Last Sunday, Mother’s Day, is at once joyful and for others, painful.
For those of you raising children, I applaud you. I have no doubt it is a challenging task and fully acknowledge I cannot understand what your life is like. I firmly believe we should have a day to celebrate you and to celebrate motherhood. I sincerely hope your day was full of joy and love and snuggles with those dearest to you.
For the rest of us, those without children, Mother’s Day is sensitive. It’s a disenfranchising feeling, not doing with our lives what so many expect of us, not doing what’s “normal.” We’re surrounded by other women celebrating the wonder of being a mother, the joys and happiness and challenges of raising a child. We’re told it’s both the toughest and most rewarding job a woman will ever have. Yet we don’t have that job, whether because we’ve chosen not to have children or our circumstances or health haven’t made it possible. If we allowed ourselves to sink into the sentiment of Mother’s Day, it would be easy to feel that we had little to offer, that we aren’t making an impact on the life of a child or that we aren’t engaged in important work. It can be very invalidating for a woman to not have children.
Should you be one of these women, one who does not have children, I want to ask you to be softer to yourself. Know that you, too, are engaged in work that matters. Know that you can have an impact on the life of a child without bearing a child, adopting a child, somehow parenting a child. Know that you are absolutely permitted to feel that the work you are doing is tough, is rewarding. You are an impactful person, regardless of whether or not a child lives under your roof.
YOU have value. You matter, your work matters, your impact matters. On Being a Mother…or not, the work we all do has value.
Loved this, Johnna! So glad you wrote it and that Debi shared it so it showed up in my FB scrolling. I am so appreciative of all the women in this world who are living life on their own terms, in whatever way is right for them. Although I am about to be a mother, there are so many other ways in which I am not living my life as conventionally expected, and I often have those feelings of being left out. Thank you for sharing, and I’m sure you know that you impact a lot of people with your work and kindness!
Thanks, Iris! It is certainly a different path doing anything other than what is conventionally expected. Thankfully not all of those traditional roles have big Hallmark holidays attached to them. 🙂