There are many hard jobs in the world, and many of us might want to argue that ours is the hardest. Some involve heavy physical labor that wears down the body. Others may require constant decision-making that exacts a mental toll. Still other jobs demand constant management of relationships with people (some of them difficult), which can be an emotional burden. Then, there are jobs that have to be worked at odd hours, late at night or early in the morning, leading to sleep deprivation and physical exhaustion.

Put all four of those demanding jobs together and you get motherhood. Being a good and faithful mom, I think, may be the hardest job of all. It can stretch through the day and into the night. It can tax emotions and stamina. It can bring the pressure of making unpopular but necessary decisions. It never completely stops.

And, despite all that, the salary is nonexistent and expressions of appreciation are rare.

Perhaps that’s one reason we make such a big deal out of Mother’s Day: it’s one day of the year when Hallmark and FTD and restaurant ads and special services at church make sure we are reminded that thank-yous are in order.

I’m not that excited about adding to the profit margins of companies that make money from Mother’s Day, but I don’t mind the reminders to be grateful for the long hours and hard labor my mother put into helping me survive childhood and adolescence, and the warm support and concern that I know she will continue to show as long as she lives.

Thanks, Mama. I owe you — big time.

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