Mother’s Day can be a day full of people thinking you’re someone you’re not.
You walk into church, and the usher hands you a flower. “Happy Mother’s Day!” If you explain that you are not a mother and reject the flower, they seem insulted.
The priest or minister asks all the mothers to stand for a blessing. You remain seated and feel as if everyone is staring at you, wondering why you don’t stand. You’re a mother aren’t you? Of course you are. But no, being a female of a certain age does not mean you are a mother. Must you explain that to every single parishioner when it’s easier to just say, “Thank you. You too.”
Wherever you go, it will be the same all day. Brunch, a quick trip to the store, a concert: Happy Mother’s Day, happy Mother’s Day.
Moral dilemma: if moms get a discount on Mother’s Day, should you accept it?
Meanwhile, if your mother or mother-in-law is still alive, you need to honor them, which means dealing with family. Do your relatives or friends who know you are not a mother assume you don’t want or like children? Do they hang together talking about kids, leaving you chatting with the cat, or do they keep telling you that you’ll be the next one getting pregnant when you know that isn’t going to happen?
Again, mistaken identity. They don’t understand who you are or why you might be a little weepy or bitchy on this day.
If you’re a stepparent, Mother’s Day brings a whole other kind of mistaken identity. Your friends may decide your stepchildren make you a mother, but you may not feel like a mother at all because the kids have a mother and she is not you and you might not get any recognition, not even a card, from your partner’s offspring.
The only ones who understand are the non-moms who are going through the same thing.
Every year I urge those of us who hate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day to stay away from social media and avoid trigger settings. Go for a hike. Paddle a kayak. Jam with friends who care more about music than Mother’s Day.
But part of me says why should we have to hide? Can’t we just love the moms in our lives and let them love us for the people we are?
My wish for you this year: Do what makes you feel good. Be honest about who you are and how you feel. We need to teach the world that we don’t all have the same lives and that’s okay.
So, Happy Spring!
As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.
Some resources you might enjoy:
Jody’s Day’s Gateway-Women chat about childless Mother’s Days.
Brandi Lytle’s “mom-heart” perspective from her NotSoMommy blog.
Lissa Rankin’s heart-warming take on non-mothers and Mother’s Day