Mother’s Day: It’s Complicated

Mother's DayMother’s Day is just around the corner. Most of us think of sweet old ladies, flowers and chocolates when it comes to this day. Many also feel guilty for not doing enough or wake up on Mother’s Day and say “OMG I forgot to get my mom a gift!”

Besides the normal thoughts and reactions to Mother’s Day there are a lot of very complicated feelings happening on this day.

This is a day when many women feel left out and unappreciated. Whether they are childless/childfree, stepmoms, lesbian non-bio moms, or any kind of other mother this day can be a sensitive day for them.

Often non-traditional moms go unnoticed on this day. The school may have had the small children make cards for their mom and did not think of making anything for the stepmom or other mom in that child’s life. The child may worry they will hurt their “real” mom’s feelings if they make a card for their stepmom.

Women who were unable to conceive or who had abortions often feel the sting of sadness on this day.

Women who chose not to have children feel judged by others.

Women who lost children feel enormous sadness on Mother’s Day.

This can also be a day of grief for people who have lost their mothers.

Yes, Mother’s Day is a happy day to celebrate and appreciate all those wonderful mothers out there, those women who do so much and often go unnoticed. But, let’s also make it a day to be sensitive to others and maybe start a tradition of reaching out to those other mothers and non-mothers in our lives.

When my neighbor heard about the book I was writing she told me the story of how her mom died when she was 15 and that she never had children. Mother’s Day was always a very difficult day for her but then one day a friend sent her a card on Mother’s Day telling her how much they appreciated her and all the wonderful things she has done. She said that card made her so happy that ever since then she has been sending cards to women on Mother’s Day letting them know how much she appreciates them and all that they have done. Now she loves Mother’s Day and looks forward to it every year. It is no longer a day of dread but rather a day to share appreciation.

I think the story of my neighbor is so beautiful. I challenge you all to pick at least one woman this Mother’s Day to reach out to and send a letter of appreciation to.

What are your Mother’s Day stories?




The image above is a from a page created by me during one of Marilyn LoRusso’s Vision Book Art Workshops.



6 thoughts on “Mother’s Day: It’s Complicated

  1. Elisa

    There are lots of them, in fact; but the first one to come to my mind is – and maybe it can be quite a surprise for many – my Teacher. When I was 6 I had a Teacher who was just as an other mother to me, with the same level of availability and love. She is still there for me, and I see her weekly. I think I never said to her how much I appreciate her role in my life, just for the sake of shyness and lazyness.
    Another woman I’m grateful too is, sadly, no longer here: she died when I was 7, but she was very important to me, and to my mother too: she called her ” my heart mom ” and she said this woman, her aunt in fact, did things for her that not even her mother had ever did for her, and completely for free: free of any sentiment of guilt also. She was there for her when she was a child and, afterwards, when she become a mother, and I’m grateful for all that she did for my own mother and for us. So sad I have never had the possibility to tell her all these things. Thank you, however, for letting me share these stories, think about them and feel grateful for having such women in my life. And good luck for your own ” other mother” path!

  2. SallyKuhlman Post author

    Elisa – Teachers can be wonderful support. So wonderful that you still see her regularly. The heart mom you mentioned sounds like she was a heart grandmother to you. Sounds like a lovely woman. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Elisa

    You’re welcome! She was surely some sort of heart grandmother to me – I remember I had complete faith on her. Good luck on your life!

  4. Michele

    Hi Sally, As a mom, stepmom, aunt, sister and daughter, I have many mixed emotions on mother’s day. One of my favorite stories is when I was supposed to go down to Santa Cruz to spend Mother’s Day with my step-daughters and their mom and grandma and I injured my back. When I called an told them what happened and that I couldn’t make the drive, they all hopped into their car and came and picked me up for an afternoon on Muir Beach! I am truly blessed to have such an amazing family and to be so accepted by both my step kids and their moms.


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