Mother’s Day is coming up. I watch as posts go wild about all the things moms want, all the gifts they ache for, all the fun things parents will be making with their babies for grandmas and great grandmas and I smile. I love holidays on the surface level. I love to see others who celebrate them, I love to hear all the fun stories the next day about friends who get breakfast in bed or whose husbands bring them home flowers and chocolate and their kids give them hand printed pots.
I love Mother’s Day. But Mother’s Day doesn’t love us. To be honest here, most holidays don’t love us.
Any foster or adoptive parent can probably tell you the same thing; holidays are so very hard on our children. They bring up feelings that are often times repressed throughout the rest of the year-except other holidays!, they are littered with confusion and pain, and they simply overwhelm children with emotions. We have melt downs leading up to them, we have meltdowns on them, we have melt downs after.
In our home, Mother’s Day is not about me.
I said it. I’m not angry, I’m not sad, I knew this getting into this situation-I share this holiday with two other mothers. And sometimes it’s about me. But sometimes it’s not.
Sometimes it’s about one of my kids getting to see her mother and celebrate her, while the other cries that they’re spending another holiday without a visitation.
Sometimes it’s about long nights with tears, asking me why her mom doesn’t come around anymore.
Sometimes it’s about people around them telling them they should make a present for me because I’m here, and them trying to reconcile why that is…again.
Sometimes it’s about feelings of abandonment taking over again an them trying to push me away, because I’m the only mom they can in that minute.
Sometimes it’s about making cards and hiding them away, hoping we get to give them before the next one comes up.
For us? Some holidays really suck. But there are some amazing parts too.
Like getting a message fro my 20 year old, first thing, wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day. Or helping my seven year old make a card for her first mommy, her telling me it’s okay even if she doesn’t get to give this one to her because the princess still loves her. Or my five year old trying to convince me he needs to make a card for every woman he knows, because he loves that deeply. It’s an extra flower from church, still sitting on my front porch, still waiting to be given to someone.
Mother’s Day isn’t always about me. I share the title of mom and I am thankful everyday for that. Even with the hard times, even with the meltdowns, I love being these kids mama Lauren. I know who I am with them, I know what they mean to me. I don’t need this holiday to celebrate who I am. It’s nice…but I don’t need it.
Don’t be shocked when the cards are made for other women, don’t be upset when I skirt from the conversation in the days leading up to it. I’ll totally take a margarita from you or a delicious Angelina’s sub, because both are delicious. I may need it, depending on how rough that year is; especially the margarita.
Since it’s not fair for me to just complain and cry over how hard it can be, I figured I would give a few pieces of advice to help if you interact with any situations like ours!
Let them make cards or crafts for whoever they wish to make them for. Even when I worked as an assistance in the schools, I pushed this for kids. We don’t always know the circumstances Mother’s or Father’s Day find kids in. Being aware of it is great, but sometimes you just aren’t. If a child is making a craft for grandma or auntie? Let them! There’s a reason they’re doing that.
Acknowledge their feelings and respect them. Isn’t that something we all need? For others to know, hear, see us and how we feel. Listen to how they feel, let them cry, and don’t tell them they should feel another way.
Be kind to the moms this week. Both birth moms and foster/adoptive moms. I cannot begin to imagine what a birth mother living without her child feels on Mother’s Day (ditto for Christmas and birthdays.) Even if it was a choice, even if it was the best case scenario; I’m sure it’s hard. I still miss foster placements on their birthdays and holidays. So I cannot begin to fathom how a birth parent feels. Wish them a happy Mother’s Day, give them extra love, remember they are moms even if their child isn’t there. And be kind to adoptive and foster moms. I can tell you, from my place, I don’t expect gratitude from my kids for loving them as my kids. But sometimes, on those days that are supposed to be extra special(especially Mother’s Day for me) it really stinks to not have the gratitude I see other moms getting. I understand, I’m not angry or bitter(sometimes I am the tiniest bit bitter), but it still isn’t that fun. Kindness goes a long way, especially for moms who just had to hold a sobbing child because she misses her mama S. (I seriously was not joking about taking a margarita).
Don’t pull out the “real mom” lines this week. I am a real mom, yes. I love every person who agrees with that because I’ve seen too many people who don’t. Birth mom is also a real mom. Please don’t reassure me, especially not with my kids around, that it’s okay because I’m their real mom. The sentiment is sweet, and I truly appreciate it, but some of my kids have more than one mom. They have more than one dad. Just because I’m the one raising them doesn’t mean I’m the “real” one or that I’m the one who loves them more. My kids are loved by all their families-we just happen to be the ones who have the ability and honor to raise them. We are all real today. And that’s a beautiful thing.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. But a special Mother’s Day to those moms who struggle with this holiday, with all holidays. A three finger Hunger Games salute to you. I am on that page with you, I am sending you love and support. And to you birth mothers and mother’s of children not with you any longer. A very Happy Mother’s Day.