When you’re a mum – but Mother’s Day is difficult
With the shops full of pink bouquets of flowers, fluffy slippers, best mum mugs and aisles full of cards, it’s difficult to avoid the fact that Mothering Sunday is coming this weekend.
For many, it’s a day of being spoiled by their families in appreciation for everything they do.
However, it’s also a difficult day for lots of women. Those who want to be a mum but are struggling to conceive; those who’ve lost a child; those whose mothers are no longer here. And even for those who are mums themselves, the day can be tough – mums whose own mums have died, mums who are estranged from their mothers, single mums of young children or widowed mums who don’t have a partner to organise special treats on the day, among them.
Here, nine mums explain why the day can be emotionally frought for them, as well as offering advice for others in a similar situation.
If Mother’s Day is difficult for you and you would like to share your story, or if you have advice to offer other mums, then please do so in the comments below, on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page or by tweeting me on @cardiffmummy
When your mum has died
Lucy of Real Mum Review
“I find Mother’s Day extremely hard. I lost my mum in 2013 to cancer and whilst I love celebrating being a mum myself, the gaping hole I feel when my mum isn’t here is huge. All over Facebook you see people celebrating their mothers and I just feel sad and slightly envious that mine isn’t here too and was taken too soon. My advice would be what my mum would always say to me: “Life isn’t a practice run, live every day as if it’s your last”. I know she would be so proud of me as a mum to two beautiful girls, and so this Mother’s Day I will think of her and be thankful that she taught me everything she knew. Oh and apologise for being such a picky eater as it appears what goes around comes around.”
You can read Lucy’s tribute to her mum here.
Lisa of Lee Lee Loves
My mum passed away in 2010 when I was 20, what I find the hardest is knowing she’ll never meet my little boy. I can’t deny a slight pang of jealousy that she got to know both of my sister’s children but not mine. I find it’s easier to distract yourself when you’re a mum as you have your own children to think of.
She writes, “Since becoming a mother myself I no longer think of Mother’s Day as a day to hide from what’s going on around me but choose to embrace it, because I am a mum. It’s only right I spend the day basking in the glory of the tiny human I created whilst enjoying some cheeky chocolates.
You can read her post on Mother’s Day without a mum here.
Lindsay of Newcastle Family Life
I lost my mum when I was younger. She died in a freak accident. I really don’t like Mother’s Day now; even though I am a mum myself I don’t really celebrate it. The thing that I don’t like the most is seeing all the cards and gifts in the shops in the lead up to Mother’s Day as I never have anyone to buy them for.
We normally just have a quiet day at home as I can never face going out for a meal and I avoid all the card and gift shops in the run up to Mother’s Day. I do try and enjoy the day for my children though as they make such an effort to try and make me happy.
Beth of Twinderelmo
I sadly lost my mom a few years ago to cancer. I still buy her a present and a card yet knowing it’ll never be opened and read is always so hard. It’s such a bittersweet day as whilst I have my own children, there’s so much all around reminding me what I no longer have. I always take time to go see her with my sister. It annoys me when people moan about Mother’s Day as I’d give anything to send another tacky teddy or garish card, knowing there was something there to receive it.
When you are estranged from your mum
Angela of Adventures in Websterland
My Mum left the family home when I was nine. I don’t really have any good memories of the time she lived with us. I didn’t see her for almost 20 years and we tried several times during my adulthood to form some sort of relationship. She was a total stranger to me and we failed to make any lasting connection. I found out through social media that she had passed away and still to this day nobody has been in touch to actually tell me. I’ve struggled with Mother’s Day for many years; this year is no different. I’ve learnt that I need to allow myself this time to grieve for the fact that I didn’t have a mother and for the relationship I will never have. I was instead blessed with four wonderful children who have each taught me about being a mother myself. My advice would be if you are struggling, let yourself feel it, cry all the tears and then surround yourself in the love you do have in your life.
Vicky of Being Tilly’s Mummy
Seven years ago, when I was pregnant with my 4th child, it was my birthday and we were supposed to be going out for a meal. My mum said to me “yes I will come but if you talk about ‘THAT baby’, Zach (my son who was 15 at the time) joining the army or Christmas (it was 22nd November) then I will get up and walk out.” I told her not to come and I never saw her again. So Mother’s Day is difficult for me because no matter how much hate there is for the life choices I make with my family, I do miss not having a mum. My oldest daughter is 24 and she makes it extra special for me.
As soon as I got pregnant our relationship went downhill. I couldn’t understand why – it was my fourth child! I lost the twin from the pregnancy and she just said ‘oh well, you can’t cope with the ones you have already’ then when I nearly miscarried Tilly at 19 weeks she didn’t even care and never visited or helped with my teenagers. My meal was about three or four weeks after the near miscarriage. It’s been a long time now and Tilly asks why she doesn’t have a grandma. It my aunt stepped in and became a surrogate.
Reneé of Mummy Tries
I’ve been estranged from my mother for 12 years now. Mother’s Day is a stark reminder of all I have as well as all I’ve lost.
You can read Reneé’s post about motherhood without a mum here.
“Don’t you miss your mum?” Concerned friends have asked me this countless times over the years. I’d be lying if I said no, not at all. The fact is, I do miss not having a mum around. One who could help see me through the daily grind known as motherhood. … If I thought for a second that my mother was capable of these things, I wouldn’t have cut ties with her in the first place.”
When family relationships are difficult
Kate of Refined Prose
My story is quite different, and not tragic in the same sense as the other ladies, but nonetheless it’s made Mothers’ Day tough for our family.
After our daughter was born my mother-in-law made me ill with her inappropriate expectations regarding my new baby. Over time she manipulated my husband into believing that I was being over-protective and unreasonable, and should be encouraged to relax in terms of what I deemed acceptable. It all came to a really awful head on my first ever Mother’s Day during a heated phone call between them, and I told my husband I couldn’t live that way any longer – I was ready to leave.
Thankfully my husband quickly realised the truth and our marriage has survived. His words “it’s like she sees you as a surrogate and now you’ve had the baby you can p*ss off”. That’s exactly how I felt for a long time.
Anyway, naturally my mother-in-law is still my husband’s mother. But though I’ve forgiven I can’t forget and it always tarnishes the day for me. As things stand, my husband knows I will not see her on that day because at least for now, Mother’s Day will be for OUR family unit.
I was so vulnerable and because of how she manipulated my husband and the fact I trusted him, I doubted my sanity for a while. It put me off having a second for a long time. But my husband has been amazing, and I trust it will NEVER happen again.
Besides which, I’ve learned a lot. I have a wonderful, happy daughter. I’m a good mother to her because I’m exactly the mummy SHE NEEDS. So I don’t care what anyone else thinks of my parenting style now, what works for us IS RIGHT – for us.
Sadly I’ve had no choice but to run along with my mother-in-law, but it’s not always been easy. I actually feel guilty even writing what I have above –but I know she’ll never see it so whatever!
When you are a single mum
Carla of Single, Pregnant, Preemie
I have one child, L, who is 10 months old. He was born at 30 weeks so he is still teeny! We both live in Cardiff and I relocated from London (Cardiff is my hometown) when I became pregnant. I have been single from the start of my pregnancy as L’s father stopped contact with me when I confirmed my pregnancy. We had been dating rather than in a relationship.
I have really mixed feelings about my first Mother’s Day. As L’s first birthday approaches, I’m finding myself looking back to my situation a year ago. Last Mother’s Day, I had just moved to my own flat in Cardiff. I should have been excited about buying a property and thinking about next year when I’d have my baby on Mother’s Day, but I just kept thinking about how alone I felt and having no-one to share my journey with. I couldn’t look forward at all, I felt stuck in time.
For my first Mother’s Day, I still don’t feel excited. I know that all mums with small babies know that their child OBVIOUSLY hasn’t bought them a card or got them a little present. But I guess they will be spoilt in the morning. Breakfast in bed? A lie in? A card waiting in the living room? For me it will just be another day. Waking up at 5am and muddling through breakfast time / getting dressed until I can bundle us both out of the house to start our day. I wish I could have just one day where I’m not the only one responsible. My amazing mum will no doubt get me a card and pressie, which I’m very grateful for. She will also get a special card from L marking her first Mother’s Day as a nannie. But it’s not quite the same as the other person who created L to be initiating the fuss.
I will be spending the day with my mum and L – the three musketeers together. I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have my mum, she has been my absolute rock. So the day is just as much about celebrating how amazing she has been!
My advice for other mums in a similar situation would be think about the example you want to set to your child. I’ve already decided that I am going to send L’s father a card on Father’s Day. Although he has met him twice and in my opinion doesn’t deserve any accolade, I want to teach my son how to be the bigger person (something that doesn’t come naturally to me!). And perhaps L’s father will learn to respect my role as mother in time too.
Really good article – this Mother’s Day will be my first away from my mum – I now live in Wales, and she still lives in Cambridgeshire- we’ve arranged a video call tomorrow so I can see her open her card a pressie
Mothers day, Fathers day, Christmas and all those occasions can be difficult. I think we need to take to be kind to ourselves x
Thank you so much for including me in this, have only just seen it now. xx