Mother’s Day season is upon us, friends. If your reality is anything like mine, the next few days will be awash in flowers, mother’s day memes, flowery sentiments filled with gratitude, well positioned family pics and a whole host of other things that remind us that celebrating mom is a big
I could go on and on about how significant, amazing, undervalued, immensely under-appreciated and overwhelmingly underpaid we are, but I don’t have to because you already know and are committed to changing all of that, right?
Whew, rant averted.
Motherhood is messy and glorious, awful and sublime, miraculous and gut-wrenching, terrifying and life-affirming, and full of reminders that no matter how hard you try, you’re still going to suck at it. Leave it to an unpacified toddler melting down at Knott’s or an indignant teenager being told you don’t have the cash for those $300 Yeezies to remind you of it at every turn. As we speak, my 11 yr old is telling me how much it sucks that I’m on the computer instead of excusing him from his homework. This is motherhood, people. One day a year, the world thanks you with an overpriced, but endless Mimosa bar and a reminder that tomorrow you will still be paid less, if you get paid at all. Three cheers for you, Mom!
But for some of us, Mother’s Day is an experience that doesn’t feel like it aligns with the rest of a world swimming in sentimentalism and Instagram-quality multi-generational family brunch pics. For some of us, sifting through Facebook this Sunday will not be the joyous occasion it is for so many others. In my short 16+ years as a mom, I’ve come to see that the Mother’s Day experience is as vast as it is varied and that this ‘holiday’ isn’t the feel-good day for everyone that greeting card companies would have you believe.
Personally, I have a complex relationship with my mother. While she would not be the last, my mother would be the first and most significant abuser I had. Though our relationship has allowed for some healing over the years and we are working to restore and rebuild a few things, I’ve had to do a great deal of reckoning around the reality that what should have been the most stabilizing, comforting, loving, and safe relationship I would know, was probably the one that set me up to walk down some very dark roads.
Mother’s Day is hard for me. It always has been and I sense, that on some level, it always will be. Mother’s Day eventually turned into a marker for me. It was an annual reminder of pains and losses that I was constantly healing from , but would never forget. As I gave birth to my babies, one by one, I was able to start appreciating it in a new way. Never forgetting, but always moving forward. I struggle with Mother’s Day and I know that I’m not the only one.
Everyday year, I count myself incredibly fortunate to have four unbelievably and perfectly imperfect babies of my own. Unlike the cacti I have owned, they are still alive and super cuddly. But none of that makes Mother’s Day any less consistently sucky for me. I am among some brave souls who gently remind others every year that it’s ok to acknowledge this day as less than stellar and that taking space or self caring in different ways is a healthy things to do. And if you are like us, I want to remind you of that too. With that, I have a few thoughts to share. I know I will leave some of your experiences out – I promise it’s not on purpose and if you’re feeling brave enough to share them, I’ll do my best to incorporate them – I’d like to think of this as a living document. I see you. God sees you. I want others to see you, too.
On a day where the sea of Hallmark moments and appreciation for traditional mothering roles can drown out those of us who have experienced motherhood differently, I remember and stand with you today.
For those who have lost and buried children, I see and am with you today.
For those, who due to new arrangements and separation, hold their children half as much as they used to, I see and am with you.
For those of you mothering alone, I see and am with you.For those who have lovingly and passionately taken other children as their own, I see am with you.
For those who have watched their children grow and leave, I see and am with you.
For those of you who have birthed and released your children to others, I see and am with you.
For those of you who released your children to others and received them back to you, I see and am with you.
For those who cannot have their children with you, I see and am with you.
For those of you who cannot conceive or birth children of your own, I see and am with you.
For those of you who don’t know who your children are, I see and am with you.
For those of you who are not received and accepted by your mother in your entirety, I see and am with you.
For those of you whose name or life goes unrecognized by your mother, I see and am with you.
For those of you who have had their children taken from you, I see and am with you.
For those of you who did not get to birth your children, I see and am with you.
For those of you who chose not to birth their children, I see and am with you.
For those of you, who despite what society told you, knew that motherhood was not for them, I see and am with you.
For those who will be caring for their amazingly beautiful and challenged children for the rest of their lives, I see and am with you.
For those of you who did not have the mothers you needed, I see and am with you.
For those of you who have no mother, I see and am with you.
For those of you whose mothers violated and hurt you, I see and am with you.
For those of you who had mothers who weren’t ready to or didn’t know how to mother, I see and am with you.
For those of you whose mothers did not protect them from others, I see and am with you.
For those of you whose mothers entrusted others to care for and raise you, I see and am with you.
For those of you with little ones on the way, I see and am with you.
For those of you who wishes their mother were still here, I see and am with you.
For those of you who wishes their mother had loved, nurtured, or parented differently, I see and am with you
For those of you who are still feeling the pain of that experience, I see and am with you. I truly am.
For those of you whose children have not come home, I see and am with you.
For those of you whose children have chosen not to be in relationship with you, I see and am with you.
For the mothers who knowingly and unknowingly hurt, who failed to protect their little ones, I see and am with you.
For those of you struggling to forgive yourself for the mothering choices and mistakes you made, for the pain it brought, I see and am with you.
May we heal and love and learn to be the mothers we had or the mothers we wish we’d had. May we love and nurture each other in ways that remind us that our family can be chosen. May we celebrate the surrogates in our lives that have shown us what love and support looks like. May we replicate that for and offer it in abundance to others. May you carry the reminder that everyday is a day to parent differently and become the mother our children deserve. May you remind yourself gently today that you’re likely giving all that you have and that world can go fuck itself for constantly telling us otherwise. May this Mother’s Day be a day where you feel at peace, connected, loved, appreciated, and honored … Not just for what you give, but for who you are.
I see you.