Growing up, my mom did not always love Mother’s Day.
So much emphasis is placed on what a mother is and isn’t. The ideal mother is honored in church. A list of the things moms do is read and celebrated, etc., etc. I imagine most mother’s feel a twinge of guilt here and there or a stab in the heart when lists of what we are supposed to do and ideally be are shared. Well, my mom is the Queen of Awesomeness because she doesn’t fit into any stereotypes. She isn’t the cookie cutter mom …she’s a lot cooler than that. In reality, she would like us to thank her for the things that she does for us every day instead of just once a year. I wish that I had had the maturity in elementary school to ask her how she would like to be celebrated and on which days. Her birthday is often on Mother’s Day as well.
My mom had a change of perspective as I got a little older. Instead of thinking of it as a day that children celebrate all the things their mother does for them, she thinks of it as a day to celebrate the ones that made her a mother–and for her family that means my dad, brothers and me. (I told you she was awesome.)
Before Mr. R and I started trying to have a family, I let him know that I didn’t want to celebrate Mother’s Day since I hadn’t earned it. When we were struggling with infertility, I hated Mother’s Day. We didn’t even go to church on those days just so we could avoid having the emotional tar beaten out of us. (Sobbing over something as ridiculous as a flower? No thanks.)
Tyson was born just a few days before Mother’s Day and Birth Mother’s Day. I was so excited to celebrate my first Mother’s Day, but knew that there was another mother who was hurting on that day–Tyson’s birth mom.
I was excited to celebrate Birth Mother’s Day also! I had just learned about the day and was excited to make it a regular part of our spring celebration. In my excitement and naivety, it didn’t occur to me that having an additional day to honor the woman who brought the child that I love so much into the world would ever be offensive to anyone.
My husband, however, had the good sense to ask our kids’ birth moms if they wanted us to celebrate them on any or all of the days. We left it up to them. And their responses were different.
One made it very clear that she did not want to be celebrated on Mother’s Day because, as she said, “I gave birth to him, but I am not his mother. That is a title that you earn everyday by taking care of him.”
The other one said that she would love to celebrate both days with us!
And we respect their decisions! And if their opinions or perspective about the day ever change (like my mom’s did), we respect that too. We love to celebrate them any and every day we can.
The truth of the matter is that Nicole and Joniece gave me the gift of motherhood. I would not be a mother without them. So, no matter which day they express they would like to be honored with cards and treats …they will always be part of my Mother’s Day celebration.
And Tyson and Gavin’s.
If you have not done so, have an open and honest conversation with your wife, mother, adoptive mom and birth mom in your life. Ask them if they would like to be honored, how they would like to be honored and on which or both days.