Chocolate. Spa gift certificates. Flowers. Fruit baskets. These are some of the most popular Mother's Day gifts. It's easy to see why a conscious Dad and his loving children might want to spoil Mom. She does a lot.

In fact, according to the Tenth Annual Salary survey by, moms work almost 97 hours a week. When her duties—broken down into ten categories such as CEO, driver, housekeeper, and my favorite, psychologist—were evaluated together, stay-at-home moms "earn" a whopping $115,000 per year ($36,968 as a base salary and $78,464 in overtime). Moms that work outside the home earned $63,472 as a mom, on top of their day job. (Kind of puts perspective on a card and bouquet of flowers, but I digress.)

Given those hours, it's no wonder a study last year by ForbesWoman found 92 percent of working moms and 89 percent of stay-at-home moms feel "overwhelmed by work, home and parenting responsibilities." "We see [Mom] as the compilation of 10 jobs in one person," Evilee Ebb, the general manager of, told Forbes when the survey came out. "The breadth of Mom's responsibilities is beyond what most workers could ever experience day-to-day. Imagine if you had to attract and retain a candidate to fill this role?"

Moms know this, and if their families don't, usually she wants them to (if subconsciously). So it's easy to understand the hype leading up to Mother's Day. Indeed, even the creator of the holiday struggled with this phenomenon. At her mother's prompting, Anna Jarvis began the holiday in 1908 as a day to honor a person's mother. She promoted the holiday relentlessly until President Woodrow Wilson made it an official national holiday in 1914. Unfortunately, and not surprisingly, within a decade Jarvis thought the holiday had become so commercial that she opposed and even protested the day until her death in 1948.

Most moms may not begrudge the commercialization of the day, and probably even look forward to a show of affection from her family. But the day itself can set a nurturing woman's expectations up for disaster. Indeed, a girlfriend of mine, who will on Sunday celebrate her first Mother's Day with her husband and their 9-month-old son, told me without a hint of sarcasm, "I want a good Mother's Day. How do I make that happen?"

Moms may not like the answer, but it has nothing to do with spa certificates or chocolate.

The new Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) devotional, Always There: Reflections for Moms on God's Presence (Revell), reveals many truths of motherhood. One recurring theme is the overwhelming and lonely nature of the vocation. It can spark feelings of spite, anger, sadness, and selfishness. It's what makes moms on Mother's Day think, I deserve this day, don't I?

The book is filled with stories from moms for moms about God's presence in the many facets of our life. The book includes essays from Ann Voskamp (One Thousand Gifts) and Renee Swope (Proverbs 31 Ministries). Perhaps these small encouragements from fellow moms can help change her perspective on her "duties" and adjust her attitude on the only holiday dedicated to her.

Susan Wallace, my good friend and the editor of Always There, says the key to a good Mother's Day lies in a steadfast gaze on God's constant company. "To me, Mother's Day is a day when the grateful rush up on the shore of the island that mothering often feels like. It can be such an isolating vocation—though it doesn't have to be. Ours is a 24/7 job. Blessedly, we have a 24-7 God who never leaves us to face any challenge, complete any task or even experience any joy alone."

God is a God of Mother's Day—and all days. Whether mom is making $115,000 a year or a peanut butter sandwich, what matters isn't what she receives, but what she gives and that she does it all with his presence in mind. On Mother's Day and every day.