In 1908, Anna Jarvis was responsible for introducing the idea of specifically setting aside a day to honor motherhood. Mother's Day became a national holiday in 1914, and we have been celebrating moms on the second Sunday in May ever since. Don't get me wrong- Mother's Day is a wonderful sentiment. What mother doesn't love receiving beautiful flowers and cards, and getting to go out to a fancy Sunday brunch? But even Ms. Jarvis, the founder of the holiday, decided that it had morphed into a commercialized event, and spent most of the rest of her life trying to do away with it as a national holiday. She believed that time should be spent on a regular basis honoring mothers, rather than reserving all maternal praise for one day out of the year. This got me thinking about the underlying mentality of the holiday as it relates to our own self-care, and how we can implement the concept of "mother love" into our own self-love routine.
There is no doubt it is easier to shower ourselves with "mother love" when we have been freely given it from infancy. If we are lucky, we have a mom who was there for us through thick and thin. She gave birth to us, fed us, taught us to walk, talk, read, swim, and the list goes on. She taught us to love others in a healthy way because she first loved us with a fierceness and protective spirit that no other human on this planet could replicate. She taught us self-respect and made us understand how important we are. We grew into young women, learning to care for our bodies and respect them for the great vessels they are, capable of bringing forth and nourishing new life. We believed that self-care was a priority rather than a luxury, an imperative component of a healthy marriage and family.
Unfortunately, many of us were never that lucky. We are daughters of addicted mothers, women who never learned to truly care for and respect themselves. We have been orphaned, adopted, neglected, abandoned, abused, molested, and the list goes on with countless reasons why we, in turn, never learned to care for and respect ourselves. Sure, we comprehend the idea of self-care, but we can't quite believe in it. We tell ourselves that a bubble bath, pedicure, or glass of wine will have to do because we are too busy frantically trying to prevent the abuse and loss of "mother love" that we suffered and so desperately longed for. We run around like hamsters on a wheel, frazzled from morning till night, not understanding why our kids won't talk to us and we are on constantly on the verge of divorce. But we are capable of changing the cycle, and in fact, we must change if we are to continue to foster meaningful relationships and strengthen our communities.
On this Mother's Day, I encourage you to take or renew your vow to love yourself, not in the occasional commercialized ways, but in the daily struggle to carve out the time for yourself that you not only deserve, but so desperately need. The examples of how you love yourself, through practicing The Four Seeds of Self-Care, will decide how you will be loved by others, whether conditional or freely. Your children are learning how others should treat them by watching how you consistently treat yourself. I pray they will learn what little miracles they are because you have understood the miraculous potential within by cultivating consistent "mother love" practice.