Hear me out.
My daughter is 8. I know that she loves me, based on the mere fact that she wants to be with me practically every second of the day, including while I'm peeing. I don't need a special day of the year to know that, despite the arguments and foot stomping, I am her world and she is mine. So I'm going to be real a minute: all this Hallmark-driven holiday does for me is depress me.
Typically for Mother's Day, I receive age appropriate gifts of crayon filled pictures, elementary school made crafts, and dollar store key chains and mugs. And all of those tokens of her love are sweet and kind and make me smile momentarily. But tbh, something about this holiday just leaves me feeling empty and broken. Being a single mom on Mother's Day is hard.
I have never received flowers or jewelry from a partner who is grateful for all of the work I put into raising our child. I have never been woken up to breakfast in bed made by my child with the help of of a grown up, because I am the only grown up in the house. I have never gotten to take a few hours of Mother's Day for myself, to go get a pedicure or a massage - those are luxuries single mom's don't get time or money for. My daughter is sweet and thoughtful and sensitive and well-meaning - but she is only 8. She makes me feel like the best mom in the world on that day, but the rest of the world kind of makes me feel less-than. I don't have a partner to celebrate me, and it's rarely more abundantly clear that I'm different from the norm than on Mother's Day.
Now, please don't read this as me being ungrateful. My family is wonderful, and my mom will usually bring my daughter to a local store without me sometime before Mother's Day to pick out a small trinket for me - hence the abundance of "number one mom" mugs and keychains and glass figures and window hangers. And my family will come visit and we will all go to brunch, and we'll spend time as a family and that is a priceless memory that I, and my daughter, will always have. I know that I am lucky to have that love and support, and I know that so many other single parent's aren't as lucky. I am grateful for that, I truly am.
But there is something about the expectation versus reality of Mother's Day that just seems to get to me every year. I'm bombarded with stories at work about how some husbands are doing sweet and thoughtful things for their wives. I see on social media the attention and gratefulness that some show their child-raising partners. Every commercial and advertisement in May talks about treating mom for her special day. And every year, it strikes me how that is something that I've never experienced. It's something I know that I can never expect to have, and that leaves a part of me a little heartbroken, if I'm being real. I know that I chose this life - including this non-traditional way of having a child. But I guess I never expected it to leave me feeling so empty on a holiday meant to celebrate me.
So this Sunday, I'll enjoy my time with my family. I'll try to act surprised when I open my hand-made trinkets that my daughter already excitedly told me about. (8 year-olds really aren't good at keeping surprises.) I'll truly be delighted with her show of love for me, even as a part of me will mourn what is missing. I'll try to count my blessings, because they are there, even if sometimes they're just a little harder to see.