Five years ago on Mother’s Day, I didn’t know my husband yet. I knew my ex-husband, for sure. And I knew that I was living with my unbelievably kind parents–they took me in when I got divorced when my boys were 3 and 2 years old, respectively. I knew I was one of the lucky ones: I had an emotional and economic safety net that kept me safe from the sharks of self-doubt, poverty and loneliness.
And I knew I still felt lonely.
I had so many people who loved me, yet, I felt alone. And when Mother’s Day ads started showing up in stores and online, I chose to focus on finding the right words and gift for my own mother. I changed the focus of the day to her, rather than me.
Because if you’re not married or partnered up on Mother’s Day, things can feel a little bit off.
A friend of mine who blogs about the experience of being a divorced mom let her 12-year-old daughter do the blogging on this topic. Her daughter wrote, poignantly:
My father no longer calls to wish my mother a “Happy Mother’s Day” and is no longer there to buy my mom flowers for the occasion. I remembered seeing flowers on the round table in the main hallway of my house, year after year, and the sight of it would make me happier. Flowers are no longer put on the round table since my parents’ marriage ended. Nowadays, flowers are given to my dad’s fiancée, who is not even a mother, but will soon be my stepmother. The phone calls ended, and my dad no longer says, “Happy Mother’s Day,’ to the mother of his three kids.
What is Mother’s Day about, really? Yeah, go ahead, argue it’s a Hallmark holiday–to which I will respond, “How about we have that argument after you spend the day telling me how amazing I am?” Mothers ARE amazing, every last one of them–and they are certainly no less amazing if they’re divorced, or single moms by choice, or widowed, or what have you. If anything, they are called upon to summon an extra load of strength, character and kindness, for themselves and their kids.
So let’s celebrate single moms. A good friend of mine had the following idea, and I think it’s brilliant: Let’s take a few seconds out of our day now to send a bouquet of flowers to someone who doesn’t have a spouse or partner to send them to them for Mother’s Day. Got a friend who’s doing this parenting thing on her own? Send that friend Mother’s Day flowers and tell her she is amazing.
Because she is. And she’s not alone, by a long stretch.
We all know just how hard this job is. So let’s take the day not only to be appreciated, but also to appreciate each other.