Sunday, May 8, 2011


It's Mother's Day today,  a fact that would be difficult to miss by anyone who lives in North America. It's the day when we celebrate the woman who gave us life, the women who care for us, the women who we trust to meet our needs. That being said, celebrating this day is really challenging for some people. Not all of us had mothers who met our needs or loved us or cherished our every moment, many of us mourn the losses of the women who took care of and some of us were not privileged enough to have mother's who noticed us or cared about our achievements. For others this day is hard because they are not the mother they thought they would be or they are not yet mothers even though they long to be. 

In our family we have our own sets of challenges today because my kids are adopted from foster care and I am their 5th mother.

I have been dreading this day for weeks because I know it will be hard. We keep things pretty low key and try hard to keep our routines as close to normal as we can. My husband took the children to buy a gift yesterday, nothing huge, nothing that states that I am the world's best mother, just a little gift to acknowledge the day and all that I do as their Mom. They make me cards and we celebrate my role in their lives but it's a fine balance between celebrating me and acknowledging that there were others before me and that they mourn the loss of those mothers too. 

Last night we were watching a movie together, Fudge was complaining that he was not feeling well and so I moved over to  the couch and sat with him. He rested his head in my lap and I stroked his hair, after awhile I began to cry. I cried because this wee boy of 9 has been hurt, hurt by the woman who was supposed to love him and cherish him and value him as a human being and yet she didn't. Instead he was left to fend for himself, to be unsure of who would meet his needs and who would take care of him. As a result his brain did not develop in the way that it should because he did not attach to another human being as a young child. His life has been forever altered by her choices and by her inability to put his needs before hers. 

It was the first time in 3 years of mothering Fudge that he actually relaxed enough to let me hold him for longer than a minute or two. It took being sick and miserable for him to relax enough to let it happen but it did and that was the best gift I could of received but it made me sad because no child should have to endure what he has endured. Children should be loved and appreciated for who they are.

Neglect, loss, poverty, lack of skills, pain and illness are some of the many things that make today so very hard for some people. If today is hard for you because of your relationship with your mother or with your children's first mother or because you long for things that can not be, know that you are not alone. Not everyone celebrates this day the way that our commercialist society would like you to believe, some us celebrate the smallest of achievements with our children and that is better than any card or gift that can be purchased to tell us that we are a good mothers. 



  1. So very well said. I had one of the "other mothers" that was not nurturing, loving or supportive. Today, instead of focusing on that relationship, I value the relationship with my own son. That gives me more comfort than anything in this world.

  2. Thank you so much for this post. I'm not thrilled with this relatively manufactured holiday, for many of the reasons you mention in the first paragraph. I'm trying to wrap my head around being a mother myself and what it means to my children and to me, when I haven't had a great role model of mothering in my own childhood. Feeling compassion, being able to hug and laugh with our kiddos--however they may have come to us--is a gift and a blessing. Thanks!

  3. Thank you for this.
    Today is neither fun nor easy for me. Thank you for reminding me that I'm not alone.

  4. Mother's Day is pretty much the worst day of the entire year and I dread it every year. My children were also adopted and one of them still struggles with attachment issues. Generally, all Hell breaks loose with her on Mother's day. I have been through cancer and have a chronic autoimmune disorder, but none of that can hold a candle to the damage that such abuse and neglect does to children who grow up after such pain. I can't think of anything worse, frankly.
    I will say, however, that after parenting her as hard as I could for the last 13 years (she's now 15), she told me that she loves me for the VERY FIRST TIME last week. And while she couldn't pull off Mother's Day with any kind of recognition, she was lovely and sweet today. Another first.
    Know that YOU are also not alone.
    Thanks for writing.