This is always such a strange day. Not every Sunday across the board, just this Sunday, the one we call “Mother’s Day.”
I am never quite certain what to do with it. I do not have any biological children and so I am not a mother.
I’m okay with that about 98% of the time, but the other 2% — that sprinkles itself throughout the year — feels very uncomfortable. There are moments when I feel that I am somehow less of a woman because I never popped out a baby. Society certainly supports that notion, that women who don’t have children are somehow selfish and shallow and less than complete.
And yet, so many women who do have children should not have, wish they hadn’t or only did so because they didn’t feel they had the option not to. I would never begin to pass judgement on another woman’s life, I only know that I pray for all of the children in the world that they get the love and attention they need to thrive.
For the past six weeks or so, my partner and I have been caring for his 14-month-old grandson and it has reminded me of just how much work it is to raise a child. The easy path is to just make sure they are fed and clothed and clean, but of course that is the bare minimum.
Children also need to be taught constantly and spoken to and read to and listened to and played with and held and nurtured and told they are amazing and encouraged and on and on and on and on. It is 24/7. That, actually, is the minimum. And it is so much work. I admire all of the women and men who have raised happy, successful children.
Nearly twenty years ago, for about a year, I was a foster parent. To this day, I have an extraordinary relationship with my foster daughter, and she is definitely the closest thing I’ll ever know to a child of my own, but she is still not actually my daughter. She is my baby bear and I am her mama bear and we take care of one another.
She, by the way, is the only person who can wish me a Happy Mother’s Day without me cringing, and I wish her the same as she is an amazing mother to her own two children who are lucky to call her Maman.
And so it is that, yet again, I find myself waiting for this day to pass and avoiding all of the messaging on social media. I do wish a happy day to all who parent children, today and all days, and I wish them great success in raising happy humans.
Similarly, I send love out to all of the women in the world who did not have children, for whatever reason, in hopes that they know they are entirely whole, complete, amazing women and we’re lucky to have them amongst us.
Beyond that, I will hide out today in books and music and writing and wait until Monday and go back to just being me, a childless woman. And I’m okay with that.