As a child, I watched with some amusement the almost comical, fawning performances typical of Southern, evangelical churches on Mother’s Day.
As a teenager, I came to realize that much of the rhetoric contained therein actually functioned to reinforce patriarchal structures that intentionally excluded women from leadership roles, and limited their options to those matching certain gender stereotypes.
When I became a pastor, I came to realize how much grief was centered on Mother’s Day for many people. Some congregants had lost children, or never had them despite wanting them desperately. Others grieved the loss of their mothers. Still others had suffered abuse at the hands of their mothers, and Mother’s Day caused them to relive that trauma.
And yet, amidst all of these feelings, there are many who wish to honor their mothers and all the diverse expressions of motherhood. Some mothers are quietly supportive and deeply compassionate. Others are strict and uncompromising. Some mothers are corporate executives. Others are accomplished professionals. And other mothers dedicate themselves to creating healthy homes. There is no single best way to be a parent, and the many incarnations of motherhood remind us of that.
Whatever this day means to you, I hope it is a happy one, and I hope that you find the opportunity to honor the best of what this day can represent: celebration of those who nurtured us as children and sustain us as adults.