A Happy Mother’s Day


Yesterday was the first Mother’s Day that I have not ended up yelling at my kids. And crying at some point. At dinner, I told them this was my best Mother’s Day ever and they said, “yeah, that’s because you didn’t cry!”

Mother’s Day is usually a high-stakes day. Even though I try not to, I can’t help but want to feel appreciated – just this one day. I bet I am not the only one who struggles with this.

When you are a single parent, there is no one to tell the kids to do nice things for you on your birthday or Mother’s Day. It isn’t that I want presents or attention so much as I just want my kids to be thoughtful. I feel fine about reminding them to think about what they are going to give each other on Christmas, and that usually ends up with them remembering to get something for me. But on my birthday and Mother’s Day, it doesn’t seem right.

They don’t realize it, but when I end up yelling, and then crying, it is because I feel powerless. I can’t tell them to care about me on Mother’s Day, but I want someone to care about me on Mother’s Day. This year felt better – maybe because my kids are getting older (and more resigned to spending Mother’s Day doing stuff I like to do, like planting the vegetable garden) or maybe it is because I really liked the Mother’s Day present I got for myself – a ping-pong table!  Or maybe I have become better at seeing the ways that my kids do care for me. All I know is that I really like not crying on Mother’s Day. I think my kids liked it too and that makes me feel good.

Do you have Mother’s Day traditions (that do not include crying)?

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  1. Susan says:

    Hi Annie – I just spoke with a friend who confided that she cried on mother’s day this year. I think she was comforted when I told her about this blog entry! Knowing that she wasn’t alone (imagining all other mothers receiving breakfast in bed and homemade cards from adoring children) and revealing the secret that yes, Mother’s day is most often very disappointing for many of us. I’m glad you continue to have the courage to pull back the curtain!

    1. annie kip says:

      Susan, it is friends like you who make me feel safe enough to be real. I am so lucky to be surrounded by girlfriends like you who are genuine and kind. Thanks for your note – it means a lot to me!

  2. Dulce says:

    Every day is Mother’s Day once we make that choice to bring another human being into this world! As with everything else in life it is my attitude towards ‘mothers day’ that makes it or breaks it for me. And just so you all know I have had my share of bad attitudes! I could definitely relate to your post when my children were younger. I never felt like crying because of the kids indifference. I wanted to cry because of their fathers lack of teaching them what the day is really all about and his indifference to it. I so miss when they were little and they would bring me breakfast in bed on a tray with the most beautiful flowers! There would always be precious hand made cards from them made at their preschool. Ill never get those those moments back but I’ll have the memories for a lifetime. This year was so different because my children are all over 18 and growing up! One is away at college and all have work schedules to contend with. The ones that could came and we had a good time at the beach. The ones that couldn’t called and told me the most beautiful thoughts about my being their mother. At the end of the day I am just so grateful that I still have all four of my children. Thankfully they are all safe and healthy and are all on a good path as they are trying to figure out their adult lives. I am praying for many more mothers days to come and I’ll gladly take what I can get! A blessing to all you good mothers in this world because a mothers work is truly never ‘done’.

    1. annie kip says:

      Hi Dulce – I think you are right – we are never “done” raising these kids! It is nice to hear your perspective. Thanks for taking the time to write!

  3. Leslie Warner says:

    Hi Annie —

    thanks for another thoughtful post, and a timely one. I “released” most of my mother’s day expecations years ago, because I was a single mother for a long time. There’s no one right way to do this, but finding a path that includes less crying and more ping pong is headed in the right direction! There are times we all just long to be cared for, cared about — and it just won’t happen the way we expect, or from that teenager on that day.

    I think what’s always helped me the most is planting my own garden (metaphorical one this time) fully, and watering and lavishing care on it, so i can be nourished in many ways, and not depend on one specific day, especially when kids are involved. I didnt’ say it was easy…

    And people sharing thoughts and experiences like yours is part of that garden that nourishes me, so thanks!

    1. annie kip says:

      Hi Leslie – thanks~! I agree that more Ping-Pong may be the answer to many of our issues! Glad to hear that you have found a way to enjoy Mother’s Day! You deserve it!

  4. Rachael says:

    I have recently become a single parent and I know what you mean about no one being around to “remind” your kids to be thoughtful. My teenage son normally would make me breakfast for Mother’s Day but didn’t this year because we had to leave early to take him to lifeguarding class. So I cut him some slack and settled for a mother’s day hug. At least that’s something! Plus I milked the day by getting him to do some things for me, reminding him “It’s Mother’s Day!”

    1. annie kip says:

      Hi Rachael, It is complicated, isn’t it? We all have to navigate this in the way that makes the most sense to us. I feel like I am learning something new everyday. Thanks for taking the time to connect!

  5. Happy Mother’s Day! With your ping pong table, I’m reminded of Fred Flintstone and when he bought a bowling ball for Wilma on her birthday. :) We have a ping pong table, too. Well, not exactly – it’s our dining room table with a little rigging going on – but I do enjoy it and it always makes me laugh when I’m playing.

    1. annie kip says:

      I love your dining room Ping-Pong table, Sara! Happy Mother’s Day to you too!!!!

  6. I have struggled with Mother’s Day, too. To me, it’s right up there with Valentine’s Day–I hate both holidays because they feel so much more overblown than I remember them being when I was younger, and I think they serve florists and card companies more than anyone else. That said, yeah, I’d still like some kind of genuine gesture of appreciation.

    The gift I gave myself this year was to not be with my kids. It was their regularly scheduled weekend to be with their dad, which is my downtime to recharge and do things I can’t do when they’re here. Losing that to force all of us through a day we don’t do well seemed stupid. But, a part of me felt like some kind of rotten mother to make that choice.

    However, instead of being worn out today from spending yesterday negotiating my children’s squabbles (how I spent Mother’s Day last year) and dealing with my own fatigue and feelings, I spent the day doing projects and taking care of no one but me. I thoroughly enjoyed a sweet text message from my daughter, and needed nothing else. Today, I feel good and energized and ready to throw myself back into being their mother when they come home tonight. (Which will include talking with my son about the importance of acknowledging people on these kinds of days with a phone call or message.)

    So glad you had a good day with your kids. All mothers deserve that, but especially single ones!

    1. annie kip says:

      Thanks for sharing this Rita! I used to have fantasies of asking for time off for Mother’s Day like you did – because not being a mother for a day is sometimes the best present, but most of us are not brave enough to ask for it. When they were little, another day at the park with my kids was the last thing I wanted – I ended up feeling a little resentful that Mother’s Day was still about making the kids feel good, but I couldn’t find a way out of it – because enjoying time with her kids is what a Good Mother does, right?! The reality is that kids are not always easy to be with and sometimes we need a break. It sounds like you had a good day and it worked out well this year. I am happy to hear that you gave yourself permission to enjoy it.

  7. Deb says:

    Happy (belated) Mother’s Day to one of the best Mom’s I know!!!!!! So glad you didn’t come to tears yesterday … I know how you feel, though … and I had to voice my opinion to all my boys (hubby included) about not buying store bought cards and instead writing me ones … two outta three ain’t bad (that teenager is a slacker!) … the only tradition we really have for Mother’s Day is that I get to decide what we’re eating; I did convince them to take me out for Indian food and they all enjoyed it! Mmmmmm!

    Love you, Gal!!


    1. annie kip says:

      Thanks, Deb! I am glad to hear that I am not the only one who has to coach people to be considerate. When we do our “mom job” without complaint most of the time, I think they don’t realize how much effort it actually takes. I guess we have to teach our kids to appreciate us, so that they will appreciate their own wives and the mothers of their children someday. Good for you for speaking up about what is meaningful to you and making everyone go out for food you like. You deserve all kinds of good lovin’ on Mother’s Day – especially from our teenagers! They have no idea how much we do for them!

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