I’ve just seen this advert for Mothering Sunday, or Mother’s Day as it seems to be becoming, in homage to our American cousins. Anyway, this advert was letting us all know that the perfect gift for mum on the big day is no longer flowers or chocolates, but a nice bottle of Prosecco. Apparently it’s what all the moms want these days: to get drunk and pass out on Sunday afternoon.
The idea of ladies who like a tipple is not new. The prophet Amos saw it in the town of Bashan. He wasn’t too complimentary about these ladies who drink and partied while ignoring the plight of the poor around them.
Hear this word, you cows of Bashan on Mount Samaria, you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy and say to your husbands, ‘Bring us some drinks! Amos 4:1
It’s strange how we’ve taken this carefree, self-centred form of motherhood and elevated to be something to aspire to. That was definitely not what Amos was suggesting.
But then I look at other forms of motherhood and, to be honest, they leave me still slightly disturbed. Take the woman of virtue at the end of the book of Proverbs (chapter 31). She’s out before dawn buying food from the local market. She is a canny business woman, trading in international goods. She makes her own clothes and soft furnishings for the house. She gives to the poor and needy. Her husband and children think she’s wonderful. When trouble comes, she laughs at it because she has everything sorted.
If this list of things were supposed to be an example to follow, all mum’s would be in deep trouble. It’s a good job then, that’s it’s kind of a summary of the whole book of Proverbs. So that’s good news for mums, as it’s a counsel of perfection. It’s slightly worse news for non-mums because it’s an example for us all to learn from.
When I look at mums in the scripture, I think it’s better for us to look at mums whose lives are not perfect, just the normal broken ones. Take Hannah, for example, who is so desperate for a child she rocks up at the temple. She’s so desperate in her prayers that the priest thinks she is drunk. But she’s no mum on Prosecco, no cow of Bashan. She is just desperate, and how often do our kids make us feel that way?
Or take Rebekkah, Isaac’s wife. We don’t know much about her, but she had a favourite. She preferred home-boy Jacob to the more wild & rugged Esau. We all know favourites are a bad idea, don’t we? But it does happen. The results of her favouritism had implications for years, as the boys fought and squabbled and threatened each other.
Cracked Pots. Every real mum and dad in the Bible. Even the ones trying their best to be good parents get it wrong. I guess we can all try and be more like the woman of virtue in Proverbs and less like cows of Bashan.
But too many people beat themselves up about their parenting skills. None of us are perfect parents. There’s only one perfect parent and that is God. He loves us with a perfect love. He forgives us when we stray and disciplines us faultless consistently. He gives us a perfect sense of security and provides everything we need.
This Mothering Sunday, let’s celebrate that God is the perfect mum and we just need to be us… not her.
This blog is part of the Cracked Pots series of blogs.