Whether by choice or by circumstance, not all women are mothers. If you know women who are not mothers, how do you respond to them? If you’re not a mother, do you feel left out, sad, lonely, or angry on this day?
All of the above have been (and are) true for me at various times in my life. As a woman in her 60’s without children, I wanted to share my perspective on what helps me – and doesn’t help me – on Mother’s Day. Maybe this post will help you, too.
First of all, let me say I’m not anti-Mother’s Day at all. I enjoy spending time honoring my mother and mother-in-law, and other mothers in my life. I just believe it is for those whose natural family includes children. God’s calling to be a mother – steward children 24x7x365 – is one of the highest callings there is. God makes the choice on who He calls, whether it’s birthed or adopted children. Women who are not called are richly blessed in many other ways.
But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use? (Romans 9:20-21, NIV)
Mother’s Day is for the women who are called. And that’s not me. Let me start with what is not helpful.
- Telling me I’m a spiritual mom and mentor, so I am in the mothering role in some ways…”You’re a mom too!” I’m VERY grateful for those God has given me to disciple. But I am not their mother.
- Telling me Happy Mother’s Day when you don’t know me, just because I’m a woman. Happens in the store, at church, everywhere.
- Saying things to try and make me feel better or trying to console me. Or even looking at me with sympathy in your eyes. Makes me feel less than, or like I am to be pitied.
I realize people mean well when they say these things, so I try to respond with grace. Just giving you another viewpoint to ponder. And a new thought that came to me this year:
Saying Happy Mothers Day to women who aren’t mothers cheapens the meaning of saying it to someone who IS a mother.
Now for what IS helpful – very helpful.
- Give me space to grieve in my own way. For me, that means I don’t attend church on Mother’s Day. I might withdraw a little or be sad. I certainly don’t live in grief, but once a year I feel it. Some years are harder than others. This year is harder because so many of my friends have new grandchildren. That’s a new hurt for me…but it too shall pass.
- Treat me like a normal person. Talk about the weather, what God is doing in your life, a funny thing that happened the other day, etc. You know.
- Let me talk about how I feel without trying to fix it. Hurt with me vs. feeling sorry for me. I ran into a friend yesterday who did just that, and it literally lifted some of the sadness from my heart. Hugs help too.
I know people say what they say to be encouraging and try to make me feel better. But saying Happy Mother’s Day when I’m not a mother is not true, and encouragement without truth feels empty and lifeless. Truth is, God gave all women gifts and callings, and all of them are equally valuable. I remember the year God told me He didn’t create me to be a “mommy pot”, that He had other things for me to do and be.
And truth is, I wouldn’t trade a moment of my life to be anyone or anything else. Even a mother. I am so blessed!
Honor the mothers in your life this Mother’s Day. Send them a text, drop them a card, shoot them an email. Call them. Let them know how much you appreciate them. Be specific in what you notice about their motherhood and what they’re good at. Then tell them that truth to encourage them.
For the rest of us, please consider what I’ve shared that will help us through this time in truth, love, and thanksgiving for who God has created us to be.
Let us pray.
Lord, thank you for all the mother’s you created and gifted to raise children. Thank you for all the women who are not mothers, who use their God-given talents in all the many ways you’ve called them. May you richly bless each and every one of us as we celebrate or mourn this day.
In Jesus name, amen!
*picture courtesy of ivana cajina on unsplash.com