Mother’s Day is loaded with expectation, and I think that the older and wiser you get the more it becomes about meaning and gratitude and less about the commercial side. The media would have us believe that only the pretty slim Mum with 2 beautiful little children married to the hunky thoughtful Dad is worthy of celebrating. I wish that the media chose to show the richness and the incredible imperfect reality and beauty of the Mums who are worthy of celebrating, the ones that you don’t see in the media.
For years I thought that it doesn’t get much harder at this time of year for those of us who are single Mums with no Mum of our own. Think about it for a minute, this picture could not be further from those you see on the TV and in the magazines. I have avoided commercial TV and the magazines that perpetuate this myth for many years, and this is only one of the many reasons why!
I paid way too much attention to the media that I was immersed in, social media. I was following and idolising the wrong kind of people and creating such an ache in my own heart that was already burdened with grief. The expectation I placed on myself and those around me weighed me down and I longed for an ideal that I knew deep down was not the thing that would give me joy.
My own Mother has been gone from this world for 17 years, and it was 11 years before that when she had the accident that changed everything. It has been a long time for me without a Mother, I am beyond familiar with how to navigate this life without her. It doesn’t mean that I have my shit completely together, far from it.
Grief has no timeline. The significant losses in your life never, ever leave you. They change shape and they shape you, some days they are less painful and other days the grief grabs you by the throat and threatens to take your breath away.
Mother’s Day, anniversaries of the death, birthdays, the birth of your first child, Christmas … all reminders of what is missing.
For so long I focused on what was missing, and it is perfectly natural to do this. It does however tend to drag you right back into the darkness from which you have risen.
It has taken me many years and super human amounts of effort to find the things that help me look less at what is missing and more at what is abundant.
The lessons I have learned, the empathy and the passion to turn my tragedy into something more … the unwavering optimism that gets me out of bed on the days when I want to just pretend that this life is not mine. The ability to be a symbol of hope for others who are only just stepping out of their darkness and finding the strength to rise … these are the things that have shown me where the abundance is.
The things that we nurture with our thoughts and our actions are the things that multiply. Do you want to multiply the sense of what is missing, or all of the little things that are the joy in your days?
Mother’s Day can be just as simple as you choose. Switch off the crappy commercial TV and spend time doing what you love, with the people you love. Make a list of the ways that you shine as a Mother. Do you cook, clean, drive, read, wipe, console, love, defend, care for and raise tiny humans?
Are you grieving for the loss of a tiny human, aching to feel the presence of one. Are you fighting for your life or the life of your Mother, are you caring for a sick child. There are so many Mothers who right now are anything but what you see in the commercials. These are the ones who deserve our love and the reminder that they are celebrated too.
The single Mothers who are everything, who are healing from hurt or domestic violence … you are beyond brave.
Mother’s Day for me is now something very simple, something far from the commercial version. I buy myself flowers and a meaningful gift and just spend quiet quality time with my little human. I have let go of the need for anyone in my family to acknowledge or celebrate me, they are just not emotionally equipped to realise that this is the right thing to do. I celebrate me.
In my heart I celebrate all of the Mothers who are hurting at this time, you are loved and needed and never alone.