Reflections on Mother's Day

Last weekend was Mother’s Day 

On one hand, asking someone if they had a lovely Mother’s Day is a polite pleasantry, but in reality,  it can be a loaded question.  

If you had a magical unicorn Mother’s Day, feel free to skip to the next section. But you aren't alone if Sunday stirred up some unpleasant thoughts and emotions.  

My thoughts aren’t fully polished, complete, or absolute, but here’s what’s been rolling around my head.  

Mothering (the act of mothering) is a gift of the sacred feminine. Raising, nurturing, and caring for someone or something, including ourselves, is critical for life to thrive.  And since it’s a verb, it isn’t relegated only to certain people. We can all mother 

In our society, the work of the feminine often goes unseen and is undervalued. Mothering isn’t as sexy as accomplishing goals, achieving, leading, and making money.  

So, I’m all here to acknowledge and honor the gift and act of mothering. There truly isn’t enough of it.  

Yet Mother’s Day often misses the mark.  


Because this day is focused on the ideal mother/child relationship, which can be complex, challenging, and exclusionary, the “happy” parts of the holiday can also include pressure-filled performative rituals that end up more stressful than enjoyable. Mother’s Day can bring up a lot of shoulds in our thoughts, beliefs, and feelings. 

It’s a complicated mess of feelings and experiences that often bring up at least one of these:  expectation, disappointment, guilt, shame, abandonment, sadness,  grief, and utter heartbreak.   

I could give you examples, but you already know them.  

So, I’d like to offer some ideas for reflection. Take what resonates and leave the rest.  

Let me start with a story.  

Years ago, for my birthday, I released the pressure and expectation for other people to have to do something to celebrate me to feel loved or acknowledged.  This wasn’t easy to unlearn, but it made me feel more excited and empowered vs. disappointed birthday blues. Nowadays, I use the day for spending time in reflection, honoring the past year's highlights and challenges, setting new goals and intentions, and feeling grateful for the people and gifts in my life. I also plan a few things I want to do to treat myself.  For example, getting a massage and pre-making my favorite childhood comfort food so I can indulge and not cook.  

This year I thought, what if Mother’s Day was a bit more like my birthday ritual? (I like to use what-if statements with my clients to create possibilities.)  

What if I spent time on Mother’s Day weekend in reflection of my mothering journey, and the ways in which I nurture and mother others. 

What if I spend time in gratitude for the people who have nurtured and mothered me? 

What if I asked how I could mother myself more and did that?

What if I created a way to spend some time in a way that felt good to me? 

What if we all honored the mothering in our lives instead of only the identity of mother? 

Reflection Questions for you:  #reflectionbuildsresiliency

  1. What did you do for Mother’s DayMaybe you were doing things for your own mom or partner.  Maybe spending the day with family, being celebrated, or not celebrating at all. 
  2. Did the day bring up any unpleasant feelings, thoughts, beliefs?  Were they tied to loss, disappointment, or expectations of yourself or other people?  Try writing some “what if statements” of your own to see what comes up and what feels good instead of the Mother’s Day shoulds. 

  3.  What can you do to amplify/ shift/ or release for next time to make the day feel better for you? 


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