As a childless step-mother, this day can be wrapped up in all kinds of emotion for me. For all kinds of reasons, all kind of women and girls have all kinds of feelings about this day. This is a day that Congress set up and Hallmark ran with to inflate our expectations and their profit margin.
Mother’s Day can be a reminder of difficult relationships with our mothers. Mother’s Day can be a reminder of moms who have died. If we have children who have died, that is another layer of pain to sort through.
Like many women, I buy into the expectations that society and culture have set up. Ours is a blended family and we share time with the kids so I usually will see the kids on Mother’s Day. This is where my expectations run off with the day. Flowers? Cards? Handmade gifts? A grunted, “Hey” as they head straight to their room from the car? Oh, a girl can dream.
But here is the thing about expectations. An expectation is a pre-meditated resentment. If we expect something, it needs to be communicated. Then if the other party agrees, we have an agreement. Someone breaking an agreement is very different from someone not meeting our expectation. If we do not ever communicate that expectation, it is on us.
We cannot resent someone for not giving us what we never told them we wanted.
So let’s forget other people for a second. If we cannot ignore this dumb thing Congress has done and just make the second Sunday in May another day, my suggestion is for us to focus on the place inside of us that is nurturing and needs to be nurtured. Let’s mother ourselves and celebrate the mother that we are.
A friend of mine posted to Facebook that someone wished her happy Mother’s Day when she had no kids with her, asking her Facebook followers if she looked that bad. Girl, stop talking bad about yourself, first of all. Second, I would like to suggest that you received these well wishes because that person recognized every woman is a mother.
But even if we did not give birth, even if we married into having children, even if our children have gills, fur, or 4 legs – even if we are responsible to no one but ourselves – we are still mothering. We mother our friends. We nurture siblings. We care take at work. It is time we acknowledge those expectations we gave voice to. Acknowledge them to ourselves. We want to be seen so open your eyes and listen to what your heart and gut are asking of you. Forget other people. Take this day to give yourself what you need – is it a nap in the hammock in the woods? Is it a day in bed with a book or Netflix and your furry 4-legged friends? Is it time with your kids? Is it time not with your kids?
Check in with your gut and if you cannot make it happen today, write it down to start planning next March so you can make Mother’s Day what you need, not what we are told we need. Be gentle with yourself and each other today, friends.
Very thoughtful and well said! Thanks for this perspective!