Being a mother myself, I know first-hand the laborious journey of all that motherhood entails. I have experienced such tremendous joys, have sacrificed my own needs repeatedly for my family, and humbly, I am grateful for it all. It’s sweet to be celebrated on Mother’s Day but honestly, I signed up for it. My payoffs are in the daily connection and the gratitude that my children are on this earth with me and doing their best to find their way/their meaning. I’m not perfect, and neither are they; but what a huge gift to have each other in this crazy, beautiful, messy journey called life. A special day to honor the mother-child bond seems gratuitous: having a good enough mother-child relationship is the gift.
On the other hand, if you have any kind of motherhood wounds, Mother’s Day becomes so much more significant, and often, unfortunately, painful. There are the mothers who have lost their children, who long for the everyday gifts of temper tantrums and messy hugs. There are the mothers who were never able to bear and meet the child/children they had once dreamt of. There are the women who feel uncelebrated and less-than because they never had a family, yet have nurtured and mothered as part of their authentic nature. There are single mothers, who have little support, and stretch themselves beyond sacrifice. There are those who felt unloved, unseen, forsaken by their mothers, who still question if there is something fundamental wrong with themselves as if they weren’t lovable. There are the mothers who feel they failed because their children have moved away or rejected them for so many possibly valid and maybe not so valid reasons. There are those whose mothers have died too soon, and they still have the need to be mothered in some way.
If you are lucky enough to have a good-enough mother-child bond that is present for you now: absolutely affirm it! Celebrate it!! Always express gratitude. Don’t wait for Mother’s Day, say thank you and I love you as often as possible.
But I also think Mother’s day could be a reparation and comforting day for those who have any kind of mother wounds…If you have some motherhood wound, please acknowledge it and find some calm and comfort on Mother’s Day, and every day. If you are in some kind of grief or pain, talk to others about it. Find where and by whom you can still be mothered and loved. If you are in a position to make repairs with a mother or child figure in your life, be daring enough to speak your truth and seek healing and forgiveness if possible. If you have maternal love to give, celebrate it and give it away. The world absolutely needs to be healed by the nurturing-mother archetypal energy in each and every one of us. Perhaps most importantly, give yourself the love you seek. Find that mother energy hiding inside of you, and give it to any wounded part of yourself. Let yourself cry, be mad, want things…and be good enough to your inner-child and give yourself a hug, get yourself flowers, put yourself to bed, give yourself ice cream after you eat your vegetables ;).
So, I’m suggesting we re-conceptualize Mother’s Day as Mothering Day. Mother yourself, mother your mother, mother your loved ones, mother the earth, mother strangers if that’s your thing!
Join me in this idea?
From my maternal heart, warmly and genuinely: happy mothering day to you. <3 Lisa
Learn more about the author of this post: Lisa Catania, MSW, LCSW