By Wendy A. Jones
For some reason one of my strongest Mothers' Day memories involves my brother. He was on his mission to Denmark and had been asked to speak on Mothers' Day. After his talk, one of the members approached him and said, "That was a wonderful talk. You should send a copy of it to your mother."
My brother said, "I could, but she doesn't know Danish."
I've also had to speak on Mothers' Day. I was pregnant with my first child at the time and cried even more readily than normal. My parents were visiting my married student ward, so they were in the congregation. I finished my talk (I'm pretty sure I cried throughout) by saying, "My mother wasn't perfect." At this point, someone in the congregation gasped. I still remember that gasp--it stands out in bold relief in my brain, like the time one of the deacons fainted while passing the sacrament. I found it funny (and still do) that someone was surprised. How many of us, as mothers, think we're perfect? How many of our children think we're perfect? I'd put both of those numbers at zero.
It wasn't for several years after that incident that I started hearing how some women hate Mothers' Day. What? I thought. How can you hate Mothers' Day?
There's the breakfast in bed, the homemade cards, the candy or potted pansy at church--what's not to love?
Probing more into the issue, I realized many women don't like Mothers' Day because the entire Sacrament Meeting is generally dedicated to praising paragons. It's like reading Proverbs 31, but with a real person instead of the oft-lauded "virtuous woman" behind the words. She scrapbooks, she sews, she sings, she dances, she never raises her voice, she reads, she bakes bread, she blogs, she organizes, she runs the PTA, she plants a garden, she takes her family camping, she repairs the car, she pilots airplanes, she trades on the stock market. Her children have clean, freshly pressed clothes for each activity they do, which generally includes private music lessons, sports, and visiting the elderly at the nursing home. This is all while she keeps a perfectly clean house and puts in a minimum of 17 compassionate service hours per week.
All the talks from all the Mothers' Days blend together to create the LDS AmalgaMom, she who does all this and more . . . with a smile on her face!
Psst. I have a little secret, though. I'm sure there are women out there who do those things. But I'm equally sure it isn't all the same woman, and it isn't all done at the same time.
For Mothers' Day this year, cut yourself some slack. Enjoy doing the things that you do, and don't worry about what anyone else does. Honor the mothers in your life by calling them and telling them you love them. Be grateful for what they were able to do and how they shaped you as a human being. And plant that pansy!
My mother wasn't perfect. [Insert gasp here.] But she was the perfect mom for me, and for that I will always be grateful.