When Mother's Day Is Hard

BY: William D. Webber


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Children who live with a stepmother can also find the day hard. Should their first loyalty be to their birth mother or to the one with whom they are living? When Linda was young, her mother died. Now that she is living with her father and stepmother, she dreads Mother's Day. "At church, they pass out flowers," Linda explains. "We are to take a red flower if our mother is alive or a white flower if she is dead. I never know which to take." Her quandary lies deeper than the choice of flowers. It also has to do with conflicting loyalties.

Motherhood is sometimes so glorified that the implied message is that women without children have missed out on the most fulfilling and important part of life. And all of us know of couples who are trying to conceive or who await adoption, and the ache caused by the empty cradle.

And over the years, I've found another, perhaps even more unexpected group for whom Mother's Day is often difficult: mothers! It seems even the best of mothers have times around Mother's Day when she has to wrestle with guilt feelings. The sentiments of so many greeting cards are so idealistic that no one could live up to the expectations. Clubs, organizations, churches, and mother-daughter events often include in their program quotations that almost canonize mothers. A favorite is, "God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers." What a lovely sentiment--but what mother can fill the place of God?

Yes, Mother's Day is difficult for many, but this does not mean that we should discontinue the holiday. It is a helpful, even needed time that brings joy to so many. Here are some suggestions to make the day better.

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Related Topics: Holidays, Love Family