Mother's (parent's) Day is on its way, but what does it really mean?
In the mid-century, Mother's Day was created with a religious background. In modern days, we have commercially celebrated Mother's Day by purchasing gifts or throwing dinner parties to show our appreciation.
Today, we are parents of new generations. Do we expect the same sort of return from our kids as our moms/parents expected from us?!
IN OUR MIND
As parents, we assume that our mental fatigue, loss of brain power, and education investment in our kids should be acknowledged by them. We hope to be rewarded this way, but it usually comes with disappointment or another unresolved issue after the adrenaline, dopamine, or serotonin rush.
In reality, we probably feel like we're barely hanging on most days. We feel guilty when we're at our breaking point and end up snapping at our kids with our frustration from the work desk to the dining table.
However, other than having our minds circling with how much our kids owe us such as how many long nights we stayed up with our sick kiddos, extra trips we took to the grocery, or cleaning their mess in life, have we ever questioned ourselves what it truly means to be moms/parents and raise children?
SELF-REALIZATION AS PARENTS
I'm a mother of 2 living kids and 1 on the other side. The responsibility of being a parent is never easy, but it's made even more difficult when our neurodivergent children need our guidance to navigate in the divergent world (side note: neurotypicals are also part of neurodivergents, that's what diversity is about); it's even more frightening to be the parent of a deceased child (whether it's miscarriage, stillbirth, or deceased after birth) and carry deep pain in our hearts. And let's not forget if we were the children experiencing childhood trauma and currently trying to figure out how to be the ideal parents on our own.
When my kids were very young, I was exhausted by being the ideal mom on the one hand and frustrated by the mundane repetitive tasks on the other hand while advocating for neurodivergent kids who I knew at school and my own practice.
Until one day, my kids brought home plants from school, which made me slowly realize that being a parent was similar to planting trees. Nurturing children requires patience by providing love, nutritious soil, water, sunlight, communication, and teamwork repeatedly. When nothing seemed to bloom in this era of instant gratification, this repetitive action would be tedious on the surface level.
13 years have passed by, and I've begun to realize that what we've planted isn't about what grew on top, but what has grown beneath the surface.
'What's firmly rooted cannot be pulled out - Lao Tzu'
Leaves change and fall, flowers flow in the wind, branches break in storms.
Only strong roots help the plants to stand solidly no matter what conditions they are in.
NEW ANGLES ON GROWING PAIN
Whether we have neurodiverse kids, living kids, disabled kids, or deceased kids. Each soul has their own mission. Each pregnancy and birth process are stories on their own. Parenthood has its own learning curve. It is important to note that there is no one identical family story, so comparison is unnecessary; the common ground is that children help us reclaim our humanity by showing us how to find our own magic, confronting our feelings, healing our growing pain emotionally. This will enable us to restore our roots as individuals, as parents, and as families.
With that said, this motherhood/parenthood journey isn't about looking at the statistical data like you'd do with the stock market. It isn't about comparing or parent shaming others. Fundamentally, it's about how we build a relationship with ourselves, our children, and gain empathy for others as human beings.
I'm not suggesting we refrain from taking part in physical celebrations, we should enjoy them. However, it's also worth looking inward at how internal healing and perception shifts in parenthood can help sustain the relationship between us, our kids, and our society. All it takes is our willingness to put down our egos and simply ask our children, "Is there anything I can improve as a parent so we can co-create a sound foundation?" And from there, we'll find out what Mother's (parent's) Day really means to us.