This post first appeared on the blog on May 9, 2014 and again on May 6, 2016. Though I have removed one paragraph and tweaked a few words because my marital status has changed since the original post, my prayer is that it will once again serve as a reminder to all of us this Mother’s Day weekend.
There is only one way for single and childless women to view Mother’s Day—the right way. There is no other option. So what is the right way? Let me partially answer that by first sharing what it is not.
On my sister Marcia’s birthday, it would be foolish for me to be upset, stay home from her birthday celebration to watch a sad movie, and eat ginormous amounts of Hot Tamales (my comfort food of choice) just because the celebration isn’t about me.
On my sister Karen’s wedding anniversary, it would have been obnoxious for me to have written a blog post in the years prior to my own marriage, asking the world to stop celebrating wedding anniversaries just because I didn’t have one to celebrate and telling them to be sensitive to my lack in their time of celebration.
Therefore, my single friends and friends without children, this coming Sunday, let’s celebrate our own mothers as well as mothers everywhere for the amazing work that they do. Do you seriously think that when the pastor of the church has mothers stand up to recognize them for their all-too-often thankless role in shaping the generation of the future that your spiritual leader is, in actuality, saying, “What I really want you to do is turn around and take note of all the women not standing and inwardly laugh hysterically that there must be something horribly wrong with them since they are either childless or, worse yet, without a spouse altogether”?
As harsh as it may sound, get over yourself. This is not about you. [And in you, I include me!]
Too often, as singles or as those without children, we turn situation after situation into what we think is a time of “permissible whining” because we are spouseless or childless. Well, stop it! Right now! Because whining is not permissible, and it is not attractive!
We say that we trust God’s leading, but then we fail to trust Him enough to obey His commands:
“Do everything [yes, everything!] without grumbling….” —Philippians 2:14, NIV
“Give thanks in all [yes, all] circumstances….” —I Thessalonians 5:18, NIV
“Rejoice [yes, rejoice] with those who rejoice….” —Romans 12:15, NIV
WAIT! Don’t say it yet! Because I know what some of you are thinking: “But, Brenda, the second half of that last verse you posted reminds believers to ‘mourn with those who mourn.’ So I expect the street to go both ways!”
And you would be right. It should go both ways. But what if it doesn’t? Does that excuse you from rejoicing on their behalf, particularly, in this setting, as they rejoice in the role of motherhood? You know the answer.
So is it wrong to be sad that you are without a spouse or that you still don’t have children after many years of trying and praying for a child? Of course not. Just remember to keep it a desire and not a demand!
And more importantly, remember to rejoice with those who have been given what you long for. Focus on others this weekend. Applaud those amazing females when they stand in church during their far-too-brief moment of recognition! Look beyond your own garden and see the beautiful array of flowers that we all get the opportunity to celebrate this weekend!
I’m throwing in this final paragraph, even though it may seem to slightly contradict all of the above…well…because I can! One of my nieces calls me or texts me every year on Mother’s Day and thanks me for being “a woman of influence” in her life, knowing that my desire for motherhood is not one that will ever be fulfilled at this point and choosing to lift me up on a day when the evil ick whispers in my ear more often than he should be allowed to do! So let me encourage you—both married women and single women—to think of a single woman or a childless woman you could encourage this weekend by thanking her for her influence in your life. No, you’re not trying to make it a “substitute Mother’s Day” celebration for her—she’s not a mom. You are simply using this widely celebrated weekend that honors mothers as an impetus to celebrate women who have impacted your life! (In the process, it just may serve as a means to remind you that you’re not the only one who is not a mom.)
The bottom line? To my friends and family who are moms, I wish you the most joyful of all Mother’s Days! To my friends who, like myself, are not moms, I wish you a day of joy as you look outward and celebrate those who are!
Be sure to join us back here next Tuesday for another installment of The Captain’s Corner!
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