It’s Mother’s Day, and I’m Sorry

Mother’s Day is painful, and not just for me.

Spoiler alert: This Mother’s day post isn’t sunshine and rainbows.

In North America, Mother’s Day began as a day of protest against war, and a day of grief and turned into a commercial enterprise that ignores the upsetting side of mothers and motherhood.

I’ve had several conversations recently with women who are mothers, or with people who have painful memories of their own mothers. Today my heart goes out to everyone who wants to hide from Mother’s Day.

On behalf of the BS that life doles out, I apologize.

I’m sorry that your mother abandoned you.

I’m sorry that your mother hit you.

I’m sorry that your mother violated you.

I’m sorry that your mother never gave you the chance to live.

I’m sorry that today hurts, for whatever reason it gives you pain.

Motherhood is not a right, and there’s vetting of who “should” and “shouldn’t be” a mother. There are women who would make fantastic mothers who never have the opportunity, or had their children torn from them. I’m sorry that you, who have so much love to share, weren’t given that chance.

If you have swallow your angst today to fit into the social and commercial ideal of Mother’s Day, then I offer you a tiny oasis.

If you don’t want to celebrate your mother today, you don’t have to. Instead, celebrate how your experience has guided you, and what you have done to move past your hurt. Honour your past only in so much as it helped you change your present and with which you carve out your future.

Lay claim to what is good and decent in your life, knowing your less than desirable circumstances don’t make for good commercial sales of chocolates and cards. The world is better for you being in it, and that, at the very least, is what you can thank your mother for.

What about moms who are therapist and caregiver as much as they are a parent? Some moms can’t take a day off for to be treated at the spa because there isn’t anyone who can look after their high-needs child. For mothers who give so much more of themselves than they first expected, I thank you, and apologize that the world doesn’t respect your kind of mothering enough to give you a break.

Am I bitter about being a different kind of mother and having a different kind of mother than the sunshine and rainbows commercialism sells? I won’t deny it. I don’t let it flare around me all the time. Otherwise, I’d be horrid to live with.

But I acknowledge that Mother’s Day doesn’t make everyone happy. Quite simply, it sucks for some people.

Whatever the reason, if you feel the suckage today, you have my heartfelt empathy and compassion. I’m sorry.

Find solace in the fact that tomorrow, they’ll be advertising the next holiday.