Remember

That not all mothers fit the Hallmark ideal.

Some mothers have, for years upon years, abused their children in horrific ways. Some have neglected them. Some have chosen to maintain their relationship (and standard of living) with a husband who molests their children, even after walking in on an episode. Some refuse to believe when their grown child tells them about the molestation years later. (I know someone in all but one of these categories.)

Some of them hate being mothers — they do their best by their kids, and yet it doesn’t change. They feel lost and floundering, and abandoned by the culture that holds motherhood in such falsely high esteem that only those who look pristine are allowed. (This one is inspired by a post a friend wrote that is still receiving comments what, two or three years later?)

Some mothers are merely human, not divine. They get tired and grumpy. They don’t adore every little thing their child does at all times. They lose patience.

Some of them love their children without carrying “motherhood is my only dream” banners. They have their own friends, their own interests, their own careers, their own relationships, in addition to their relationship with their child(ren).

Not everyone who wants to be a mother can be. Some are infertile, some are constrained by other circumstances.

Some mothers have lost children.

Some have had to give them up.

Some children have lost mothers.

Every mother sometimes needs to say “I forgive you,” and “I’m sorry.”

So does every child.

If your mother has ever done anything good, appreciate that one thing, or those many things, whatever the proportion, today. If you are a mother and have ever done anything good, take some courage in that one thing, or those many things, whatever the proportion, today.

And in the midst of your gratitude, and your expressed appreciation, remember that other mothers and other children may have different experiences than yours, and this may not be the happiest day for them. It’s also okay to remember that your own mother, or you yourself as a mother, have at times also done what is not good, and at times failed to do something good.

Acknowledging the bad does not negate your gratitude and appreciation for the good.

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