 - My expectations get me in trouble. So now...I don't expect anything and I stay off the pity pot...
    I have several step children, usually I don't get any recognition - but one year I did, it was the best year ever and I've decided that one year will suffice me throughout my life, thus I don't expect anything else.
    It's just a day - and I LOVE your idea - I'm not a mother that day- it's not about me!
    Thanks's good to remind myself (and prepare) myself to not let the expectation turn into premeditated resentments (which always get me in trouble).
    Happy Mothers Day!

  3. I'm sorry to disagree with everyone but I love Mothers Day. I think it is wonderful to honor women and how important they are in our lives. How can that be a bad thing? :)

  4. Each of us have different life experiences which flavor our fellings. I loved Mother's day for my mom when I was a child. When my children came, I liked honoring my mother and mother-in-law, but have always felt a bit self-concious to have a fuss made over me. Next came six years of arranging for all the Mother's Day gifts in Church since my husband was Bishop, and if I didn't do it, it didn't happen. Each year, the gift was given at the end of Sacrament, then in Relief Society, I had to listen to all the complaints of last year we got chocolates, and this year we have flowers. I really liked the chocolates better etc. None of the sisters realized I had made the decision and spoke freely, and they were NEVER happy. After several years, I finally asked the ladies what they wanted next year. They voted and the next year, I got them what they wanted. The complaints flew once more. Hmmm . . . I never realized how big of a deal flowers vs. chocolates is or was it how wishy washy we women are.

  5. reading the post...and the ensuing comments. This is an amazing collection of insightful and delightful women! I honor all of you this Mother's Day!

  6. Thank you for all your comments. I do agree with every one. Yes, I like Mother's Day. Yes, I'm glad to have a special day when I think about my mother ... my mother-in-law ... my daughters and daughters-in-law ... my granddaughters who are mothers ... some wonderful mothers I know who gave birth to thirteen or so children and survived beautifully ... to those mother figures who never gave birth, but who nurture and love ... and even to those complaining mothers who hardly realize that stating an opinion can as easily be a complaint as a compliment. One or the other actually becomes easier. It all depends on our habitual pattern of thought.

    Again, thanks for the comments. It's so encouraging to know somebody reads what I struggle to write at midnight nearly twenty hours after getting up.

    Oh yes, eight hours later I found that elusive poem, and pasted it on an ANWA social email.


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