Here in the UK Mothers Day is fast approaching and I await it with very mixed feelings. I became a Mum in 2011, in the grand scheme of things I am still a newbie, I still have lots to experience and learn. This will be my 5th Mothers Day and the confusion I have felt on previous years is still very much present and I do wonder when or if it will fade.
I love my children, they are my world and my upmost priority, I am a stay at home Mum and my days revolve around every aspect of their care. I cherish my time with them (although I sometimes want to pull my hair out!) and I already look forward to so many different things that I will be able to share with them in the future.
But back when I had a job in an office I would get feedback from Managers and colleagues about my performance and I’d have an appraisal once a year to let me know how I was doing and I’d get a (small) payrise every year and a salary at the end of every month. All of which told me I was doing something right, I was working hard and achieving things and progressing. It was the pat on the back, the ‘good job’. Those things made the bad days easier.
But being a stay at home mum you don’t have anything like that, you go through each day just hoping you haven’t screwed anything up too badly!
I should reiterate that I love my kids, but I constantly worry and fret and wonder if what I’m doing is ‘right’. Motherhood is a thankless task, from what I can tell Mothers in general are very much taken for granted, with those around them just assuming they will always be there and without much, if any, thought given to who does everything.
So why shouldn’t we have a day where we are celebrated, where you get a ‘worlds greatest mum’ card and maybe some flowers (please not daffodils though!).
I should probably note here that I don’t believe there is actually any such thing as the ‘worlds greatest mum’, we are all only human. But my children and 4 and 2 and so there ‘world’ is a lot smaller than mine and fortunately for me they don’t have much to compare me to. So for them I really am the worlds greatest mum. And I am going to grab hold of that fact and hang onto it for as long as possible.
I really look forward to spending the day with my Husband and two children and just relaxing with them and playing, and having quality family time without rushing around. I long for handmade cards from my kids and I cherish the handprint one my daughter did for me last year. I love to think of all the Mothers across the UK also being given handmade cards or carefully chosen gifts (no matter how random they may be), I love that Mothers are celebrated.
Being a Mum is hard and amazing and we are doing our best and we deserve that day a year when we get a pat on the back and a ‘good job’.
So why have I felt such confusion over it?
It’s because I have a bad relationship with my own Mum. I grew up wishing my parents were different, wishing that they cared, that they would make me or my brothers a priority. My Mum definitely got a worse press than my Dad, and because of that I haven’t actually spoken to her for about 8 years. I have seen her twice in that time, but we haven’t actually spoken to each other at all. Me because I have too much hurt and upset to even know where to begin, and her because I think she’s scared of what I might say if she engages with me.
Before I became a Mum, and whilst I was still in contact with my Mum, I hated Mothers Day, it was so forced and contrived. I would spend ages in the card shops pouring over the cards. I’m sure to others I looked like a devoted daughter who was searching for the perfect card, when in reality I was desperate to find one that DIDN’T say she was the ‘best mum’ or the ‘greatest mum’ or even one that said ‘thank you for all you do’. Because the reality was that she wasn’t any of those things and she did very little for me, certainly not enough for a day of celebration.
Yes, I know she gave birth to me, but trust me, I know from experience that physically being able to give birth does not make you a good Mum and that a child should not have to experience neglect or emotional hurt because a woman got pregnant and gave birth to them. There has to be more to being a Mum!
Even once I had cut ties with my Mum, I still hated Mothers Day, it was a reminder of all that I wanted and didn’t have. I so badly wanted decent parents, I wanted someone to be able to turn to, to rely on, someone to be interested in my life, someone to love me unconditionally.
I certainly don’t begrudge other people the good and strong relationships with their Mums (or Dads) and I would encourage friends to really celebrate their mums, but I have always longed to have one myself.
When Simon and I got engaged I was over the moon, I loved wedding planning and dress shopping. But there was always a void where my Mum should be. My friends getting engaged around me had Mums who were sooooo excited and so involved in the wedding process and I hate to say it, but I was jealous. It made me sad that I didn’t have a ‘mother of the bride’ to discuss the tiny details with and to become teary eyed over dresses with and to hold me close on the day of the wedding when I was overcome with nerves.
Then again when I was pregnant for the first time I felt that void again. Where was the person I could ask pregnancy questions to, and go baby shopping with.
Then Miley arrived and I longed even more to have a Mum to be there to help with the little things, as once Simon was back at work it was just me, all day everyday.
Now I’ve been a Mum for a little while, I don’t feel the void for myself so much, although it would be lovely to have an older and more experienced mother figure to talk with sometimes. But I do feel the void for my children, they are very much missing out on having grandparents who are close to them. So every mothers day I feel that loss, that void, I look at the Mum cards and wish that I had someone to choose the perfect card for and I look at the Nan cards and I wish my children had someone who deserved one of those beautiful cards.
When I have expressed this upset to some people they have said it is in the past and I should get over it. But unfortunately my feelings are much more complex than that.
The hurt I have runs deep, wounds from a childhood spent feeling unloved.
Maybe it is self indulgent to still feel this way, but its hard to let go of something that has so many reminders.
So whilst I love to celebrate myself and other Mothers on Mothers Day and I am so excited to do that. I also am aware that not all mothers deserve the celebration and that there are many people who do not welcome Mothers Day for a variety of reasons.
If you are one of the really lucky ones and you have beautiful children to celebrate you being a Mummy and you also have a wonderful Mum of your own to celebrate then really REALLY enjoy it. Bask in it and really take in just how wonderful it is, not only be a great Mum but also to have a great Mum.
I will be doing everything I can to focus on the positives, I am going to throw myself into the day and really try to enjoy every minute with my little family.
And if I start to feel sad, I will look at my wonderful (if sometimes challenging!) children and promise myself that they will never ever have to feel the way I do, because I will do everything in my power to be a fantastic Mummy for them and to make sure they always feel loved.
Because as a parent what could be more important than making sure your child feels loved, no matter how old they are.
How do you feel about Mothers Day? Do you celebrate it?
I’d love to hear other peoples experiences good or bad.