by Jane Valentine
Mothers Day. A day to celebrate the women who have brought each and every one of us into this world, a day for children to spoil their usually selfless mummies for a change! Most mums I know have trouble acknowledging their own accomplishments, and are even worse at giving themselves a pat on the back when it comes to their work as parents. For myself personally, I’m usually so busy thinking about the next thing that needs to be done that I simply don’t even think about celebrating my triumphs.
When it comes to organising presents, special meals, exciting activities, and rolling it all into a surprise to make someone smile for their special day, most mums are experts. But combining the two? It’s a tough gig. For example, this year is my first year as a mum of two and I’m away from all of my family and friends. I forgot my own birthday. My mum called and told me to make sure I went and checked my post office box for my present, and I had a mental blank. What was she talking about? What had I done to deserve a gift? She gently reminded me by asking what month and date it was, and even with that in my head I still couldn’t understand the significance of the day.
This got me thinking. Are we who are single mothers giving up on our ‘special days’? If there’s no one else to organise the celebration, are there others out there like me who feel a sense of guilt for making a fuss? But what about the other people who are affected? What about your kids who miss out on the excitement, joy, and lesson in selflessness that come with being a part of the celebration, of giving a gift with no expectation of having one returned?
To my fellow single mums for this coming mother’s day – please think of this as a gentle reminder accompanied by my deepest respect and admiration: We are not ‘just a mum’. We are amazing women, doing the most amazing thing possible with our lives. We protect and nurture the future of this world with a solitary pair of hands. It doesn’t matter if society as a whole considers motherhood brainless work. It doesn’t matter whether or not our exes pull their share of the parenting load, if any at all. It doesn’t matter that it feels hard and embarrassing to have to ask for help from family, friends, and services. What matters most is that we are awesome! No matter what kind of garbage is tossed our way, if we expect respect from the world, we have to give it to ourselves first. To teach our children to be respectful and to respect themselves, we must lead by example.
So, this mother’s day, take charge! If your babies are too young to understand, just tell them that you’re having a special day for mummy. Let them pick out a card (even if it does say “to my great-aunt, on your 80th”) and let them scribble in their little messages of love. Go for a picnic, to the movies, to the beach, go somewhere and ignore your real life for the day! Splurge on yourself, even if you’re on a tight budget you can bake a cake, or have a special dinner, if you’ve got the funds – buy yourself a little something and let your babies decorage a piece of paper for wrapping, or ask a family member, friend, neighbour, or even helpful shop assistant to help your littlies pick you something out. Don’t give up on a day to celebrate your incredible job just because you have to be the one who organises the party! And don’t forget your friends. If you’re a single mum and know others who are, organise something together! If you’re not a single parent but know a friend is doing it tough with lack of support, get in there and do something that will put a smile on a mum’s face and give her the motivation and energy to keep pushing on with this tough gig that is parenting. Happy Mothers Day to all the mummies out there this year, have a wonderful day and enjoy your children.
Jane Valentine is a young, twice-over single, stay-at-home mum to two amazing little people, a chocoholic, a cheap-wine philosopher, a geek, a gamer, tattooed and pierced, pro-body love and body-acceptance, a certified professional makeup artist, an honest believer in love, a perpetual student, and a lover of all things 5o’s. A strong, independent, intelligent, capable woman who is utterly baffled, lost and insignificant in this great big world, and loving every minute of it. To see all of Jane’s articles, click here.