Hooray-it's May! And the weather is FINALLY starting to feel like spring. The beginning of May always feels like we are just on the cusp of summer beginning, with all it's excitement and anticipation. May also means Mother's Day...and if you know me or have been reading this blog for awhile, you know I have a heart for moms. Moms like me, just trying to do their best for their families, friends, homes, careers, etc. So of course I think there is great value in honoring moms on Mother's Day. (Though this should not be an isolated event!). However, I also recognize that Mother's Day can be an emotionally turbulent day for many of us (women and men alike). Maybe you've lost your mom or have a strained relationship with her. Maybe you desperately want to be a mom (or to add to your family) and it's not happening. Maybe you're struggling with motherhood overtaking your identity and don't know what to do about it. Maybe you're just struggling, period. As this link points out, Mother's Day can be complicated. And for those of us who are moms, we feel the weight of these complexities in every role in our lives.
I primarily work with women in my private practice. Most are mothers, but some are not. I have a good network of friends and neighbors who I talk with frequently. Most are mothers, but some are not. I am in a profession that is primarily filled with women. Many of my professional colleagues are mothers, but some are not. Either way. the running themes of shame and guilt are so prevalent for women in our culture, it's almost as if these feelings radiate off us. The shame and guilt often stems from the lies we've told ourselves that we aren't doing enough. That we aren't enough. I love Brene Brown's definition of shame: "Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging" (review Daring Greatly by Brene Brown). Three of the 12 "categories of shame", that came out of Brene Brown's research are: 1. motherhood/fatherhood, 2. family, 3. parenting. So obviously, a lot of us are experiencing these feelings of shame in relation to our role as mothers. Recognizing these feelings and giving yourself some grace can be immensely helpful in combating those feelings of being less then enough. Because chances are, you are probably doing MORE than enough.
Whatever this Mother's Day conjures up for you, maybe it can be less of a day for everyone else to honor you (though that is a wonderful sentiment if that's what you want) and be more of a day for you to honor you. The woman, the mother, the wife, the daughter, the sister, the friend, the neighbor that YOU are. Be kind to yourself this month, whatever you're going through.