Erin Stewart: Embracing Mother's Day

Published: Wednesday, May 7 2014 5:10 p.m. MDT

Maybe if all mothers could see themselves through their children’s eyes on Mother's Day, they’d be a little less critical with the woman looking back in the mirror.

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Sometimes the Mother’s Day songs sung by kids in church really bum me out. Yes, it is adorable to watch your kids sing to you on Mother’s Day and wink and smile from the stand in church, but sometimes it feels like I will never live up to the lyrics.

Last Sunday, I was watching the children practice in their Primary singing hour and another mom and I were discussing how we always feel bad about ourselves when compared to the “mother” in the songs.

For example, in one song, the mother is described this way:

“Like sunshine in the morning that wakens day from night, Like flowers in the springtime so colorful and bright, Like happy songs of bluebirds that fill the air with cheer, A person bright and lovely is my mother dear.”

Talk about an unobtainable ideal.

“I wonder what my kids are thinking of me when they sing those songs. Probably that they got a bum deal,” I joked.

That’s when my 7-year-old daughter who I had no idea was listening piped up. She said, “Mom, you’re a great mom.” She proceeded to go through each item in the song they were singing, “The Family Is of God.”

“A mother’s purpose is to care, prepare … Check. You do that,” she said. “To nurture and to strengthen all her children. Check. She teaches children to obey, to pray, to love and serve in the family. Check and Check. See, you are just like that mom.”

I was immediately sorry for my bad attitude about the song and about myself. To me, it was one more reminder of my flaws. To my daughter, it was a way to celebrate all the things she loves about me.

I vowed in that moment not to be a Debbie Downer on Mother’s Day this year. As moms, we all have a tendency to focus on our flaws because we want to be the best mom we can possibly be for our children. They deserve the best, right?

My daughter reminded me that to my children, I am the best. So this year, I am going to focus on the fact that my daughter thinks I am as amazing as the mother in that song. I won’t focus on my shortcomings. I may not be perfect — but I am the perfect mother for my children.

This Mother’s Day, I will remember the things I do right as a mom instead of comparing myself against some unobtainable idea.

And when my daughters sing that song on Sunday, I will be there, proud and beaming to know they are not just singing to me, but about me. Who knows? Maybe if all mothers could see themselves through their children’s eyes, they’d be a little less critical with the woman looking back in the mirror. Maybe they’d give her a much-needed pat on the back and say, “You’re doing great, Mom. Keep it up.”

So to all the moms out there, let your children celebrate you this weekend. Don’t shrug off their compliments or cards or macaroni-clad knick-knacks. Embrace it. Appreciate it. Relish it. You deserve it.

How do you feel on Mother's Day?

Erin Stewart is a regular blogger for Deseret News. From stretch marks to the latest news for moms, she discusses it all while her 7-year-old and 3-year-old daughters dive bomb off the couch behind her.

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