Scrolling through social media these last few days, I have come across a variety of posts about Mother’s Day. Seeing all of the different ways people respond to this day has me thinking. Whether you are a mother or not, this day means something to all of us. Yes, to all of us.
Mother’s Day isn’t what you see in a greeting card commercial. Or an advertisement for flowers. Or a brunch special at a local restaurant.
It is pain. For those who have lost a mother, this day is dreadful. It is a reminder that she no longer has her mother. Whether this is her first time to have this holiday without her or if she is counting another year that has passed since she has been gone, the emptiness is the same.
It is joyous. It means breakfast in bed from her husband and children. Maybe some flowers and a handmade card that grandma helped her children make for her. A brunch or fancy dinner, like the ones she heard about on the radio. It could be a new pair of earrings wrapped in fancy paper with a sparkling bow.
It is anger. For the mom whose husband tells her that he isn’t doing anything for her because she isn’t his mother, yeah, it hurts. She wonders how her children will ever learn how to celebrate this day if dad does not show them how.
It is sadness. When her children don’t even acknowledge her special day. She wonders if they forgot because they’re too busy. Or maybe, they just don’t really care. Perhaps they are estranged and don’t know how to recover.
It is stress. She just wants to stay home with her children to relax, but she is being pulled too many directions. Still doing everything for everyone even when they’re trying to do for her. She is being sent to the spa for a pedi, but she has to hurry back because she can’t be late for the family dinner that has been planned for her with grandma too. She feels guilty for feeling stressed about these things because she knows that everyone means well.
For all of the mothers, this is for you. I see you. I know you’re there and you love your children in your own personal way. And this world takes all sorts of moms to bring the next generation up in the world. Even the ones who don’t look like we think they should look. There are the ones who are feeling so guilty and disappointed. Because motherhood is not as easy and wonderful as they hoped.
To the picture perfect moms, you are good enough. I promise you that the secretary at the school sees how hard you work to make sure you do everything for your child. You bring the cupcakes that you learned how to decorate from Pinterest for every class party. You volunteer so much that you become the president of the PTO.
To the moms who never come to school for anything, you are good enough too. Your children know that you work two jobs to make sure they are taken care of. They know that if you didn’t go to work at night, they might not have food to eat or lights to turn on in the house. Or new shoes when their only pair becomes worn with a hole.
To the moms who are divorced, you are also good enough. Just because you left their dad, your children understand more than you know. Whether you are doing the job of both mom and dad, or even dad is still in their lives, your children are okay. In fact, they might just be more than okay because you taught them resilience.
To the moms who gave their children up for adoption, you are more than enough. You are so much enough that you gave another woman a chance to become a mother when she may not have otherwise had a chance. Even if your children don’t know your faces, they know your hearts were in the right place.
To the moms who adopted or foster children, you are enough too. Just because you did not physically give birth to those babies, does not make you any less. You are still the reason your children have life. You changed your life to help other women who needed you.
To the moms who chose to adopt a pet instead of raising a human, you are wonderful. You might be criticized by others without a furry child in their lives who might not consider it motherhood, but you are a mom too. No, it isn’t the same, but you saved a life. Or maybe more than one. You provide for them. And love them. And your pets adore you for it.
To all the others who have no children of their own, this is for you too. For whatever reason you do not have your own child, you have more love to give others who need you. You’re the kind of women who love your nieces and nephews and students and children of friends and family so much that you would take care of them like your own if you needed to. You are so very valued.
So to all of the mothers, you already know. Being mom isn’t about the newborn smells and snuggles. It’s not the story time and sweetness of bedtime rituals. It isn’t sports events, band concerts or ballet recitals. Not academic awards, valedictorian speeches, ACT Scores and Ivy League acceptance letters. It might be all or some of those things, but it is also much more.
It is sleepless nights filled with worry. It is a tantrum in the middle of the grocery store. Or a note from a teacher to let you know she needs to meet with you about a failing math grade. It could be a trial at the youth court. Or an expulsion from school. It is unexpected pregnancy that makes you a grandparent before you should be. It is buying condoms when your child needs to have them.
It is finding out that your baby might be born with a disorder. One that will require surgery immediately after birth. It is loss. Because sometimes babies come too early and aren’t able to sustain life. It is when your child can’t read because she is dyslexic. Or he can’t sit still because he has an attention deficit problem. Or he is shy and scared because no one knows that he is on the autism spectrum.
For all of those things that motherhood is, we persevere. We wipe the tears, even when they’re our own. And we keep going. We know that day after day, we must do our best. Because someone is watching us. They’re learning from us how to do their best each day too.
Whatever emotion that you’re experiencing or whatever self-doubt you’re struggling through, from this mom to all of you, I wish you a Happy Mother’s day. I hope you will take a moment to reflect on yourself as a mother, sister, daughter, friend. Know that whatever your stand is on this holiday, you are valued by many. And that is enough to celebrate.