Complications of Mother's Day, Week Two in the Time of Transition

May 08, 2021 by Janet Zinn

As a mother and daughter, I find I have such mixed feelings about Mother’s Day.  Here is one day that’s been set aside to celebrate moms.  Yet, it has always felt fraught for me.  Growing up I created hand-made gifts for Mother’s Day.  Excited to present them to my mommy, I could feel her mixed disappointment at the poorly executed drawing or heart-shaped construction paper card.  Nonetheless, she displayed these child crafts on the refrigerator so that I could also feel her appreciation for my offerings, lack of craftiness, and all. 


Then year after year I would hunt stores for gifts that I thought would make her happy.  In anticipation of Mother’s Day, I felt more anxiety than excitement.  Going out for a Mother’s Day brunch became a tradition, even if my father couldn’t help himself from declaring how high the mark up on the menu was for that one day.  For years I would make the trip to my parents’ house fighting for seats on trains and buses from other dutiful children making their pilgrimage to their respective childhood homes.  

As a mom, I anticipated the adoration I longed for throughout the year while trying to be the best mother, questioning everything I did, and coming up short because of my own limitations or the limitations of circumstance.  I didn’t understand yet that the appreciation I desired would have to come from within.  


Being a mother and having a mother, or not having a mother, or not fully understanding what motherhood is, all play a part in an often loaded Mother’s Day.  Mothering ourselves is imperative.  I may not always embrace my imperfections, but I can lovingly include them in my makeup.  In my 60s I can finally and continuously be patient with myself while traveling the rugged path I’m on.  It’s not fair to expect something of others that I cannot give to myself.  Therefore, I continue to work on self-care and simple gratitude.  Sometimes it’s a stretch to be kind to myself if I’m upset and overwhelmed.  But it pays off, even if I grudgingly admit it. 

This pandemic has tested all our limits.  We have discovered more strength in our abilities than we had known before.  We have had to discard beliefs we thought were certain.  On this 2nd pandemic Mother’s Day, having endured difficulties most mothers never imagined, let’s celebrate the parent within.  The mother in us who encourages us to take baby steps towards a life that is deeply satisfying.  Remember we’re in transition.  I might try my hand again at a home-made card.  I may never be good at crafts, but I can bring love and laughter to a younger me who resides in my heart.  She reminds me what’s in all of us.  Happy self-mothering day.  


Self-care Tips:


  • Ask yourself, “What is a quality I possess for which I am grateful?”  
  • What is one thing you can absolutely do today for one minute that reminds you of your inner strength? Take the minute to do that.  
  • Give yourself a gift dedicated to your inner child and your inner, loving parent.  Write it, draw it, buy it, think it. Let the gift be good enough.