To my ex on Mother’s Day

Oh, crap. It’s Mother’s Day.

How many people think that on the Saturday before, or even the Monday after? I used to be a bit like that. Now that she’s gone, I’m still thinking it. For different reasons. Regretting the missed opportunities and unexpressed gratitude.

But this year I have every intention of celebrating Mother’s Day. You know why? Because my children have one. Sure, we parent them separately, share the load on different days of the week because we’re no longer together, but I reckon it’s really important for my children to value the attention and sacrifice she’s made.

If it wasn’t for the way she’s given her energy and passion into making sure they have balanced lunches, clean clothes and a positive outlook on life, I think they’d be wolf-children: wild-haired and hollow-eyed, with callouses on their knees and a fondness for raw meat in their diets.

I will honour her in front of them. Not because I’m lying, but because she has made decisions in her life that benefit them, often at her own expense. That’s what moms do.

I guess some separated or divorced families aren’t able to do this, and use words beginning with B to describe their estranged spouses, but I won’t. She’s their mom. And I can’t be an effective single dad unless I have her support, too. She’s an amazing woman - I wouldn’t have had children with her if I didn’t think that, and I’ve seen her trawling through books and websites for ways to improve her parenting, or resolve an issue. I’ve seen her cry with anxiety in hospital wards, and challenge teachers when they include our children in some sweeping generalisation.

So the children are coming to me this week. I’ll sit with them, maybe chat a bit about what she’s done for them. I’ll get them to scribble out their feelings on a home-made card with felt-tip pens and stickers, and hopefully have a chance to get them to take a small glimpse at the woman who is there for them when they wake up, and who watches over them while they sleep.

It doesn’t stop there. I have friends. Friends who have weathered everything from nightmarishly risky pregnancies to post-natal depression. Friends who saw the sitcoms and their own friends having babies and thought it seemed easy. Friends who have battled with the adjustment, and struggled to keep marriages and other friendships afloat after having had children.

I have friends whom I’ve never met: Women whose only friendship voice is through the internet, as they wrestle with the cabin-fever and tedium that often makes up being a good mom.

I will honour those moms, too. The ones whose tears aren’t counted, whose daily efforts to get out of bed and continue the task of being a mother go unnoticed. Those moms are superheroes. They deserve the praise and encouragement they seldom hear.

Is there a mother in your life you want to honour?

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