Mother’s Day is a holiday fraught with expectations. The cultural standard includes breakfast in bed, cards, flowers, dining out for lunch or dinner so mom doesn’t have to cook (for that one meal) on that day.

Some mothers expect to be adored and exalted on this, o holiest of days. Most of us are happy to get a hand made card from our children expressing some gratitude for all of the many, many, many things we do for them all year long.

But most of us still end up making dinner, doing laundry, prepping school lunches for the week and bathing our kiddos on this otherwise typical Sunday.

Many of us feel obligated to celebrate with our own mothers, grandmothers, or our mothers-in-law. Sometimes when this happens the focus shifts completely from celebrating our own efforts as moms to celebrating someone else’s motherhood. Yet again, we find ourselves in a supporting role, appreciating someone else.

This year, I decided to do something different. I took myself away for a weekend retreat to do the things that I love: read, write, practice yoga, get pampered with a massage and facial and soak in a luxurious tub overlooking the Great Smoky Mountains.

Getting away from my family serves this wonderful, albeit it counterintuitive, purpose for me: I actually think about the members of my family a whole lot. But I think about them in a different way.

Perched up in the treehouse that overlooks Lake Fontana I can see the boaters below, the chartreuse colored leaves swaying in the wind and I can hear occasional raindrops falling. There is tranquil music playing and birds singing and I can actually hear all of it, with a singular attention that is unavailable to me when I am juggling work and schedules, planning meals, accounting, preparing, negotiating, accommodating, tidying, attending, etc. Moms, you know the drill.

From this vantage point, I can see my life situation more clearly. I can appreciate these amazing people that populate my world, and I can breathe into the gratitude of witnessing and serving these souls as they grow and move through their own lives.

While I’m away I can appreciate all that I do to support them. I can appreciate my Self. I can sense the effort and the love that goes into my daily life and for a few days I can relax all that doing/being/striving. When I get some space to myself I can feel a new energy bubbling up within me. A renewed sense of duty and care, a revitalization of my longing to be of service.

So, moms, I want to encourage you to do what you want to do. Something for you, by you. Even if it’s too late to make it happen this Mother’s Day, schedule it for some point in the coming month, or this summer, or whenever the heck you can. Get away long enough or far enough mentally or physically to put things into perspective, to appreciate all of those efforts you make. To reflect and recharge.

You’ve earned it.

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