Celebrating Mother’s Day When you Don’t Have a Mother

My first Mother’s Day as a mother was also my first without mine. It was bittersweet, although looking back, I don’t think I actually enjoyed it at all or was happy about anything. Henry had been born in February, and a few short weeks later, my mother passed away. Her timing was always really quite spectacular.

That Mother’s Day, we drove out to the cemetery (in Mississauga) and laid flowers with my brother, we stayed for all of five minutes and then went to have lunch at the local mega chain restaurant.

After that Mother’s Day, I never went back to the cemetery in May.

Mother’s Day is probably the busiest day of the year at cemeteries. Every section has at least 5 families graveside, leaving flowers, tokens and offerings to deceased relatives. For me, it was all too much and not the way I wanted to celebrate my own new motherhood.

That first year was about finding new normal with everything, going through motions, and just trying to make heads or tails of a really crappy situation. After that year, I vowed to never have another Mother’s Day where I didn’t do exactly what I wanted on account of me being the mother in my family.

Our family is growing, and this arrangement suits me just fine. It’s also something I tell to my new mom friends who don’t know what to do on their first Mother’s Day.

Yes, you may have a mother who wants you to do many things for her even after you grow your family, but the thing is, it’s your family. If you want to spend the day with your mother, great. If you don’t, doubly great.

If you want to spend the day in your house alone while someone takes the kid(s) away, that’s actually pretty awesome.

You see, if you don’t have a mother or even if you do, I want you to put yourself first. This is something that was foisted on me when my mother passed. I didn’t know where to direct my energy and it took a long time to focus on myself. Many people don’t have mothers anymore, or chose to be separated from their mothers or whatever, but not many of us chose to listen to ourselves and do what we want.

Even if it’s a made up holiday, and even if our kids don’t appreciate us any more than usual on the second Sunday in May, use it as an excuse to say, “I’m the mom here and I’d really like this.”

So, even though I had to lose my mom and suffer through a Mother’s Day while both full of joy and mourning, I try and pass these words on so that you don’t realize them before it’s too late – your mom deserves as much love and support as you do, and while your mom often has the chutzpah to tell you, you don’t always have the same.

Be thankful and proud of everything your mother’s done for you to make you the mother you are, and be even more thankful that now that you’re a mother, you can do whatever you want.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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