Mothers: MVP’s For a Lifetime

The saying “Ain’t momma happy, ain’t nobody happy,” suggests that you mothers are the fuel that powers the family, the impetus of all that is good in the home.  God has placed you in the center of His plan, ushering children into the world through what is rightly called “labor.”  Beginning at birth, your children attach themselves to you, and seem to gravitate towards your soothing caresses and encouraging words.  From a psychological standpoint, there are few things that are more critical to your child’s developing character than his/her ability to establish a trusting, loving, nurturing relationship with you early on.  The mother-child relationship sets the tone for how your little one will see the world, others, and most importantly, how the child will see him/herself.

In you God has created something so close to Himself.  You can heal yourself when you are sick…feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger…cure anything from a scraped knee to a disappointed love affair with a kiss…get a nine-year old to stand under a shower…make messes disappear the instant in-laws arrive unannounced for a visit…and have eyes that can see through a door when you know very well the answer to, “What are you kids doing in there?”  Your compassion and encouragement are magical healers, and life has made you wise.  Who can better understand a five-year old’s frustration that “school lasts too long” than you who have nursed many a sick child through an endless night?  Who can better teach a child perseverance than you who wade through piles of laundry and dishes on a daily basis?  Who can more effectively encourage sacrifice than you who have endured morning sickness and nine months of discomfort (and let’s not forget the labor) for your baby?  As a mother, you exemplify the very best of humanity.  You offer so much, yet ask so little.

Here I think it best to clarify that I’m not saying mothers are perfect.  You get frustrated and lose your patience, and some days are really a struggle.  At times you feel overwhelmed, or unappreciated, or have such a bad day that you want to resign, and sometimes you feel guilty for having these feelings.  Sometimes you feel inferior and wonder if you’re a good mother.  No doubt you have plenty of your own struggles to deal with aside from those of being a mom.

Still, it is your resilience in the face of the daily wear and tear of life that is so admirable.  It is your stamina, your resolve, your grit and determination that leads your children to “rise up and call you blessed.”  Remember that perfection is not as important as persistence, and excellence is not as important as example; competition with others (e.g., for the cleanest house) is not as important as compassion for others, nor is worldly success as important as godly approval.  In spite of moments of self-doubt, of times when you’d just as soon quit as look at more dirty laundry, you have the tenacity to push forward.  Like Wiley Coyote, getting knocked down and bounced around doesn’t stop you from hanging in there with your little roadrunners.

Instead of measuring yourself according to your self-critical yardstick of perfection, give yourself a dose of the compassion you give to others.  Remember that who you are as a companion with God is more important than what you do.  Your maternal instincts cannot be taught, the bond between you and your child is non-transferable, and no one understands or soothes like you do.  Your tireless efforts instill strength and self-assurance in your children, yet the fruits of your labors grow gradually, almost imperceptibly.  Your influence is as silent as a whisper, as gentle as the summer breeze, and as subtle as the passage of time.  Little fanfare of accolades accompany your motherly efforts; indeed, instead of appreciation for clean clothes or a hot meal, you often get only larger loads of laundry and an expectation that the dishes will somehow clean themselves.  Often it is only in the absence of your acts of service and stabilizing influence that your true value as a mother is appreciated.

On Mother’s Day we pay tribute to you mothers and wives first and foremost because of who you are and secondly, because of all you do.  You are indeed Our Heavenly Connection and much of who we become is due to your good influence.   You are so very important, in so many ways, to so many people.  God bless you all the year through, mothers.

 

Steven M. Gentry, PhD., is a Child & Family Psychologist and the Executive Director of
Psychological Assessment & Treatment Specialists in American Fork, Utah