Mother’s Day 2022 will make my fourth holiday and it’s the first one that doesn’t feel dreadful. Last year, I spent the day feeling sad and a little resentful towards my son’s father because I couldn’t even get a card. Matter of fact, I’ve never received anything but a general text, if that.
A few days after Mother’s Day, I checked my son’s backpack only to find the cutest artwork inside. It was a poem with his little handprints plastered on the background. My tear ducts filled and in that moment, I felt so loved. It still sits on my windowsill in my room.
Seeing my son’s tribute and going through those emotions made me ask myself why I felt the need to be acknowledged on Mother’s Day and what that acknowledgment was going to do for me. The answer was that I wanted to be noticed—I wanted someone to see me and the work I put into raising my son. I felt like I needed that validation to make the sacrifices worth it and reinforce that I was a good mom. Especially because he was too young to even acknowledge me on the day. Maybe being a single mom magnified the feelings also, because doing it alone can be so hard and sometimes lonely. You don’t get the regular encouragement you may get from a spouse or partner.
While these feelings are definitely valid, the reality is nobody is obligated to validate or celebrate me.
That brings me to an important lesson I’ve learned (shoutout to my therapist), which is that before I look for validation from others I must first give it to myself. That’s something I wasn’t doing.
When’s the last time you looked at yourself and said “I’m a damn good mom” or commended yourself for how you nurture, care for and teach your child?
The second lesson I’ve learned is that I don’t have to wait for anyone to celebrate me on Mother’s Day—I can celebrate myself. Who says I can’t plan my own Mother’s Day and do something that brings me joy? This year I’ll be going to a Formula 1 race because why not?
Lastly, I am rewarded for being a mom every single day. My son’s hugs and giggles are the best reward. His random “I love you,” “I’m happy that you’re here,” and “You’re so wonderful” are worth more than any gift, balloon, or cake I could get. I didn’t say I wouldn’t mind those things though. Just saying.
To all the mothers out there feeling unappreciated, undervalued and unloved, today I’m reminding you to love yourself. The truth is that only you know how much you pour into raising your kids, because you’re there in the weeds, every day. With that in mind, you’re in the best position to celebrate your efforts. Hold your head up high remembering that you wake up every day and give motherhood your best. Happy Mother’s Day to you and thank you for raising your miracles daily.