The idea behind Mother’s Day, in theory, seems like such a basic and bland topic. But it actually is one of the more emotionally charged “holidays” in the calendar year.
Because everyone has a mom. And your feelings about your mom may not exactly match up to the Hallmark selection at your local grocery store.
And, not only that, but some have recently (or even not-so-recently) lost their moms, so this particular day stirs up some fresh feelings of grief.
Additionally, some people aren’t the mothers that they pictured in their heads when they were younger. Whether that means they have experienced grief and loss, infertility, a divorce, or are now in a blended family, motherhood can come with a lot of unexpected emotional scarring along the way.
Some women are not mothers yet, solely by circumstances, such as not finding a partner yet – but still have dreams of being one. The constant barrage of advertisement surrounding this holiday can be yet another reminder of their feelings of frustration regarding this plan not yet being fulfilled.
Many women have made a choice to not become mothers at all – which may not seem relevant, but is because it can come with its own stigma, along with repeated explanations to family and friends regarding that choice. For these women, Mother’s Day can sometimes bring feelings of guilt, or not fitting in, as they navigate the conversations around their lifestyle.
Because millions of dollars are spent on this particular holiday each year, it isn’t something quite as simple as “just treat it like any other day,” or ignoring it. Societal expectations for the role that women “should” play are very real, and can be daunting for those that don’t quite fit into those storylines for one reason or another.
Regardless of your experience and feelings about Mother’s Day, just know that there are other women out there that experience very similar negative feelings about it. You aren’t alone.
And if you love Mother’s Day – fabulous. You aren’t alone either.
But the important piece is to acknowledge that both sides of the coin exist here, and we can and should empathize with others that may not have our experience.
If Mother’s Day is exciting for you, acknowledge that those around you may have a different story. Have your fun. Eat your brunch, and sleep in if your children will allow it. But if a friend just isn’t into Mother’s Day, be mindful that you may not know the whole story behind that feeling. Show empathy, and allow them the space they seek.
If Mother’s Day is excruciating, acknowledge that those around you may have a different story. But you don’t have to feed the social narrative here – if you need space, you can give yourself permission to take it. Instead, take some time to engage in self-care (something rejuvenating that you LOVE).
It’s ok to acknowledge that this day is complicated – most of us inherently know that from our own experiences with one or more of the above categories. But when we can take off some of our own expectations of what this day should look like, we find that feeling these very real feelings can be the first step on the road towards healing them.
Need more support than what a blog post will give you? Want to learn more about how you can get rid of those lonely feelings and dig deeper in your relationships? Contact me here to learn more about my services.
Brooke Williams, MA, LPC, is a licensed professional counselor serving South Carolina. She provides relationship and identity counseling online for busy moms and professionals. You can read more about her here.