There are three musts that hold us back:
I must do well. You must treat me well. And the world must be easy.
~ Albert Ellis
It’s Mother’s Day in Australia tomorrow. It’s a day when so many families will get together with their Mothers, give heartfelt gifts of appreciation, share meals and practice love and gratitude. Love and gratitude is a beautiful thing. Togetherness and belonging is the foundation of so much that is good in our society.
No doubt there will be a flood of feel-good sentiment in our media, and on Facebook and Twitter. But for Mother’s Day I want to acknowledge a different reality.
This is also a hard day for many people. I want my post to stand for you. I want you to have a space to put your feelings. I want you to know that you are heard.
This is a post for all of the children, some long grown, whose Mothers failed to love them, protect them and nurture them. Not everyone had a happy shiny family. Not everyone has the love and support of a wise and kind Mother, as a child or as an adult.
This is a post for all of the women who gave up their children, who lost them to accident or illness, who had them torn away by war or foul play or relationship breakdown. Today, some Mothers will know great pain; as their mothering goes wasted, as their arms stay empty of a child to hug.
This is a post for the women whose wombs could never bear fruit. The women who know the pain of infertility, of miscarriage and of stillbirth. The women whom, through circumstance, have not become Mothers. Or who are unacknowledged in their identify as a Mother because there is no surviving child for others to see. The women who wonder, each Mother’s Day, how their life might have been different…
This is a post for the children who have lost their Mothers early, or who have never known them, and for those abandoned or deserted by their Mothers.
This is a post for all of you who loved your Mothers and Grandmothers, and who won’t have them at your table this year. Perhaps they are ill, or passed on. Perhaps distance separates you, or misunderstanding. Perhaps they are living in the shady halls of memory where they no longer recognise you, or the love you have for them, or they for you.
This is a post for the blended families, for the difficulties of mothering children who are not your own, and who may not accept you. This is for those of you whose Father chose someone other than your Mother, and where you still feel the pain of the loss of that sense of family and of all you had held dear. This is a post for the children who became second best or didn’t rate at all, once the family structure shifted.
This is for the men who are Mothering because that job has now fallen to them, for the men who don’t have a Mother present in their lives, or whose Mother and Partner don’t get along.
This is for the Mothers whose children will be in your ex-partner’s home, and with that side of the family, while you sit at home alone. Perhaps for you a phone call. But no hugs. No day of sharing. Not this year.
This is for the Mothers who are not accepted, loved or acknowledged by their Mother-In-Laws or their children’s partners. For the families who know friction and tension, but who still make an effort to keep up relationships and appearances.
This is for all of the Grandmothers who don’t see their grandchildren because of relationship breakdowns or sheer distance and the life choices of their own children.
This post acknowledges all of the women so busy working, or looking after the children of other people, that they never had the time or the privilege to be the Mother they would have liked to have been for their own children.
This is for all the Mothers who made mistakes that they regret, who made bad choices, or who wish now that they had done things differently.
This is for the single Mothers, who long for support and company and someone to share the load, but who are doing the best they can.
This is for the Mothers who do not like their children, and the children who do not like their Mothers.
Life can be a strange, hard and sometimes cruel journey. Mothering and the love of a Mother is not a given and it is certainly not a right.
But we all need love, and at times we all need to be Mothered. This Mother’s Day, you can start by being kind to yourself. By recognising that we receive Mothering energy from many, and give it ourselves, although it may not be to our own children. By letting it be okay that Mother’s Day might be bittersweet, or downright difficult. Life is not a Disney Movie.
This Mother’s Day it’s okay to feel pain, to cry and to wish things could be different. It’s also okay to buy your own flowers, your own slippers, that special book you want, that box of chocolates. It’s okay to acknowledge yourself for the mothering you give to yourself and others, or the hole where the mothering equation has not fulfilled you.
This Mother’s Day, above all else, I want you to know that I see you, I honour you, and I am sending you love. I’ll be thinking of you tomorrow, no matter what kind of day you will have. I hope you’ll be able to find some love and comfort for yourself. Nicole xx