Surviving Mother’s Day

Dear childless friends, the Mother’s Day assault is on. In the course of three minutes of channel surfing the morning shows, I came across gifts for “Mom,” a Mother’s Day breakfast cooking demo, and two TV show hostesses wishing each other “Happy Mother’s Day.” It’s enough to drive a childless woman nuts, especially if she didn’t exactly choose to be childless. Do I hear an AMEN?

I jotted down a few suggestions for surviving this holiday.

* Either avoid the television until after Mother’s Day or record the shows you want to watch and skip the commercials. Or, watch DVDs until it’s over.

* Instead of dwelling on your own lack of children, honor the women who are mothers in your life–your mother, grandmothers, sisters, friends and others. By taking the attention off yourself, you may be able to put a positive spin on Mother’s Day.

* Buy yourself a gift. You know you deserve it.

* If you have stepchildren, don’t expect them to show up bearing gifts. They’re busy with their real mother and probably won’t even think about you. Don’t take it personally.

* Avoid restaurants and mom-oriented events. Get away from it all by going hiking, to the gym, to a movie, to the dog park, or something else where the emphasis is not on moms and their children. I’m attending a poetry conference this weekend.

Here’s another suggestion, and this is important. If you really feel that your life will be ruined if you never have kids and that your partner will never understand, perhaps it’s time to think about giving him an ultimatum: If we can’t conceive or adopt a child together, I’m out of here. Do it while you still have time. For me, I think Fred was worth the sacrifice, but that’s not always the case.

Overall, try not to feel sorry for yourself. If necessary, duck and cover until it’s over. Happy, um, Monday.

I’d love to hear your suggestions.

4 thoughts on “Surviving Mother’s Day

  1. Thank you for this perspective. I stumbled on this blog entry after Googling some random words expressing how I was feeling. I *needed* the reminder that feeling sorry for myself wasn't positive and that I had options. I really appreciate your words.


  2. I thought I would throttle the next person to wish me a happy mothers day. My stock answer is always, “Thanks, but I'm not a Mom.” I even gave that response to my stepson when wished me a happy mothers day. He replied “yes, you are.” He's 12, and that made me cry. I ruined the moment by stating “No, I am not.” I hurt his feelings and for that, I am sorry. I guess sometimes it's not always about me. 🙂


  3. Thanks for the great post about Mother's Day. I live in Europe and it doesn't seem to be taken to such extremes here; in fact it's celebrated more within the family and often revolves more about the grandmothers than celebrating (younger) mothers publicly in a very excessive way.So I got through it quite okay. What I'm very much struggling with is the other thing you wrote about:”If you really feel that your life will be ruined if you never have kids and that your partner will never understand, perhaps it's time to think about giving him an ultimatum: If we can't conceive or adopt a child together, I'm out of here.”well. Should I have said this earlier? Should I not grieve the fact that I'm not only childless but also single, since my boyfriend left me last year – but instead celebrate it as a new chance? I am 39 years old. Doesn't love, marriage, the wish of TWO people to have a child together, depend on many many factors we can't influence… and LOTS of time? I would say this to any young woman under the age of 30. But when you're older than that, it's very ambiguous advice. What if I meet a man again and he declares he wants to have children and it turns out that in the meantime, I grew too old for that? what if I get together with a man out of sheer panic and he turns out not to be the right partner? How can I trust any new relationship when the urgent wish for a baby is forever at the back of my head?


  4. Elena,You ask some tough questions. Since the boyfriend is already gone, why not celebrate it as a new chance? None of us knows what's going to happen in the future, but now you're free to seek a situation in which you can have your baby. If you turn out to be too old, there are still options. I wish you all the best.SueP.S. I didn't hit menopause until I was 53!


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