To the mama who dreads Mother’s Day
I know what this weekend brings. Your emotions are probably in overload. Maybe there’s guilt, because you don’t want to erase their first mom. Resentment because you would love the Mother’s Day they talk about in mom groups. Annoyance because holidays should be easier than they are in your life. Heartache because you know it’s not only you having a hard time. Jealousy because you really just want a year where it’s actually about you. And shame-because you shouldn’t be feeling all these things.
Maybe this is your first year as a mother or your tenth, but for some reason Mother’s Day never feels as good as you were promised. If you came from a healthy nuclear family, you probably remember Mother’s Day with some fondness. You made your mother a card or bought her a gift and celebrated the woman who kept you alive as a child.
If you came from a blended family, or one that was unhealthy, that’s probably not the case. It may bring up old feelings of betrayal, confusion, or more shame at what your family looked like. If you’re struggling with those on top of what’s going on in your life today, I am truly sorry.
Nevertheless we had expectations for what life would look like when WE became mom on Mother’s Day. We give our children our all, each and every day of the year. Every sports meet, every extra curricular, every dinner.
We were going to be moms who were worth celebrating.
But instead of what you pictured as a perfect celebration of your parenting, Mother’s Day is uncomfortable. It’s triggering. It leaves you feeling shame, guilt, jealousy, heartache, and pain. Sometimes, if you’re like me and so many other trauma mamas out there, it leaves you feeling helpless and broken as your babies struggle to cope.
If you’re an adoptive mama, or foster mama(and maybe even step mama, I’m not sure because I’ve never been one!) chances are Mother’s Day is not all flowers and breakfast in bed.
If you’re anywhere on social media by now, you’ve seen the memes and videos about what moms really want on Sunday. Sleep. A clean house. A moment alone without their kids. Moms all over are sharing these posts and laughing together. Well maybe not all moms-because what I want for Mother’s Day is a little more complex, yet less intense and easier. Or one on the outside of adoptive and foster parenting would think.
I want my children to not feel the weight of choosing between two mothers each and every year. Because if they celebrate me, does that take away from their first mom? (Correct answer, no. And celebrating their birth parents does not take away from us. Stay tuned for more on that)
I want to wake up to “Happy Mothers Day” instead of screams and sobs about how horrible I am.
I would love for the week leading up to be given flowers from the garden or even a smile instead of punches and kicks as they attempt to cope with feelings they’re still having trouble understanding.
What I wouldn’t give to not have to comfort my crying child as she holds tightly to flower for her other mama. Every year she takes one for her and the past two, it’s been left sitting on our table until it finally wilted. But do I tell her she can’t take it?
I need to make sure those living outside this realm of reality understand, I do not feel threatened by celebrating my kids birth mother. She is their mother as well and giving her that honor on Mother’s Day will not take away from who I am. Just like we can celebrate grandmothers and aunts and if you’re a member of our church, every female in the building.
But because it’s such a complicated relationship, we can’t just invite her to brunch too. We can’t call her up and say “Hey Happy Mother’s Day.” My kids have so many emotions in their tiny little bodies and sadly this day is one of those holidays that really bring them up.
And this day is one of emotion and conflicting thoughts for me as well.
I know I’m not the only mother out there who is on their way into a weekend that can go two ways. Maybe my kids have come to terms with their past or are going to cope really well. Or maybe it’s going to be a war zone in my house, as we all fight for the same thing. A feeling of security, the love we crave and the love we want to give. We’re not actually battling each other, but sometimes in their little minds, they don’t know the difference between battling each other and their memories, emotions, and pasts.
So, mamas, if you’re like me and coming up on a hard Sunday: I see you. You are loved. You are worth breakfast in bed and flowers on your table and longing for what simpler family relations give. I am so sorry this day is about to be difficult. I’m sorry if your week has looked like mine and behaviors have already spun out of control. I can’t stop that.
But I see you. You are loved. And you are mama.
It’s easy to forget in the mess of things that truth. You are parenting these kids because you love them. And chances are, they love you. These overwhelming emotions and thoughts doesn’t change the basic fact that one thing holds you together. Love. Even when they’re screaming they hate you and would rather live with their “real mother”.
Sweet friends, be gentle with yourselves this weekend. Take the moments you need to recuperate. Hold tight to the Gospel truths, that your worth is not found in who brings you flowers or even simply smiles at you on Mother’s Day, but in the knowledge you are doing Kingdom works and are exactly where God called you to be.
And friends who are on the outside of this battle, please remember. We chose this. Most of us knew exactly what we were walking into when we signed up. I was well educated
And, I would choose it all over again.
Allow us a little grace. Give our children some too.
It’s hard, even when you’re fully prepared, to deal with the days that bring up turmoil and heartbreak. It’s hard, even when you’ve been trained thirty hours by the state, to know exactly how to handle it all. Harder still, even when it happens every year, to cope with the fights and insults thrown your way. It’s hard when that coping has to come second to helping your children cope first. And it’s hard, even with the knowledge of psychology to not allow yourself to feel hurt.
Be kind. Let our kids celebrate or feel whatever it is they need to feel. They made a letter for Mama S? Fine. Great. It truly is okay with me. They tell stories about the nice things she does? AWESOME. They’re remembering the positives. Taking that right from them will only hurt us at the end of the day. Let them be human. Allow them the feelings the have.
(For more tips on how to behave on Mother’s Day, read here!)
And please, give them grace.
They truly do not want to meltdown any more than you or I want them to. Our kids want a good day. They just can’t control what’s happening inside them all the time. Please be gracious about their struggles. And remember, you know some of their story, but not all of it. Trauma is long lasting and hard to handle as an adult now. I can attest to that. I can’t imagine as a child who may lack the vocabulary to properly convey their feelings.
Hug a mama you know who may be going through this. Love on us a little extra this weekend. I wish it was easier, I truly do. But until it becomes easier, I need a little extra loving.
And mamas, a final note for you.
You are loved. I see you. And you are mama.
I’m praying for all those mother’s out there who are going into this weekend feeling broken down and worn out. Please, if you have a specific prayer request, let me know. Don’t feel guilty for not loving this weekend like the world thinks you should. Parenting complicated situations is…well complicated.