Another Mother's Day has passed.

Some of the same themes keep emerging and I'm still disturbed about what effect they have on others. However, they don't bother me anymore.

Not everyone's mother was terrific. Mine certainly wasn't. Hearing about the saintly and near-perfect mothers of others always put me in a funk. It made me painfully aware of the limitations of my own.

I've been fairly open that the mental, emotional, and verbal abuse in my home was quite extreme. Even so, some of my siblings would take issue with this statement. They still don't seem to see much of anything wrong with how we interacted with each other and how things in our home operated.

They can retain their opinion if they choose. I know what I experienced.


Mother's Day is painful for some.

  • We are constantly told how we should value our mothers and what they did for us.
  • We are told that our mothers always had our best interests at heart.
  • We are told that our mothers loved us.
  • We are told that we should love our mothers.
Here are my thoughts:

Yes, my mother gave me life and then proceeded to make the rest of it miserable. Why should I honor her for this?

It's difficult to believe that my mother had my best interests at heart given the often nasty way she treated me.

My mother never demonstrated any love toward me. She only started telling me she loved me in the last years of her life. It sounded empty at that time. I didn't believe her. I still don't.

After being told as a child in Primary that I should love my mother I loudly declared that I hated my mother. The teacher immediately looked perplexed as if thinking, "Inservice didn't prepare me for this!" and said, "Well, I'm sure that deep down you really love your mother." I thought about that and decided, "No, deep down, I hate her just as much as I do on the surface."

I suspect others have had similar and different experiences with their mothers in both good and bad ways.

Not everyone's mother was a saint.

Mother's Day

So, every year when we honor our mothers, extol their virtues and practically worship them on a pedestal, some of us are a bit conflicted.

Some people are revisiting and re-experiencing pain. I certainly wouldn't want to add to it in any way.

Some of these people avoid church entirely on Mother's Day. Some simply tune out the proceedings, listen to music on their phone with headphones of some sort and scroll through scripture or other church literature while the tributes continue through the meetings.

I'm okay though, now. I've resolved things, my own things at least. I can endure the yearly torture somewhat stoically.

Don't Say This in a Mother's Day Talk

The most potent torture for some is simply the endless litany of assertions about how wonderful their mother was, or is.

So, what's wrong with it?

Well, for starters, it is flattery and nothing more. It's excessive and often insincere praise in order to gain something for oneself. If your mother was wonderful, shouldn't you tell her directly? Why are you telling a congregation full of people who don't know her and can't know her?

What purpose does it serve?

I think most people do it because that's what always happens on Mothers' Day and we are simply carrying on the ignoble tradition, largely without thinking.

Thoughtless repetition explains a lot.

Please Say This in a Mother's Day Talk

So, what is appropriate and helpful in a Mother's Day Talk? I would suggest the following:

  • Tell us what your mother did that had meaning for you.
  • Tell us what your mother did that caused you to value and love her.
  • Tell us what she didn't do that you appreciated.

Give us specific examples of the above. We could all learn from this, especially if we never experienced these behaviors ourselves.

We want to learn. If good mothering modeling hasn't been part of our life experiences, we'd all benefit from hearing about it.

An endless litany of "my mother was so wonderful" without any details or examples, doesn't do that.

A Recent Example

One speaker in my own ward relayed details of a woman's very challenging and heartbreaking life but where her goal to become not just a mother, but an exemplary one remained intact through many difficult life experiences and setbacks.

Then, he revealed that he was speaking of his own mother and that he lost her last September to cancer. This was his first Mother's Day without her.

I can't imagine how difficult it was for him to give the talk on this day of all days. It was quite inspiring.


Please keep in mind the mothers of others when you give future talks or extol your own mother's virtues. There is good reason to be cautious in your approach. The Spirit will whisper to you the best course of action.

Continue reading at the original source →