The phone company is getting ready for their biggest day of the year. It’s coming soon, and generates more calls than any other day of the year. That’s right-Mother’s Day! [1]

For families around the globe, it may be one of the most stressful days of the year as the discussion about observing the day begins, perhaps sounding something like this: “So, whose mom will we spend Mother’s Day with this year? Mine? Or yours…again?”

Mother’s Day. Have you ever considered the spelling? Why not Mothers Day?

Anna Jarvis originally conceived the second Sunday of May as a day of personal celebration between mothers and families. When Jarvis, the initial force behind establishing the day as a national holiday, trademarked the phrase “Mother’s Day,” she was very specific about the spelling of the holiday title. She specifically noted that “Mother’s should be a singular possessive, for each family to honor its mother, not a plural possessive commemorating all mothers of the world.”[2]

And therein lies the problem. I’m both a mother, and a daughter-in-law. The same is true for the women who married my sons. Shouldn’t my boys focus on honoring me? I may expect to be acknowledged as the mother in the group. But what about my role in honoring my daughter-in-laws who are mothers to my grandsons? This is their day, too.

Holidays are often a landmine for in-laws, and Mother’s Day can be especially tough for mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law. And you can be certain if there’s been any friction between the women in the center of the vortex, this well-intentioned holiday will blow back the facade they’ve created to maintain the picture of the perfect family.

Jarvis, our celebration founder, had a solution for that: she remained unmarried and childless her whole life! For the vast majority of women, that’s not our situation. Sorting it out can be difficult, creating resentment, hurt, and sadness. But we must sort it out. Here are some steps to doing that:

Remember there are no perfect families.
We’re human and even with the best intentions, we might fail to craft the day that meets everyone’s expectations. Be realistic about your requirements for perfection. You might prefer a sentimental card that extols your virtues as a mom, but your son and daughter-in-law give you a funny one instead. Don’t be offended – roll with it and have a good laugh. When expectations aren’t met, we may be tempted to be disappointed and hurt. Choose to let the little stuff go.

Be flexible.
There are other moms in the family to be celebrated – your women-in-law have mothers, too. Be flexible with how, where and even when you will celebrate. You might need to schedule your special time on Saturday, the day prior to the holiday, to allow your daughter-in-law to spend time with her mom. Or your mother-in-law may have a long drive to see her own mother. It’s not about the date and location, it’s about the time together, honoring the moms in your family.

Acknowledge it’s not all about you.
Sharing the spotlight on Mother’s Day might be new to you. A new mom in the family means new babies-your grandbabies! Even if there has been tension between you and your woman-in-law, make a decision to honor her – and God – by finding something you can appreciate about her. Your daughter-in-law may not be a great cook by your standards, but you can see what a great mom she is. Tell her. Your mother-in-law can be a bit nosy, but she did raise the man of your dreams. Mother’s Day is a great time to say “Thank you.”

Ruth and Naomi, in just five short chapters in the book of Ruth, reveal one of the great “happily-ever-afters” in the Bible. Initially, they are not alike in any way: different culture, ethnicity, faith, customs and traditions. But God brings them together, creating a family, by first, changing Ruth’s heart, and then Naomi’s.

Are you willing to let God turn your heart to honor your woman-in-law this second Sunday in May?

Start by asking yourself (and the Lord), “How can we make this Mother’s Day one to remember?”


Image: Flickr

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