You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.Buddha
I have a girlfriend, Carol, who is an entrepreneur, a mum to four young boys and the wife of an equally busy husband, Steve.
It’s fair to say that my friend does most of the emotional labour for the household. Carol remembers all the birthdays for her own and the wider family. She organises Easter and Christmas and all of the celebrations and life milestones.
Her husband and boys adore her.
Not once has anyone remembered to make a fuss of Carol for Mother’s Day.
Each year she has planned a lunch for her own Mum and Mother-In-Law. Each year she has purchased gifts for them, and then cooked and served lunch. This started before Carol had children of her own, and has continued ever since.
Sometimes her children bring home a handmade Mother’s Day card or gift from school or preschool. Sometimes her husband has remembered to make her tea and take it to her in bed. But not once has she ever been given a Mother’s Day card or a gift from her husband and boys in appreciation for all she does for them.
Don’t get me wrong. Carol knows she is loved, her husband Steve is generous and kind, and the boys constantly shower her with hugs and kisses and spontaneous gifts. Her husband often buys her flowers, and just-because gifts, and he is thoughtful in showing appreciation in other ways. Just not Mother’s Day.
My friend has never said ANYTHING to her family about their lack of attention on this one special day. They would never know how hurt she is, or how resentment and a sense of being unworthy is eating at her – all because she feels invisible on a day that she believes should include her too.
She called me last week, ready to have a fiery show-down with Steve if she is unacknowledged again this year, or to invite her Mothers over and then not turn up herself. To prove a point.
Is that what you really want? I asked her.
No, she sniffed. What I want is a card signed by all of them, and a pair of those plush sheepskin slippers. And a book or maybe some hand cream. Something just for me. Something Mother-y.
Don’t you have a pair of slippers? I said.
No! I wear old football socks and crocs, because I refuse to buy myself slippers. They are a Mother’s Day thing. If they loved me they’d get me slippers, or so I tell myself, so every winter I schlepp about in socks and crocs because every Mother’s Day no-one buys me slippers.
She started laughing. And so did I.
I don’t think Steve is a mind reader. Why don’t you buy what you want, and give it to your husband to give to you with the boys? I said. You could buy your own card too, or ask him to buy you one. I’m sure that he would.
So, Carol did. She bought her own darn slippers! Lovely ones, that fit well, and which she adores. She bought rose-scented hand-cream, a small box of chocolates, and a new book. She took them to her husband, and asked him to give them to her on Mother’s Day, with a card of his choice, hand-made or bought, signed by him and the boys. He was crestfallen. He had never realised she wanted a fuss made over her. I’m sure Steve will augment that gift come Mother’s Day.
Most importantly, Carol gave herself what she needed, instead of sitting around waiting for someone else to do it to prove that she was worthy enough or loved enough.
So, how about you? DO you need to buy your own slippers too? Or something else that is exactly what you want? That’s not failure. That’s empowerment.
Hugs, love and cosy toes, Nicole xx