When Mother's Day is Hard

For some Mother's Day is a wonderful celebration of a woman who is their best friend, confidant and caregiver. For others Mother's Day is a painful reminder of grief and loss. From the ones who are longing for the title of mother, to the ones who have lost their mother, to the ones who have a tumultuous relationship with their mother. Many women will spend this day full of disappointment, counting down the minutes until it is over or wishing they could skip it all together.

The ones struggling with infertility - I've been in your shoes. I know the pain and heartache of wanting the title of mother more than anything . The struggle of envying others as they are celebrated for the thing you want most, and the immediate guilt for feeling those feelings. I can't promise that you'll become a mother, and I won't say you need to pray more or "maybe consider adopting". I will say that you have value now, without children. Although you desire the title of 'mom', you don't need it to complete you. I encourage you to reflect today on all the ways you nurture the lives of people around you. Are you an aunt? have friends with children? volunteer in your church nursery? You are already guiding and caring for little ones even without having your own, that is something of value and importance. Then I encourage you to enjoy a guilt free glass of wine and good cry over the grief you are feeling.

The ones dealing with loss - First, my heart aches for you. If your mom was your best friend, go to person, your shopping buddy and your greatest mentor, you deserve to grieve today. Pain is personal, and no one knows what you need most except you. Your feelings are worthy of your attention, so don't ignore them. If I can encourage you to do anything, it's honour your mother today. Cook her favourite recipe, visit her favourite place, play her favourite game, do something to honour her memory and reflect on all the wonderful times you had together. Loss is a part of life and we never expect to outlive our parents, but it doesn't make the loss any easier. The best way to move forward is not to ignore our feelings, but acknowledge them, feel them and then let them go.. at least until next year.

The ones who are estranged or dealing with hostility - My relationship with my mother has never been smooth sailing. We have many different opinions on many different things that cause a lot of tension, so I see you and know your struggle. We don't need to pretend on Mother's Day that our relationships are anything other than what they are. I encourage you to connect with your mother if you are still speaking, and show your love in the best way you know how. Find a card that appropriately expresses your feelings and keep your visit short if thats what you need. If you are estranged, please feel your feelings. We should never ignore the grief we are feeling, but I also encourage you to reflect on all the women who have taken her place. The women that are spiritual mothers, mentors and guides in your life. You may not be related, but mothering comes in many different forms and we can celebrate those women for stepping up where your own mother has fallen short.

The ones feeling pressured to live up to the expectations - For the childless/childfree Mother's Day seems like another day of pressure from society to take part in "tHE mOSt iMpoRtaNt jOb". Quotes and memes like "No one will love you as much as your mother" or "You don't know love until you have a child", though well intentioned, are demeaning and hurtful to many. Parenting is an important role (not job), but it's not a role for everyone. We don't need to spend Sunday feeling guilty, left out or shamed for not wanting to be a mother. I encourage you to celebrate your own mother and also the many women that have gone before us to pave the way for our childfree choice today. Women like Gloria Steinem, Oprah and Theresa May (British Prime Minister), all showing that motherhood does not dictate value or success in life. Spend today with your fur babies, spend some time outside, or day drink on your patio because you don't have kids and can totally do that.

Today it's okay to not be okay. It's okay to struggle and cry and wish you could fast forward to Monday morning. Grief is a form of love and it reminds us to value the things we still have today.