I hate Mother’s Day and thank god I have a full year until the next one ruins my weekend. I don’t have a mom nor am I one, so I have my reasons (you can read more about that here.)
Although I have to say that other than having shitty flowers left to pick from at Andronico’s Market due to all of the gifting (I just needed them for decor), I survived better than usual.
Morning tennis and evening yoga were less crowded. Ditto for the normally packed supermarket.
And I stayed the fuck away from Facebook. Sorry, but all of those happy brunch shots and black and white polaroid mom memoriams are just too much. They make me sad and I just can’t. So I didn’t. And it helped. My only nod to the day was to send a few mom friends the Happy Mother’s Day Bitmoji.
Another factor in my survival is the deep and honest friendship I have with a fellow childless woman who shares my feelings and thoughts and sadness and triumphs of everyday life, and who is on speed text for just a “Hey, I need to know you’re out there” toss and a “I am” back.
She wrote the post below and I just had to share it. Hopefully, she’ll write more.
Yesterday morning the TSA guy at JFK wished me a Happy Mother’s Day. It felt like a slap in the face.
I am a 42 year-old childless woman. Sure I have a dog that I love dearly but it is nothing like being a mom. And nothing makes me feel worse then when I ask after a friend’s kids and then they ask about my dog. A 28 lb. dog that I pay a nice woman to walk and only requires kibble and water to keep alive does not a mother make. He does not require the commitment and self-sacrifice of parenthood. Thus inquiries after his health and well-being just make me feel like a loser.
Although I’m known for hyperbole, it is not an exaggeration to say that I’ve thought about whether or not to have kids every day of my life for the last 15 years. Every. Single. Day. Rational arguments for and against are pointless but I make them in my head anyway. How can you pit the very real, knowable drudgery of taking care of another person against the indescribable emotional connection between parent and child?
So I stay in the no zone and it boils down to fear. Mind-numbing terror to be precise. I’m afraid of the anxiety, the inconvenience, the sleep deprivation, and the resentment that would surely build. Mostly I’m afraid of the complete and utter lack of control you have over the whole situation. It’s hard enough to parent a ‘normal’ kid, but then layer on the possibility of developmental disability or childhood disease or drug or alcohol addiction and I am instantly paralyzed with a knot of dread in my stomach. I got pregnant once. It was toward the end of my marriage. Perhaps subconsciously it was one of those ‘maybe this will save us’ kind of moves. I had an early miscarriage. I was more upset when I found out I was pregnant than when I learned about the miscarriage. It spoke volumes.
But of course, without risk there is no reward. And the reward is love. Intense, primal love. And I love to feel and give love. It’s a passion of mine. I love to hug people and I tell friends and family (and sometimes strangers) that I love them and ask how I can support them. I love to compliment them and make them feel special. And I love it when I get it in return. I require it to function properly. Sometimes love gets caught up and tangled with my desperate need for validation, or maybe they’re one and the same. Secretly I think motherhood will validate my existence and give me a purpose.
My childhood was not fun. My mother was not a happy mother. This has also contributed to my apprehension and doubt. And most days I can barely take care of myself, so how could I possibly take care of something so small and so helpless? I’m trying to divorce in my mind the notion that you can’t have purpose and meaning in your life without having children, but it’s an ongoing struggle.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of the Moms out there. God bless you for being braver and stronger than I’ll ever be.