How was your Mother’s Day? Were you woken up at the crack of dawn by your sleep thieves? Were you presented with a wobbly tray carrying breakfast? Or a cup of tea or coffee? Maybe you were given presents, flowers and cards. Or if you were super lucky, maybe you managed a lie in.
Ok. Now what about you single Mums out there? How was your Mother’s Day?
If it was anything like mine, your morning was the same as every other morning.
No chance of a lie in. In fact, you were probably dragged out of your sleep even earlier than usual.
Probably not any cards, presents or flowers. (Depending on the age of your child).
Definitely not a steaming cup of caffeine lovingly placed your bedside. And you were more likely to be taking orders for breakfast, rather than receiving it.
Single Mother’s Day sounds quite rubbish doesn’t it?
Yes, it can be. Waking up on Mother’s Day when you’re a single parent can feel absolutely, completely, 100% rubbish.
It’s natural to feel a bit green when scanning through social media and seeing the huge bunches of flowers, beautiful gifts and delicious looking breakfasts that others have received for Mother’s Day.
It’s the same on Valentines Day when you see all the flowers, gifts and engagements filling up your timeline.
I know it makes me feel a bit down. I’m not so bothered about the gifts, but is it too much to ask for a lie in and to wake up in a clean house?
Mother’s Day sorrows
If you feel the same, don’t worry. There are thousands of single Mums out there feeling the same (or similar). In fact, according to the single parent group Gingerbread, there are over 1.8 MILLION single parents in the UK.
Of which 90% are Women.
If my maths is correct that makes about 1.62 Million single Mums. That’s a lot of awesome women right there! And a lot of Mums who are having a similar Mother’s Day experience.
If you’re a single Mum feeling sorry for yourself on Mother’s Day, give your head a wobble. Because you’re doing a bloody fantastic job. I promise you. And even if it feels super shit right now, it won’t always be. I promise you that too.
How do I know you can do it?
Whenever I think I can’t do it anymore, or I feel completely out of my depth, I think back to my labours. If you’ve given birth vaginally, you might be familiar with this.
During labour, somewhere around 7cm – 10cm dilated, your body enters what’s called the transitional stage. This is usually when labouring women decide they’ve had enough, can’t do it anymore or want to go home. Or maybe even beg for an epidural. Midwives recognise this and know that pushing is imminent.
But I remember that feeling so well. Particularly from my first and second labours – not so much with the last two because they were so bloody quick (35 mins and 14 mins!)
I remember feeling that there was no way in hell that I could take any more pain, any more contractions, any more deep breathing and definitely no more of my husband. I was more than ready to just walk out of hospital and stay pregnant forever. (Not that I could have walked if I’d have tried to). And I remember being in such a state of panic, that I’d never be able to actually have a baby.
But I did. The transitional stage doesn’t last long. Although it feels like it does at the time. And once you’ve got through that, your body takes over and you push that baby out. Then it’s done. You’ve done it. You feel absolutely elated (and shattered) but also an incredible sense of achievement.
And that’s what I think back to when I’m really struggling to single parent. The time when I was absolutely sure that I couldn’t do something, couldn’t get through something, but I did. 4 times in fact. And I know, that if I could get through that, I CAN get through anything else.
If you ever feel like you can’t do something or can’t get through a situation, think about a time where you thought that before. And walk your way through that. You DID do it, you DID get through it, and you WILL again.
Don’t compare yourself to others
I know this is easier said than done, because we’re almost conditioned to compare ourselves to others. Whether it’s performance at work, distance on the running machine in the gym, how we look in swimwear on holiday or anything else. We are always comparing ourselves to others.
But ALL Mums are constantly comparing themselves to other Mums. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a single Mum, married Mum, cohabiting Mum, step-Mum, adopted Mum, rich Mum or poor Mum. Every kind of Mum does it. We’re all wondering if we’re good enough, thin enough, loving enough, rich enough, happy enough, supportive enough, or giving enough of ourselves and our time to our offspring.
Yes, in an ideal World, we wouldn’t be single. We’d be happily ensconced in a bubble of love, listening to our partners and children loudly whispering about not waking us up too early on Mother’s Day. But in an ideal World there wouldn’t be abusive relationships, or cheaters, or liars, or tragic accidents, or cancer or any other reason to be a single Mum on Mother’s Day or any other day.
Unfortunately, we aren’t in an ideal World. But we can make our own worlds ideal.
Shitty Mother’s Day
I’ve written before about The best and worst things about being a single parent, but I didn’t think to include Mother’s Day in it. A few years ago, I would have told you, quite honestly, that Mother’s Day was one of the shittiest days of each year for me.
It was fine when Emily & Ruby were at Preschool because their lovely teachers would help them make lovely handmade cards and paper flowers to bring home. And that was enough for me.
But then there was this horrible period in between Ruby leaving preschool and Joe & Jess getting part time jobs, where I didn’t get any kind of card. (2015-2019). The whole 4 years were pretty bleak, for lots of reasons, not just the lack of Mother’s Day cards.
But I really felt the bleakness on Mother’s Day. The one day that’s supposed to be a celebration of how hard we work, how much of ourselves that we give, and how little we sleep.
If you’re also in that stage, don’t give up. It doesn’t last forever. I promise you.
There will be a point where your children see how much you do and how much you give them.
Because one day, you’ll receive an unexpected Mother’s Day card, with incredible words written in it. And all those bleak feelings will just vanish. You’ll feel about 10ft tall, because the children you’ve given everything to, will suddenly recognise it. And it’ll bring you to tears.
Joe’s dyspraxic and struggles with his handwriting.