mom with familyBy Shane Reeves, TwelveStone Health, Chief Executive Officer

The Bible consistently speaks to the need for us to honor and love our mothers. Examples of this can be seen in Exodus 20:12, “Honor your father and your mother,” and Leviticus 19:3, “Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father.”

While Mother’s Day is a relatively new holiday, versions of similar holidays have existed through the centuries. It is right to honor our own mothers and the mother of our children in the month of May when the Spring season blooms and is filled with beauty. For those who did not have a biologic mother to help raise us it can be a time to give honor to the aunts, cousins, or other family members or friends that stepped in to fill the gap. Thankfully women have an innate ability to sense where there is need and instinctually step in.

For those of us in the sandwich generation, the age when we begin taking care of the women who raised us while also addressing the needs of our own children this is an especially poignant moment to honor our wives. My wife Amanda was a clinical professional who spent her career as a nurse caring for others. These days, she is most certainly the center of our home where she is air traffic controller for our three children and on point for issues associated with caring for aging parents. Her labor of love and ability to balance it all is quite astounding to behold.

Without her love and support at the home front, my position as the leader of TwelveStone Health Partners and Senator for the state of Tennessee would simply be impossible. My gratitude for her is often expressed in the form of flowers or chocolates. Thankfulness is what also comes to mind when remembering my own mother who has gone home to heaven.

Another way to show love, appreciation, and concern for the important women in our lives is to provide the time and support to encourage her to take care of herself. Often women prioritize the needs and health of everyone in their family before themselves. By not taking the time for preventive care, serious issues that might have been addressed earlier are not identified until a health crisis occurs. Remember what they say on the plane: put the oxygen mask on you first. I am certain that is largely for the women on the plane who instinctually might reach for the person in need next to them.

After a few decades of marriage, I learned that I can be supportive simply through listening to my wife share about the stress associated with caring for parents. I can also offer encouragement ensuring she makes appointments for herself and has coverage and time to follow through with her own preventive care such as mammograms, colonoscopies, bone density testing, cardiac screening and other recommendations based on age and family history. And of course, I can step in and take a more prominent role at home time to time to give her a chance to rest and recharge.

This Mother’s Day I will grab the flowers and the card, but I will also ensure she takes care of herself first, so she is able to care well for others.

And might I ask us to go one step further this year? May we keep our eyes open to the single mom in our sphere who also needs a break and find a way to bless her? It may take us joining forces with a friend to help execute an idea but I bet we will be blessed far more than it will cost us.

“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.’” – Proverbs 31:28-31