Every year at the start of April, I decide to write a Mother’s Day blog-post on my blog.
But somehow, every single year around the first week of May, this idea begins to overwhelm me.
I struggle to keep writing the way I usually do and in an attempt to churn out a Mother’s Day post, I end up getting so stressed that I don’t publish a single post in the entire month of May.
Quite like what happened this year.
It had become almost a ritual until I decided to do something about it.
Do something about my emotional reaction to the day that celebrates motherhood, a role that defines most part of my day to day life.
My angst around Mother’s Day started in the year I became a mother. While everyone around wished me on this momentous day (after a very uncomfortable phase of waiting to become a mother) I was in for another series of issues.
I was stuck in a difficult divorce while battling post-partum depression. Life looked determined to keep me feeling miserable because the pride and joy of motherhood was nowhere to be felt.
The picture perfect image of being a mom that I had in my mind didn’t match even a teeny tiny bit of who I was at that time.
That fact hasn’t changed much in the course of eight years since.
Single motherhood has been a struggle for me all days of the year but it stings a bit harder on Mother’s Day.
I can almost feel anxiety rise in my chest, overwhelm choke my throat and a surge of helplessness, feelings of not-being-good-enough fog my mind.
I get it that I can simply ignore a day that airbrushes the reality of being a mom with picture perfect brunch dates, beautiful kids, heartwarming gifts and cards, boxes of chocolate and bouquets of roses in plenty.
But somehow, I haven’t been quite successful at that.
The hurt never fails to show up.
Tears always find a way to roll down my cheek.
I have wished and prayed and worked hard to believe that once I had this motherhood thing figured out, once my relationship with my daughter was all calm, rosy and happy I will be able to survive the Mother’s Day like I live through the rest of the year.
And I was well on my way of making it happen (or so I’d like to believe ) just when an awakening happened.
I spent a lot of time stricken with grief.
My illusion of having a perfect childhood was shattered, leaving me feeling lost like never before.
All my life I had known something was very wrong in my relationship with my mother.
On most occasions when we are together I have temper tantrums or I’m freaking out and contrary to my temperament I often find myself being rude and ridiculous around her.
However, when I finally learnt what exactly had been going on, I couldn’t help but feel the hurt intensify instead of ebbing away.
My struggle with motherhood now had a new dimension.
I not only had the task of mending my life as a parent but also the responsibility of letting the child in me heal from the trauma I had endured all my growing up years.
It has been a rough ride to recovery and I am far from being healed.
However, I have been working hard at getting myself and the relationships part of my life in order.
This year as April slowly sailed towards its end, and the first signs of Mother’s Day approaching started to show, I decided to try something different.
Instead of fighting, resisting and detesting the celebration of motherhood, I decided to try accepting it in its true form.
I decided to let go of my expectation to have my mom love me or behave in ways like I imagined and hoped her to.
But what were my expectations from my mother?
In my mind, I felt it was limited to her loving me and accepting me as I am.
However, when I sat to think about them and jot them on a piece of paper, the list was way longer than I had hoped.
My idealised version of my mother was nowhere close to the person she really is.
And strangely, at some point, my expectations from my mother crossed paths with my expectations of myself from being a parent.
This meant, I had another exercise to do.
To let my daughter be herself and to release myself of the burden of my undue expectations.
I also had to let go of the burden of hoping for my daughter to be the picture perfect kid for ‘one day’.
What felt like a LOT of work to do in the start, boiled down to one simple fact.
I just had to accept everyone as they are.
I had to accept myself as I am.
The imperfect, real mom.
Stumbling, struggling, failing, healing, falling, dreaming, hoping and surviving everything part of life of being a single parent.
Yes, there are days when I feel like running away to a far off place.
Yes, there are moments when I yearn for a carefree existence with fewer responsibilities.
Yes, there are times when I wish I could live a less stressful life where life measured up to my expectations.
And yes, the Mother’s day still hurt, but not as much as it always did.
For a change, anxiety chose to let me be.
I felt calm and peace embrace me even if gingerly.
And that feeling of having the burden, the weight of undue expectations lift off my shoulders helped me feel like myself, this Mother’s Day.
The only thing that had to change was my perspective to make the magic happen.
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