Mother’s Day is Complicated

Let’s face it – Mother’s Day is complicated for many reasons.  It’s a day that brings a lot of expectation and pressure to be a certain way and highlights some of the problems inherent with motherhood.  As a therapist, I know that the day evokes a lot of difficult feelings for problematic relationships of past and present.


Some people cope with Mother’s Day by choosing not to participate.  This is a completely valid option in this day and age and pressure to engage in socially endorsed celebrations.   Another option might be to use this day for reflection on what it means to be a mother, however we may define that role.

The domain of therapy focuses a lot on all the problems associated with motherhood – which makes sense as many people need therapy to heal from the wounds of broken relationships, unmet expectations, and in many cases abuse and neglect.  While we try to bring understanding to the wounds of the past, we also seek healing through the understanding of what it is like to be cared for by another person who can see us for who we really are.

Make This a Day for Reflection Rather Than Obligation

Knowing that motherhood is complicated, we can remind ourselves that we have lots of time to work through these relationships with therapy and self-reflection.  At the same time we can approach Mother’s Day as an invitation for reflection on what we seek in motherhood rather than a forced celebration.

For those of us who are mothers and are caring for kids at home, can we value our own commitment to caring and remember why we do this.  Can we set aside the to do list, not only as a way of getting a much needed break, but to slow down, step back, and see what is important about this role we have committed to.  The biggest challenge of motherhood is to step back from the busyness and feelings of overwhelm and to reflect on what is important.

Here are some suggestions for mothers with kids at home on how to make this a meaningful day:

  • Make a conscious effort to do less and outsource some basic tasks today.
  • Do some activities with kids that you can do in a mindful way and appreciate just being together.
  • Take a few moments for yourself to reflect on what you value and what is meaningful to you in your role as a mother.

Mother’s Day can be an invitation for reflection on the value of motherhood but this should not be limited to this day alone.  If this is a day that brings up past wounds it may be best to take this as a day of self-care and reserve these reflections to a day and time that feels safer.