Happy Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day became an official national holiday in the United States in 1914. We can thank Anna Jarvis for the holiday; she spent four years of her life advocating for mother’s to have a day where they could be honored for raising a family. Ms. Jarvis likely enjoyed a few years of the holiday. In 1920, she became an advocate against the commercialism of Mother’s Day. Ms. Jarvis did not have the vision for Mother’s Day as a holiday to “buy” cards, flowers, and gifts. Ms. Jarvis’ intention for Mother’s Day was to have a day for mothers to spend with their family, being honored and appreciated by time spent with family, not through money being spent.

I recently re-read novelist, Anne Lamott’s essay on Mother’s Day, originally published several years ago. She is not a fan of the day, specifically highlighting, “The day celebrates the great lie about women: That those with children are more important than those without.” Ms. Lamott also reacts strongly to the holiday in protection for the women who have lost their mothers, mothers who have lost children, and moms who have children with illnesses or disease. She summarizes the day makes women feel grief stricken and empty.

Perhaps, the reality is, anything can be politicized and polarizing these days.

I embrace celebrating Mother’s Day, more closely to Ms. Jarvis original intention with the day. For me, the day is about personal reflection and gratitude. As a mom to four girls, I feel blessed to celebrate the day spending time with my family. I equally feel fortunate to have my mother in my life and appreciate her more now that I am a mother. As a mom, I have earned wisdom and compassion towards my mother now that I am responsible for the raising and care of four daughters. I also pause today and reflect on the love and support from all the women in my life; friends, family, teachers, coaches, Girl Scout leaders, who help to shape and influence who I am as a mother. I tend to be sappy and sentimental, for better or worse, it’s part of who I am.

So today, I will spend the day close to Ms. Jarvis original intention; enjoying the company of my family. But I also love the homemade cards, the bundles of flowers picked from the yard by my children and bought by my husband. I also love the gifts and treasures created by my youngest girls or purchased by my oldest with the first babysitting money earned. It’s less about the “stuff” and more about the thought. Because on this one day, it’s time to pause and reflect on the mother’s in our life; the women who loved us, nurtured us, cared for us and supported us. Whether it is an aunt, sister, grandmother, godmother, friend, mother-in-law or mother, chances are we’ve had a lot of maternal love and support from many women in our lives.

Years ago I came across this poem, author unknown, lovely and sweet and summarized many parts of motherhood so beautifully.

Before I Was a Mom
Before I was a Mom
I made and ate hot meals.
I had unstained clothing.
I had quiet conversations on the phone.

Before I was a Mom,
I slept as late as I wanted
And never worried about how late I got into bed.
I brushed my hair and my teeth every day.

Before I was Mom
I cleaned my house each day.
I never tripped over toys or forgot words of lullabies.

Before I was a Mom
I didn’t worry whether or not my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom
I had never been puked on
Pooped on
Spit on
Chewed on
Peed on
Or pinched by tiny fingers

Before I was a Mom
I had complete control of:
My thoughts
My body
And my mind.
I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom
I never held down a screaming child
So that doctors could do tests
Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom
I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn’t want to put it down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces
When I couldn’t stop the hurt.
I never knew that something so small
Could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom
I didn’t know the feeling of having my heart outside my body.
I didn’t know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby.
I didn’t know that bond between a Mother and her child.
I didn’t know that something so small
Could make me feel so important.

Before I was a Mom
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay
I had never known the warmth
The joy
The love
The heartache
The wonder
Or the satisfaction of being a Mom.

I didn’t know I was capable of feeling so much before I was a Mom.
-Author Unknown

Happy Mother’s Day to all the women who nurture, support and love the children and moms in your lives.

© Copyright Dr. Claire Nicogossian 2015

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