an open letter to single mothers on Mother’s Day

Look details for mommy: Banana Republic dress (similar style here)   |   Kut from the Cloth jacket   |   Treasure and Bond wedges   |    tote

Look details for baby:   Janie and Jack dress   |   Zara sweater   |   Janie and Jack sandals

Photo Credit @ Lauren Denise Photography

Happy belated Mother’s Day to everyone! I meant to get this post up on Mother’s Day. However, I have been experiencing some technical difficulties the last 48 hours on my website. Hopefully, all the bugs are worked out now  🙂

It’s hard to express in words the emotions I’ve had on Mother’s Day. I remember my first Mother’s Day vividly. My daughter, though close to a year old at the time, was nursing every two hours and extremely colicky. I was still only getting a few hours of sleep a night, 4-5 hours total if I was lucky. It was after lunch before I even realized it was supposed to be a special day. By 9 pm, the long day was finally ending. No one had even wished me a “Happy Mother’s Day.” No one had done anything. I recall finally finding a card on my dresser before bed from my dad. In it, he wrote, “I am proud of you. Love, Dad.” I remember sitting at the foot of my bed in an unwashed t-shirt soaked in leaked breastmilk from that day, too tired to shower (even though it had already been a few days since my last one), and I burst into tears. My child was nearly a year old and I had never left her. Not a single day or night had we ever been apart. I dedicated my entire life and world to my child. Motherhood had completely consumed me. And, I had just spent the day watching mothers be acknowledged, appreciated, loved, and pampered for their devotion to their child(ren). The sheer lack of acknowledgment I received felt like all my devotion to my daughter wasn’t enough to even be bothered with. By the time the day was done, I was done with it. I was thankful and grateful for my dad’s card and simple words. I was thankful and grateful someone remembered and acknowledged I was now a mother too. Yet, the entire day still hurt. This was my first Mother’s Day, a day I had dreamt about for years. And yet, the memory I took away from it was uncontrollable tears, at the foot of my bed, in a breastmilk soaked t-shirt, and my grossly un-showered/exhausted body. Even now as I am typing this, I cannot stop the tears of this memory from running down my cheeks, but also can’t even sufficiently explain how I felt on that day.

My second Mother’s Day was not that different from the first. I believe my dad’s previous card became a text message that year. And, I recall receiving at least one or two other “Happy Mother’s Day” text messages. Though I was in a relationship for close to a year by this time, there was no celebrating. I didn’t even receive a card from my significant other of the time, I don’t recall him even telling me “Happy Mother’s Day.” There was no honoring my devotion to not only my child but his as well. Quite frankly, the day was so insignificant it has little place in my memory at all. Maybe that is my subconscious trying to be strong, who knows.

Anyway, I realize no words will adequately do justice to the sentiment I am attempting to share. So this year, on this day full of mixed emotions, I try and see perspective. And as I snuggle my daughter in my arms and sing her to sleep, I feel honored to be her mother. I have come to accept this is all the honor I truly need. That being said, I want to take the time to give a special shoot out to all the single mothers of this world. I hope this open letter gives you some comfort on this holiday. I am sending you a hug and prayer for all your hard work and loving devotion to the children in your lives on this special day. 

To the Single Mothers of the world,

I am a single mother. I have never been married. I understand Mother’s Day is a holiday full of mixed feelings for you. I want you to know you are not alone. I am here, and I am thinking of you.

A special day dedicated to showing appreciation for the selfless devotion of a mother is an awkward, and often uncomfortable, holiday for us single moms. Without a husband, partner, or significant other who will honor you–and help your child celebrate you–it is a lonely, bittersweet day. The reality is, especially if your child is small, you will wake up early, make breakfast and go about your day as if it were any other day. If your child is a little older, you might be lucky enough to get a card or gift they made for you at school or Sunday School with the help of a teacher. But, if you have a young child, you more than likely will not get recognized or acknowledged for the tireless commitment you have made to that precious little life. It isn’t fair. You are worthy of so much more.

I understand how it hurts to feel sad and guilty on a day meant for celebrating you and everything you do. I understand if you feel angry. I understand if you feel left-out (and yet envious at the same time) of all the other mother’s getting pampered and loved on this day. I understand if you feel like you are undeserving.

If you are blessed enough to have an incredible support system like myself (whom you love dearly), you may get some recognition for your title of “mom.” But when the day ends, as grateful as you are, you are still a single mother attempting to conquer parenthood by your lonesome.

For me, the hardest part about being a single mom is the overwhelming loneliness. The providing alone. Carrying the responsibility of raising a child alone. Disciplining alone. Loving alone. Experiencing and sharing in this beautiful little life alone. Even though you are rarely, if ever, physically alone……you are lonely. And, if we are being REAL, that loneliness can be crushing.

So this year, I want to say….you are not alone. I am thinking of you, and I am here. If you are a single mother with zero help, I am here and thinking of you. If you are a single mother with a great support system but still feel the bittersweet emotions of this day, I am here and thinking of you. If you are a divorced single mother experiencing your first “single Mother’s Day,” I am here and thinking of you. If you are a widow grieving the loss of your love and life shared, I am here and thinking of you. If you are a single mother with little to no involvement by your child’s father, I am here and thinking of you.

On this special day this year, I hope you find some peace. I hope you find a calm moment to rest. I hope you get a sweet little smile, giggle, hug, and snuggle. If your child is old enough, I hope you hear the magical words: “Mommy, I love you.” Or even better yet, “Thanks mom, I love you.” I hope you take some small comfort in knowing, even if your child(ren) doesn’t or is unable to show it, you are that little human’s entire world. I hope you get a beautiful handmade card or creation (I got a precious toilet paper roll-bangle-sticker bracelet from Sunday school). I hope you care for yourself on this day and take some time for just you.

But, most of all, I hope you know…..you are not alone. I am here and thinking of you. You are extraordinary, powerful, unique, beautiful, and special. You are loved and appreciated more than you will ever know and more than words can ever express. I am honoring you, the single mothers of the world, on this special day.

With love always,

Alli

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