When Mother's Day Hurts

It’s not unreasonable to assume that, for a mother of nine, Mother’s Day should be the most wonderful day of the year. It’s not. In fact, for years it was depressing. At one point I did come to terms with it. Now, I’m back to dreading it, but I have an entirely new perspective.

Let me explain.

When my children were little, every year they would ask,”What do you want for Mother’s Day?” Faced with 22 loads of laundry, an endless stream of dirty faces, and empty tummies, I would say with a smile, “I want to wake up to a clean house and not have to cook.” They would giggle and reply, “You always say that.”

Then, I would wake up to a lifetime supply of refrigerator art and hungry children. So we would wipe out the local donut shop of everything covered in chocolate.

It took several years for me to realize that the reason I hated Mother’s Day so much was because, well frankly, I just wanted a day off. Somewhere in my mind, I figured Mother’s Day should be the day I don’t have to be a mother.

When I came to grips with my ridiculous expectations, I turned it around and spent the day being truly thankful for my children and enjoying my motherhood.

The thing is, as mothers we tend to be a selfless lot. At least when it comes to our children. This year brings a new perspective. The perspective of those women who also hate, or at least dread, Mother’s Day for very real, and painful reasons.

This is my first Mother’s Day without my own mother.

The thing about grief is that you see what isn’t there more clearly than what is before you. At family gatherings, I often look past the children standing in front of me and see the son who’s not. This year, it’s the phone call I can’t make that will hang in the air heavier than the scent of flowers.

Sarah Philpott, over at All-American Mom, has a wonderful way to help everyone celebrate mothers with the movement she started last year called Honor All Moms—#honorallmoms.

Sarah writes:

If you know a woman whose baby died in the womb, a woman who has lost a living child, or a woman battling infertility recognize her this Mother’s Day. Send a text message or a greeting card, make a phone call, envelope her in a hug, or send her flowers. Use the name of her child in your conversation. It brings women comfort when you recognize her little one.

If you are at a loss for words simply write, “Hey, I know this must be a hard day for you. I just want you to know I’m thinking of you on this Mother’s Day. You are the Momma of a precious baby in heaven. I love and cherish you.”

Every mother knows motherhood is not all flowers and chocolate. It is a wonderful ball of exasperation, pain, and love beyond compare. This year you are invited to join me in reaching out to mothers feeling the hurtful side motherhood.