Mother’s Day is quickly approaching. Each year I get the impression that most women struggle with this holiday in one way or another. If you would like to improve your experience at all this year, this post is for you.
I’ve broken this down into a few specific categories for organizational purposes so you can scroll to the one that fits. If you don’t fit into any of these categories and none of the advice can be altered to fit you, please message me and I’ll personalize something just for you.
- You think you fall short as a mother.
- You want to feel special and be celebrated on this day but the people in your life fall short of making that happen.
- You don’t have children but wish you did.
- You’ve lost your mother or a child.
- You don’t have a good relationship with your mother.
- You mother children that you didn’t give birth to and/or have another mom.
YOU THINK YOU FALL SHORT AS A MOTHER
Not Enough is part of the human condition. Our primitive brain’s job is to keep us alive, so it’s always on the lookout for danger, aka problems. That means, on default, it looks for all the things that are “wrong” with you — because those things might lead to your death.
Thinking you’re not enough is normal, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay there. Your brain has only been looking for evidence that you’re not enough.
Give yourself permission to believe you are enough. Decide to believe it. Commit to believing it. And then tell your brain to find the evidence that it’s true. When you tell your brain to look for evidence, it will find it. You’ll have an experience with your kids that you thought was an epic fail, and then one of your kid’s will say something and DING — your brain finds the evidence you told it to look for — it was enough.
You don’t have to be a perfect mom. You are the perfect mom for your kids, even when you don’t show up the way you want to. Stop comparing yourself to other moms. They are the way they are because that’s what their kids need. You are the way you are because that’s what your kids need. Your kids were given to you for a reason.
Being you is enough.
YOU WANT TO FEEL SPECIAL AND BE CELEBRATED ON THIS DAY BUT THE PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE FALL SHORT OF MAKING THAT HAPPEN.
This is the one I hear about most often. “My husband didn’t make much of an effort.” “My kids don’t care.” “I give and give all day everyday, to everyone, and I can’t even have one day.”
Our husbands should know how to make this day special. Our kids should stop being selfish for 5 seconds and care about someone besides themselves. I get it.
But if we have to wait for our husbands and kids to step up and get it right, we might be waiting for a very long time. Another Mother’s Day will come and go with disappointment.
What if you had the power to make Mother’s Day exactly what you want it to be? Oh wait, you do. There are tons of options to go about this but the thing you need to remember is you have the power. You do not have to rely on anyone else to make this day special.
This might include planning everything yourself and even buying your own gifts. This might include telling your husband and kids EXACTLY what you would like them from. It might include gently reminding them when they forget (skip the part where you get frustrated). It might include deciding none of that matters and thinking about how much you love these people, no matter what they do or don’t do.
But what if I tell them exactly what I want and they don’t do it? You don’t make it mean anything. It doesn’t mean they don’t love you. It doesn’t mean you aren’t important. It just means they’re human. It’s only a problem if you make it a problem. You might decide that next time you’ll go ahead and plan it yourself. You remember that you love the crap out of them.
Here’s the truth: the things your family does for you do not make you feel special. They do something — you have a thought like “they love me” or “they’re making an effort”— you feel special. Your thought is what makes you feel something. That means it’s not your family’s job to make you feel loved or special. It’s your job. Only you can do it.
No matter what your family does or doesn’t do on Mother’s Day, decide to believe they love you. Decide to believe you’re special. Decide to believe you’re irreplaceable. Decide to believe that you are enough, exactly as you are. Decide to believe that you are the very best mom for your kids. It’s all true. Give yourself to permission to believe it. Create your own emotions on purpose.
YOU DON’T HAVE CHILDREN BUT WISH YOU DID
Focusing on this will, for sure, cause suffering. That’s what happens when we argue with reality. Reality is what it is. When you argue with it, you suffer.
So what could you focus on instead? You could focus on your mother. You could focus on everything you’re grateful for. You could focus on believing that this is happening FOR you, rather than TO you. Or any other number of options.
Decide what you want to focus on ahead of time. When you let your brain go wherever it wants, it’s like handing a knife to a toddler and then sitting back to watch the damage. Be the adult. Take the knife away. Tell your brain where you want it to go.
YOU’VE LOST YOUR MOTHER OR A CHILD
If Mother’s Day is hard for you because you feel a lot of grief, I have a few ideas.
The first is to plan your grief on purpose. If you want to feel grief on Mother’s Day, that’s a perfectly acceptable choice. Choosing it intentionally and liking your reasons for doing so WILL change your experience. It will be something you chose, rather than something that happened to you (against your will). And when you choose it, it will be easier to infuse your grief with love. You can swirl them together into something beautiful.
If this is the option that feels best, remember that you chose it. Welcome the grief like an old friend and invite it to sit with you. Don’t resist.
If you usually feel grief and would rather not… it’s time to practice some mind management. Decide on purpose what you want to think about this person and the loss of this person ahead of time. Spend this week thinking of everything you loved about them. Focus on gratitude. Stop arguing with reality (I shouldn’t have lost them, this shouldn’t have happened, etc).
On Mother’s Day, it will be your job to control your mind. Your brain will offer the same thoughts it always has. Do not be alarmed. Do not think you have failed. This is totally normal. Gently redirect it to the thoughts you chose to think on purpose. Spend your day celebrating them and being grateful for the time you had with them rather than grieving them.
You could also combine these two options. Spend half the day grieving and half the day celebrating. The point is choosing on purpose the kind of day you want to have. You get to create whatever you want.
YOU DON’T HAVE A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR MOTHER
Our relationship with someone is simply our thoughts about them. If you want to have a better relationship with your mother, start thinking different thoughts about her.
Rewrite the story of your relationship with your mother. Start as far back as you can remember and come all the way forward to the present. Write this story with you as the hero. Bring what you want to the present and leave the rest behind.
For example, let’s say your mother was abusive. You can continue to tell the story of all the horrible things she did to you and feel like crap. Or you could tell the story of how you overcame obstacles, learned how to love yourself, and became the amazing woman you are today because of everything you went through.
I’m not suggesting you make things up or change the facts. Rewrite the story so that it serves you. Focus on thinking thoughts that create the emotions you want to feel towards your mother.
YOU MOTHER CHILDREN THAT YOU DIDN’T GIVE BIRTH TO AND/OR HAVE ANOTHER MOM
My step-kids never tell me Happy Mother’s Day. They don’t call me mom. From my perspective, they don’t even consider me a mother figure and certainly don’t treat me like one. And yet, I spend so much time “mothering” them, loving them, looking after them, wanting what’s best for them. I only tell you this so you know that I understand where you’re coming from.
But how they feel about me doesn’t affect me. We can’t feel someone else’s love. I can only feel my love. And I create that with my thoughts.
I don’t mother them so they will love me. I mother them because it’s the kind of mom I want to be, the kind of woman I want to be.
Don’t focus on what they give to you. Focus on what you give to them. Focus on being the kind of mom/woman you want to be. Focus on thinking loving thoughts about them, because then you get to feel love (which feels amazing).
If you want to celebrate being their mom on Mother’s Day, you can do it all on your own, no matter what they do or don’t do, say or don’t say. Think thoughts about them that make you feel love. Think thoughts about them that make you feel connection.
They don’t have to think of you as their mom or treat you like their mom for you to feel like their mom. It’s all within your power.
Regardless of the reasons you struggle on Mother’s Day, you CAN create whatever kind of Mother’s Day you want. This day can mean anything you want it to. You can have the experience you want. You can create the emotions you want.
What kind of Mother’s Day are you going to have this year?