Today is Mother’s day. I am a mother. Am I celebrating it? No, I am not.
It is not unheard of us to take an unconventional approach to life and recent events have given us the strength and courage to pursue a life less filled with consumerism. I do not seek society’s assumption that I seek gratification from my children and wider family network for the wonderful job that I do. I know that I do a good job and in times when I am unable to give as much as I would like, I am kind to myself. I seek redemption in the fact that I always try my best, sometimes that is all we as mothers are able to ascertain, that is enough. My children recognise that I am human, I fail sometimes. I have never shied them away from this truth. They bear witness to my failings and accept them as they know my motivation always has their welfare at the forefront.
I do not need my children to feel grateful to me for all I do for them, after all, it was my decision to have them, that is my responsibility, it is not their burden to bear. I chose this life and all it brings. It is not all filled with starry-eyed jubilance. There are times when the task of being a parent seems inconceivable and an impossible duty to fulfil, that is balanced out with moments where my heart permeates with more love and admiration for these two small human beings that I have created. I attribute them to being my biggest accomplishment. I am grateful to them for steering my life in the correct direction, for allowing me to release the person inside I always knew I had the potential to be. I like that person. I never wish to go back to those days of being young and childfree, a life of misadventure with no purpose. I strive on the purpose and meaning they have brought to my life. I do not need to be compensated for their presence in my life.
I was always reminded through my own childhood to feel grateful for the fact I had not ended up in a children’s home, this was always said in passing moments of vexation, it was a fleeting statement, a release of emotion but for me it permeated, it became ingrained that somehow as a vulnerable child I was not only responsible for my parents actions in abandoning me but that also I should feel eternally grateful for the safe passage I had been granted. This echoed with my mother’s impudent attitude to motherhood feeling the need to constantly repeat the fact I had ruined her life, figure etc. These factors may have all contributed towards my decision to boycott mother’s day, along with many mother’s days spent feeling resentful for the fact my so-called day off had not come to fruition, motherhood does not have an off switch, it is a permanent position, no money back guarantee. We signed up for a binding contract which comes with unsociable hours, no pay and a lifetime of responsibility. It is easier to accept this and try and thrive and grow within your position rather than repel against it.
I spent many mother’s days in the past scouring the shelves for the card that told the least amount of fiction. Society compelled me to give my own mother a card even though a mother she was not. I told my children we had boycotted mother’s day and what preceded surprised me as my daughter made me the most beautiful homemade card wishing me a very happy mother’s day, that card was sealed with love and the sentiment was truly heartfelt as it had not been forced upon her, that card was her own making and demonstrated to me the independent girl I am raising. I had told her we were not celebrating mother’s day but she felt compelled to mark the occasion in her own personal way.
I hope my children recognise the importance to be kind every day, to buy gifts when they see something that reminds them of someone, to not need to be spurned on just when society pronounces them to. I hope they feel blessed for the people they have in their life but to always remember that relationships are two way, they need time and dedication on both sides. We do not need to feel indebted for the people in our lives, they have made a choice to be there. Children do not need to be made to feel accountable for an adult’s actions, they do not have a choice when it comes to conception. I spent mother’s day doing it ‘my way’, it was liberating. I spent it doing what I wanted to do, ignoring what society imposed I should be doing or what gifts I should be receiving. It’s not for everyone, I appreciate that. Mother’s day should be about doing what we love with who we love and mine though unconventional fitted this very description. Happy Mother’s day to all the mothers that work tirelessly day in and day out with little or no gratification. We are silent warriors leaving the mark of our love forever in the hearts of our children. A mother’s love can never be extinguished. It burns brightly forever. It is unconditional. It is given freely for our children to flourish within its walls, it is what made me who I am today and for that, I will be forever indebted to my children.
This post is dedicated to Sonny and Mabel, it is an honour to be called your mother. You will never have to seek for my love, it is yours always.