Mothering is an activity that unites Northern Saint Johns.
With our family-friendly communities, great schools, stellar weather, and beautiful natural landscapes to enjoy outdoor activities, our area attracts families of all varieties. As a result, our community seems to revolve around the joys and pressures of raising a family: nurturing, parenting, schooling and, of course, mothering.
Being a mom might be the most difficult job we will ever do and, although far from easy, we wouldn’t trade it for the world. So, in our community, Mother’s Day is a collective celebration as well as a personal one. Together we recognize and celebrate the public displays of mothering (shout out to all the room moms, team moms, and coach moms out there!) while also honoring the private sacrifices, satisfactions, and struggles of motherhood.
Giving Past Our Limits:
One of the defining characteristics of motherhood is sacrifice. It is the action of putting the needs of our children and our family above our own. We give up hours of our own sleep, self-care, and leisure time to nurture and care for the people we love. Sacrifice is a noble part of the job, however giving past our own limits is unsustainable and serves no benefit in the long run. Let’s remind those hard working and long-sacrificing moms out there that you are important too. Your needs are legitimate, your self-care is necessary. It’s true that you can’t pour from an empty cup. Place yourself on your own to-do list so that you can replenish and restore some of what you lovingly give away every day.
As mothers we can hold the unrealistic expectation that we should be all things to all people: exemplary employees, chief financial officers, master chefs, math tutors, and logistics coordinators, just to name a few. However, unrealistic expectations are just that. They erode our self esteem and our energy, feeding the internal dialogue that somehow we are not enough. That we should be doing more. That we ought to somehow have it more “together.” Today, let’s agree to release the mom guilt. The greatest gift we can offer our children is to be present. Spend time together. Get to know them as human beings. Allow them to know you. Talk about your likes, your dislikes, your goals, your dreams. Share with them your successes and your failures. Let’s allow our children to know us as the perfectly imperfect human beings that we are so that they may grow up appreciating themselves as the same.
For all of motherhood’s expressions of joy, it is an area of life that can be shadowed by tremendous loss. Whether we have lost our mother, lost a child, or lost the dream of having a child, mother wounds can make Mother’s Day bittersweet.
This Mother’s Day marks the one-year anniversary of the death of 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey, whose tragic loss broke the collective heart of our entire community. Teal bows still decorate homes, mailboxes, and businesses in remembrance of her. Our community continues to honor her memory by celebrating her life and envelopes her family with our love and support.
I wish you all a very happy Mother’s Day, in whatever way you choose to recognize this special day.
Good Mental Health, LLC is a counseling and coaching practice located in St. Johns, Florida, offering individual, couples, and family counseling to adolescents and adults. With sessions available face-to-face and online, we hope to provide the tools and skills necessary to heal past wounds, grow healthy relationships, and build stronger families. For more information find us online at GoodMentalHealthLLC.com.
This article also appeared in the May 2022 issue of St. John’s Magazine