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Let's be inclusive this Mother’s Day

Let's be inclusive this Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is a special day of the year. It’s a day where we acknowledge and honour one of the most important, if not the most important role in our familial relationships - mothers. For some of us that’s paying tribute to our actual mothers, for others it’s honouring those mother figures in our lives, and for many it’s being recognised for being a mother in your own family.

Everywhere you look there seems to be marketing ploys for Mother’s Day sales - “Spoil Mum this Mother’s Day, “Celebrate Mum”, “Mother’s Day gift ideas'' - from jewellers, department stores and even pubs selling the Mother’s Day lunch, the promotion is endless. We plan Mother’s Day feasts, write words of gratitude in Mother’s Day cards, and spend the day spoiling mum - for all that she’s done and continues to do for us so selflessly, as only mothers can. In society we are bombarded with so much talk aimed at those that are proud mums, or those celebrating their mums, but we rarely acknowledge those that feel conflicting emotions on Mother’s Day.

This year at Happy Way we wanted to shine the spotlight on those who are experiencing a different kind of  Mother’s Day. We wanted to be honest and truthful, by recognising that whilst this is a beautiful occasion for many, it can be a very challenging and emotional day for others. In order to get an authentic view, we have reached out to several individuals experiencing Mother’s Day in their own unique way. There’s the full-time mum, the brand new mum, and even the soon-to-be mum. But we also chat to a woman that is hopeful of motherhood, the full-time single dad, and the motherless daughter, who always finds this time of year a struggle.

Everyone’s experiences and feelings are real, raw and valid, and in the spirit of inclusivity, we thought it was time that we discuss the beauty and the challenges that motherhood, and Mother’s Day brings.

 

Zoe - The Full-time Working Mum

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In four words, tell us what feelings Mother’s Day brings up for you.
Generations, proud, happy, loved.

What is your “Mum” story?
I’m a mum of a one year old and a four year old. Life is super busy as I work full-time - mum guilt is a very real thing! I love to work and could never be a stay at home mum, but that doesn’t mean I love my children any less. It just means when I’m with my kids, it’s their time. They help me cook dinner, we read, play and just hang out - the housework gets done once they’re asleep. Let’s be real, I no longer know what “me time” is!

What does Mother’s Day mean to you?
Mother’s Day means celebrating being a mum and bringing generations of mums together. It’s acknowledging that being a mum is hard and a full-time job in itself. It’s also when mums get to have the day off (or at least a few hours...lol).

What challenges do you face in your role as a mum?
Mum guilt and the constant worry you have for your kids. “Am I doing it right?”, “Will they be good humans?”, “Do they know how much I love them?” - these are thoughts that are always running through my head.

What are you grateful for this Mother’s Day?
I’m grateful that I am a mum. Watching my two tiny humans grow, learn and develop is the single most amazing thing in the world to me. I get to celebrate this everyday, but Mother’s Day is the day that we all celebrate.

How will you spend this Mother’s Day?
With my mum, husband, kids and extended family, enjoying a Mother’s Day brunch together.

 

Eleni - The Hopeful Mum

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In four words, tell us what feelings Mother’s Day brings up for you.
Invisibility, emptiness, gratitude, envy.

What is your “Mum” story?
I decided I wanted children in my mid thirties, this coincided with sudden ovarian failure. The last five years have been the on and off attempts to have a child without success. Everyone I know who wants children has become a mother, and my mother is now a grandmother - this is my life around Mother’s Day.

What does Mother’s Day mean to you?
Mother’s Day has evolved over my life. It used to be solely a day of worship for my mum - I would write her a card with all the words I should have been able to say to her when I was unable to, due to my immaturity and poor ability to share my feelings. Thankfully I have changed, but my cards have not - they’re filled with words of gratitude, love and admiration for mum. I would also spoil mum with a personal gift, that only daughters can get so right for their mother. When I was in my twenties and early thirties many of my friends were becoming new mums, and Mother’s Day was something I witnessed them talk about with such importance. It felt like an elite, mum only, ‘Christmas’ type of celebration. Now that I'm older and desperate to have a child, Mother’s Day feels ostracising. I do my best to still make it special for my mum because she deserves it - she struggled and sacrificed to raise us, so it’s important to honour that.

What challenges do you face around Mother’s Day?
Not knowing if I will ever have a child is hard. I’m often worrying about how my life will be long term if I don’t have a child or if I should change my life direction and purpose. 

What are you grateful for this Mother’s Day?
I’m grateful that I have my mum to love still in this physical world, as I have many friends who have lost their mothers and it’s a blinding heartache.

How will you spend this Mother’s Day?
I have to check what mum would like to do but likely a feast with mum, my sister in-law and extended family. I will also visit my best friend Jaclyn who is my egg donor and check in on her. She has three children of her own and a husband who will spoil her like she deserves. We will spend time together, talking about our baby journey, motherhood, and her mum Pam who left us twelve years ago.

 

Tony - The Mr Mum

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In four words, tell us what feelings Mother’s Day brings up for you.
Gratitude, emotional, lonely, hopeful.

What is your “Mum” story?
I am the proud father to my eight year old daughter. I have had full-time care of her since she was two years old and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I run my own Finance Broking business which keeps me very busy in itself, then I try to juggle fatherhood and everyday life in between all of that - life is hectic!

What does Mother’s Day mean to you?
Mother’s Day for me brings a lot of mixed emotions, I always worry about how my daughter feels on this day. Mother’s Day is a day I want my daughter to feel grateful for the people that love her. The day for me should be one that makes all mothers feel special and loved and is an opportunity to acknowledge all the special moments you’ve shared with them over the years. All of these moments make up who we are today.

What challenges do you face around Mother’s Day?
Sometimes dealing with the feeling of guilt and not knowing how my daughter may feel about not having her mother to wake up to, not only on Mother’s Day, but also throughout her childhood. It’s something I never wanted for my child and Mother’s Day is a reminder of that. I remember waking up early in the morning when I was a kid and sneaking into the kitchen to prepare breakfast in bed for my mother. Bringing that tray into her room with burnt toast and a little flower in a glass made her so happy! It’s a memory I want my daughter to have.

What challenges do you face in your role as a parent?
I’ve never tried to play the mother and father role for my daughter as I believe both are blessed with their own unique qualities. Filling the void is always in my thoughts and knowing how to do that on Mother’s Day in particular can be challenging. One of the biggest challenges of being a single father is not having a significant other to turn to for reassurance, or to get their opinion on whether I am doing the right thing as a parent in certain situations. It could be a seemingly simple parenting decision, but can sometimes leave you second guessing yourself. Being a single father is a unique situation, but I’m lucky to have an amazing family and friends that support me and my daughter. All of the mothers at my daughters’ school include me in their online group chats and never exclude me, which I am so grateful for. My daughter is a happy little girl and always has a smile on her face. That’s how I know I can do this.

What are you grateful for this Mother’s Day and in your role as a full-time single parent?
Waking up to a happy and healthy child is definitely what I am grateful for everyday. A unique set of circumstances has led me to being a full-time single father and it's been the most challenging six years of my life, but the most rewarding by far. I feel so proud watching my daughter grow into a beautiful young lady, who shows love and affection to all of her family and friends. She is a little girl that is caring and thoughtful beyond her years. This would have to be my lifes’ greatest achievement. 

How will you spend this Mother’s Day?
Mothers Day will be spent with all of the special ladies in our lives. Flowers, food, fun and lots of laughs - connecting and talking about when we were kids is always my favourite part of the day.

 

Sara - The New Mum 

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In four words, tell us what feelings Mother’s Day brings up for you.
Gratitude, admiration, joy, remembrance.

What is your “Mum” story?
I recently gave birth to my first child in my forties. Myself and my partner are from Europe but live in Sydney, which means we are raising our son without immediate family close by. My partner is way more maternal than me, but we both wanted children and felt we had a lot to offer as parents. We’ve both travelled the world and have had successful careers - but this would be our greatest adventure! Now my son is here, it’s very surreal. I still can’t believe it and find it hard to identify as a mum, but everyday he teaches me how to be the best mum I can. Daddy is a total natural!  

What does Mother’s Day mean to you?
It’s a day where we say thanks to our mums, it’s that simple. If we’re able to hug them or call them to wish them a good day then all the better. It’s about appreciation and acknowledgment. Now I’m a mum it feels weird because I don’t expect any gratitude as this is what I do - I just try to do my best. Perhaps a few more years I’ll get my head around it.

What challenges do you face in your role as a mum?
Raising a child without immediate family nearby is tough. I want him to know them and to appreciate the culture he’s from. Finding a work-life balance whilst having this responsibility is going to be challenging.

What are you grateful for this Mother’s Day?
My son and my amazing partner.

How will you spend this Mother’s Day?
With my little family and close friends. We will go for coffee and a nice walk - simple yet perfect.

 

Kendall - The Daughter Without Mum

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In four words, tell us what feelings Mother’s Day brings up for you.
Misunderstood, gratitude, love, loss.

What is your “Mum” story?
I’m a forty year old motherless and childless female. I lost my beautiful mum, ‘Lynnie’, to cancer, coming up to six years ago now. I’ve also never been fortunate enough to be at a time in my life or in a relationship that afforded me the opportunity to try for a family of my own. This isn’t by choice. I’ve never chosen to NOT be a mother - it’s actually all I had ever wanted growing up and I feel I was made for the job. At thirty seven years of age I decided to freeze my eggs. I did this to try and ‘control’ my situation, at a time when I felt like the odds and time were against me - it was a situation that was out of my control. Now at forty, I’m more accepting of my situation. My partner of almost two years has two girls, and recently I’ve been introduced into the step-parenting world. I feel it’s a privilege to be able to be a positive influence in their lives - however this doesn’t come without its own challenges!

What does Mother’s Day mean to you?
Mother’s Day is a day that reminds me of what I don’t have in my life. My mum and my own children.

It is a day that reminds me I have a few people in my corner that really understand me - that have lived similar experiences, that just ‘get it’. Most of my friends, even though they believe they ‘get it’, they don’t. It’s not their fault - you need to experience loss to understand it. It’s a day that reminds me that I am so much like my mum. Growing up I would mock mum for things I do now that remind me of her. I feel so proud I’m just like her. It’s something that I celebrate and own everyday.

What challenges do you face around Mother’s Day with your mum no longer here?
Coming up to the first Mother’s Day after mum died I started getting flooded with Mother’s Day emails - ‘Kendall, have you thought about getting X for your mum for Mother’s Day’. The emails are a slap-in-the-face reminder of your loss. I am better at dealing with them now, but they still are not easy. I deal with my grief day by day. Some days it’s just there in the background. Others it’s a wave of exhaustion that washes over me. A song, a dream, or a memory can either spark joy or sadness. It depends on the day.

How do you get through these challenges? How do you find comfort/who do you lean on for support?
I speak to a therapist regularly. I’ve been seeing her since mum passed away. I seek comfort in friends that have lived similar experiences. I walk and get my body moving to feel good.

What are you grateful for this Mother’s Day?
I’m grateful for all the positive, influential women in my life. Whether they be family or friends. Through loss I have learnt to never take these relationships for granted.

How will you spend this Mother’s Day?
For the first couple of Mother’s Days after my mum passed I spent the day on my own. I manage my grief a lot on my own - by choice. I’d buy Lynnie a bunch of flowers, place them next to her photo and seek joy in the little things. The last few Mother’s Days I’ve spent with my close friend Amanda. She is also motherless and childless. We get out and go for hikes, fly kites and just soak up the sunshine. We talk about our mums and our lives, and it fills us up on a day that may not otherwise.

 

Triniti - The Expectant Mum

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In four words, tell us what feelings Mother’s Day brings up for you.
Love, guidance, kindness, selflessness.

What is your “Mum” story?
I am expecting my first baby in September. Becoming a mother has always been something I've wanted from an early age but I just had to wait till life planned that out for me. I couldn't be more excited to meet our little one and feel ever so blessed everything has gone well so far.

What does Mother’s Day mean to you?
Taking time out to spend with the ones who give so much of their lives for their children and families. Celebrating women all over the world and recognising the everyday help they give.

What challenges do you face as an expectant mum?
Becoming a mum will be one of the hardest yet most rewarding jobs I know I'll ever do - it's going to be a game changer and I'm so ready for that! I think the biggest challenge is the unknown, but at the same time no two mothers have the same experience in pregnancy, birth or beyond, so I feel like you need to surrender to your body when the time comes to birth the baby, and then trust your intuition.

What are you most looking forward to in becoming a parent?
The day we meet our baby girl, holding her for the first time, experiencing all the "first time" moments and seeing my partner with her also. I'm excited to start this next chapter of life with my partner and our little one - being a family, creating memories and a bond that will last a lifetime and beyond.

What are you grateful for this Mother’s Day?
I am grateful to have my mother and mother-in-law beside me, for their love and support means the world to me. Anything I've ever needed my mum was there - she would have done anything I asked her to do and still does. I cannot wait to see her with our little one and watch them create that special bond, just as my partner's mum will do also. I feel very blessed to have such a strong family connection.

How will you spend this Mother’s Day?
This year we will spend Mother's Day up on the farm, at my partner's family home in the country with his side of the family and then take my mother out for a meal when we get home.

We thank each of the individuals above for taking the time and for being so raw and vulnerable in sharing their stories with us at Happy Way. We hope that for those reading, it has touched you as much as it has impacted us hearing each person's journey along this process. Remember to be kind to one another - sending love and light this Mother’s Day.

Love, Happy Way xx

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