The Problem with Mother’s Day

I find Mother’s Day fraught with peril when it comes to Sunday worship. While I have a really great mom, who is still alive and well, and my own daughter and I (currently) have a great relationship, I know that for many, Mother’s Day is a struggle.

There are women who desperately want to be mothers but are unable to become pregnant or have recently lost a child to miscarriage. There are men and women who are grieving the loss of their mothers. There are step-moms who are trying to figure out how out where they fit in this holiday. And let’s be honest, there are those whose moms were pretty horrible. There are many, many reasons why Mother’s Day is not a day of celebration for some. Rev. Marci Auld Glass has done a beautiful job of explaining why Mother’s Day is so difficult for her.

Add all these issues to the fact that I am still slightly scarred by an experience I had when I was 14 and attended church with a friend on Mother’s Day after spending the night over at her house. The preacher asked all the mothers to stand up and be recognized. That seemed nice enough. Then he asked all the husbands of the mothers to stand up. Even as a small-town teenager in the mid-eighties I thought it was a little presumptuous of him to assume all these mothers had husbands. Then he started praying for all the mothers, and I was totally with him until he got to the part where he prayed for all of these women to be submissive to their husbands.  I almost fell out of my pew. My mother got to spend her Mother’s Day lunch that year listening to the kind of righteous indignation only a teenage girl can muster.

So instead of preaching about the virtues of motherhood on Mother’s Day, I tend to treat that Sunday like any other, but add this prayer that I wrote it several years ago

A Prayer for Mothers

One: Today we pray for moms

All: We pray for the moms who bake cupcakes, wait in car lines, pack lunches, juggle sports schedules and preside over petty playground squabbles.

We pray for the moms who struggle to feed their children, worry for their safety and hope for a better tomorrow.

We pray for the moms who give up their children and the moms who lovingly make those children their own

We pray for the moms who stay at home and those who also work outsidethe home. May they all be excellent jugglers with infinite amounts of patience.

We pray for moms who wonder what they could have done differently and those who know exactly what they should have done differently

One: We pray for the moms who have lost their children and children who have lost their mothers

We pray for reconciliation for moms who are estranged from their children

One: Today, we thank God for moms

Women: Thank you for moms who hug and encourage and guide us along our way

Men: Thank you for moms who keep us from doing something stupid or dangerous or insane—even when it makes us angry

Women: Thank you for moms who have paved the way for future generations of women

Men: Thank you for moms who have raised men and women who make a difference every day.

One: Thank you for all women who have acted as a mother to us over the years when we needed them the most

All: Thank God for moms. Amen.

If you have a mom to celebrate this year, or if you are a mom whom others are celebrating, then enter the day with great joy and thanksgiving. But for those who are just not feeling it, know that you are held in love by a God great enough to be Father and Mother to us all.

–Rev. Anne Russ

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1 thought on “The Problem with Mother’s Day”

  1. I like the prayer you wrote; I feel the same challenges. The funny part is that this year at my church, Mother’s Day won’t get a luncheon, or flowers, or much focus at all since it’s my last Sunday before (ironically) maternity leave and also Confirmation Sunday.

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