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What's unconditional love got to do with it?


Mother's Day is right around the corner. For many years I struggled with celebrating Mother's Day. It probably had a lot to do with telling myself that I just could never measure up. I was always trying to become better. I had an endless list of the things I didn't like about myself that I was always trying to change.


So every year, my husband would rally the boys, encourage them to do something nice for me since it was my special day, and I would resent it. I didn't resent my husband, I didn't resent my sons. I resented the pressure of thinking I had to be perfect. And I could not seem to understand that no one other than myself and maybe the hundreds of books that I continued to read about becoming better, becoming more and looking more like the proverbs 31 woman, (like she was a perfect saint), that I'd never be able to measure up and this was the reason that mothers day just felt so depressing to me.


I'd love to say that I've dropped all of the perfectionism mindset, but as mindsets go......well the thoughts do pop up. (Now I just know I can pick new ones) But yesterday when I told my husband, hey next Sunday is Mother's Day. A sense of dread came over me when I thought, " Oh no, I'm going to have to tell everyone else what I'd like to do on Mother's Day and I wonder if they will be disappointed if I told them I don't want to celebrate it this year." Now hang with me a minute, I didn't stay there. I really do want to celebrate being a mother, I just don't want to practice perfectionisms pressure this year.


Our thoughts really do create the results we have in life. So this morning I embarked on some good old fashioned journaling to "decide" what to think on purpose. I started by asking myself why did I pick dread yesterday? Why do I feel so much pressure to be perfect with my family? They know me really well. I will even brag a little bit and tell you that they are always telling me what a great mom I am. And when I sit down and I look at the old lies that come up about motherhood and how I could have done it better, I now know that it's normal to have those thoughts.


Could I have done a better job? Maybe? Ask my three sons. I'm sure there are days when they could tell you that they have wished I would have done _________ (fill in the blank), better. But here is what I know to be more powerful. To just ask myself, what do I think about myself as a mother?


I think I'm really great. I spend a lot of time thinking about how much I love the relationship that I have with each one of my son's and their significant others. I love that I don't judge them. I love that I desire to work on connecting with them and to be fully present with each one of them when I talk to them. I don't have to be perfect. I am messy and I love my messy sons. They don't have to be perfect. I choose to love them unconditionally. I choose to love me unconditionally. Because when I show up with thoughts of gratitude, acceptance, grace, peace, then I show up really living in awe of who they are as individuals and who I am.


I'm blessed. I create the relationship I want with my children and grandchildren in how I choose to think and feel about them. Every day I do little experiments on myself. I imagine the faces of my family and I ask myself what do I think about this person? How more in love can I choose to be right now with this person?