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Mother's Day Reflections, 2023

Mother's Day, at least for me, is often a complicated day. I honor my mother and her mother, along with my aunts, each of whom have mothered me in their own ways. I keep in mind friends and family members who are celebrating their children. That's the easy part. I also keep in my heart others who are grieving for babies that didn't make it, or for mothering that didn't nurture them the way they needed.

Personally, as a stepmom, Mother's Day has not been so important to me as a way to honor myself, or to be honored by my partner, until this year. The Kid turns 18 in a few weeks. She's headed to university in another country which is so exciting!!! It's all brought up some pretty interesting mothering experiences. Many times, I've had to decide when I speak up and when I hold my tongue. Especially through the college process, there were times when I realized things would work better if I took a backseat to my partner, Skye's Dad. And on this one terrible afternoon, when I simply could not figure out all my emotions hitting up against Skye's emotions, I called my best pal and she helped me realize that what I was actually feeling was fear and frustration that I hadn't prepared Skye to survive once she was out of her childhood homes. It was my first precursor to Empty Nest and it came out of the blue! Then, I was surprised again as I put my mom's Mother's Day gift together. It suddenly felt very important to me to be recognized, and for my mothering to be included, in what was celebrated this year.

Realizing this was new information, I told my sweet husband that I would like to get flowers on Mother's Day and that it was important to me to be celebrated this Mother's Day. Sometimes, asking for what I want is hard for me to do. I talk around it, much to my husband's frustration. So I was really clear, and it wasn't the most comfortable thing to do. I judge myself as demanding when I ask for things, so I was judging myself for having all of these feelings, too. For wanting to be recognized, for asking to be celebrated, for speaking up for this for myself. It would be so much easier if Chris could just read my mind... but that, my friends, is where so many of us run into problems.

** Newsflash **

Our partners cannot read our minds, just like we cannot read theirs.

When something is important to us, we need to tell our partners. Even if we feel uncomfortable asking for, or telling them, what we need, we've got to do it, or we end up not getting what we want, feeling unappreciated and resentful, and that festers over time and gets worse and worse. Why? It's NOT because they can't read our minds. It's NOT because they don't appreciate us. It's because WE didn't speak up for ourselves.

I had a wonderful Mother's Day this year. I felt celebrated and honored by my husband and I felt like my mothering was recognized and appreciated by my partner. I cried lots of tears feeling cherished... Feeling everything, really, as we come to the end of a chapter and start a different kind of parenting - that of a young adult as opposed to a teenager (even though she's technically a teen for two more years). For me, it was being celebrated by my co-parent that was important, not by The Kid. She has her own mom to celebrate on Mother's Day, which is one reason Mother's Day has been a little complicated for me personally for the last 10 years. Where do I fit in? What do I deserve? Do I get to be included? At some point, we have to decide these answers for ourselves.

I'm proud of myself for speaking up, and I'm grateful to Chris for hearing me and taking action. Knowing him, he probably had Mother's Day planned for me already, but knowing me and my own tendencies and discomfort around asking, it was important that I spoke up. As my teacher has told me many times, "We get better at the things we practice."

I wish you growth in whatever area you're practicing right now. Practice doesn't make perfect, but it does make better! :)

- Jewel

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