The Struggles of Navigating Motherhood Without Your Mom
Mother’s Day is this weekend and I think I’ll always be a little sad on this day. If you know me or have been following my blog, you will know that I lost my mom to cancer a little over a year ago. It happened in the span of three months so it was fast and sudden and totally unexpected.
I know a good bit of women who have lost their mothers at a young age (however I really don’t think it matters how old you are. It still sucks to lose your mom). Some ladies have gone through a similar situation to mine, losing their mama to cancer or another illness. Some were taken in other ways. Then there are the women living without their moms due to a strained relationship or falling out. There are mothers who made the decision not to be in their child’s life, and as a result, lose out on a beautiful relationship with a grandchild.
However it happened, you are a mother without your mom.
Maybe it doesn’t bother you a bit, and maybe you act like it doesn’t but are still hurt inside. You might be like me and miss your mom like crazy.
I want to ask my mom how long she breastfed me until switching to formula. Or how old I was when I started to crawl, walk or talk. If I could just call her up and complain about mundane things that don’t matter to anyone else, maybe I would feel a little better.
I realized the other day that I don’t have a photo of she and I with my son. Why didn’t we do that? It tears me up that I don’t have a photo of the three of us together. I am grateful that she got to meet him. Of course. But it kills me that she isn’t here to see how brilliant he is and all the cute things he does.
You can tell people how awesome your child is but no one is going to care quite as much as your mom.
I am lucky to have a big sister who is somewhat of a ‘second mom’ that I can unload on when I need to. She shows the right amount of enthusiasm when I send her photos or tell her about a new milestone Leopold reached. My sister knows she has me to talk to as well, but we both know that there is no replacement for our mom.
It’s hard, girl. I know how hard it is to raise a child without your mom next to you cheering you on.
It sucks not calling my mom on a long car ride just to talk about the same old stuff, gossip about people we used to be close with, or complain about our husbands leaving their socks on the floor.
If my mom were alive today, sure, my son would be spoiled rotten. But he would have a loving grandma who would beg me to take him on adventures. She would call me up and say ‘hey, tomorrow I’d like to take him to the museum and then out for lunch’! My mom would give him all of the amazing experiences and memories I got as a child, like how Fridays were our ‘special days’ when we would go do something fun together. Or how she would kiss my hand and hold it to my heart. “That’s a treasure. Save them, because you never know when you might need a kiss from your mama”.
She would read him ‘I’ll love your forever’ without bawling her eyes out. They would go to the zoo and she would tell him ‘look, a zebra! Noooo…that’s a cow!’ and he would giggle at the pure silliness they would share. I would take him to her house and she would teach him how to make things out of clay, and then they would make cookies together.
It’s hard accepting these things that you wish were a reality.
There are some ways to make motherhood without your mom less of a struggle.
- Create memories with your child that will be just as meaningful to them as they were to you. You may not be able to share your mom with your baby, but that should give you extra motivation to be the best mom you can be.
- Find a village. You hear that over and over again, but it’s so true. Try opening up to others. Meet like minded mamas who will drink a glass of wine with you and complain about stuff that doesn’t matter. Find people who get excited about the same things you do, and share your triumphs with them!
- Don’t rule out your husband’s mom. My mother in law isn’t my mom. We all know that. She operates differently and has different ways of doing things. That’s okay. She still loves my son like crazy and he loves her right back. Sometimes we forget that they are mothers too and have gone through a lot of the same stuff. If you are having a hard time, maybe give her a call and get her take on it. Try out a piece of her advice. Let her take your kid out for a special ‘grandma day’.
- Take the dang picture. My mom hated being in pictures. When I was growing up you very rarely saw her in photos. I understand this more now that I’m a mom. Our bodies aren’t what they used to be. That’s okay, I promise that extra 10 pounds doesn’t matter to your child! Save those memories!
- When you’re feeling sad, talk to someone about it. I’m very guilty of not doing this. On days when I miss my mom a little more than usual, I would rather go in the bathroom and cry for 10 minutes than talk to someone. My husband is so used to my random crying that when he asks me why I’m crying and I say ‘i miss mom’ he just says ‘oh. Okay’ and goes about his day. So find someone who will be sympathetic to you if that’s what you need!
Miss her. Be sad. It’s okay.
It’s okay to miss your mom. The ache doesn’t ever fade, so don’t try to push it away. Embrace it. If you bottle things up it’s just going to make things worse for you down the line. Don’t let it make you incapable of being present, but know that it’s okay to be sad sometimes.
Elise Cohen Ho says
Thank you for this lovely post. We have a person w in our life whose mom is gone. This holiday makes it quite hard for her. We try to do what we can.
That’s very sweet of you! It’s definitely not easy, but then pretty much all holidays are hard when your mom always made them so special!
My daughter is a cancer survivor. I don’t post anything on social media on these holidays because I feel the pain for so many moms that have lost a child. Its not that I don’t feel deeply the importance of a day like mothers day for myself but making some kind of public announcement isn’t necessary. I feel the day is worth celebrating but not without thinking about those like yourself who are motherless and the mothers who are now childless.
I agree! I do think it’s fine to celebrate and talk about it if you feel led to do so. Each mama’s journey is different and definitely worthy of celebration! I am so happy to hear that your daughter beat cancer, I can’t imagine the struggle you all went through to get where you are though. It’s tough for sure! Thank you so much for sharing that with me!
So nice to have found your blog. I lost my mom when I was too young to remember from Meningitis. But I secretly had a hard time during pregnancy for fear of not knowing what a real mom is. And as a mom those same questions you mentioned above started coming up. My dad was no help with his horrible memory and macho mentality. And my stepmother is completely different than my mom was and would have been based on what people have told me. Even though she was amazing, she was not the mother I had and then lost. Luckily, I do have a village and now my son has a mom who appreciates every moment and takes plenty of photos and video (but should still take more with me in them), two grandmothers (this includes my stepmom) who love and spoil him! And even great grandmas and aunts and cousins, plus. Not to mention so many male family member and role models including a wonderful dad who loves him unconditionally and will always be there for him. As long as he can (and I’m sure even when he can’t). But thank you for sharing (and allowing me to share here as well) ❤️, Mommy of @tyce_jordan
Thank you very much for sharing that with me! I’m so sorry you lost your mom as well :/ No matter what age, it’s never easy. I think losing your mom so young could almost be more difficult at times just for all the ‘what ifs’! I’m so glad you found your village and your son has so many people who love him. (He is such a cutie by the way!) I’m happy to have you in my ‘social media village’! 🙂
Ivy Boyter says
This is a tough subject for me. My mom passed away 4 days before my second baby arrived. But, we never got along so her passing didn’t effect me that deeply, personally. Still, I’m sad my children don’t have the same thing I grew up with – 2 loving sets of grandparents. And sometimes, I’d still like answers to questions about my life.
Wow, I’m so sorry to hear that! And what a roller coaster of emotions! I agree with you though, I hate it for me but sometimes I hate it for my son even more that he doesn’t get to know my mom!
Kayla O'Neill says
A very moving post. You have some great strategies in place to help with this struggle…so glad that you are sharing them with others who are need help and support!
I know how important it is to know that you’re not alone in the struggle! It sucks so bad to have lost her but I know I’m not the only person who has had to deal with the loss of a parent. It’s nice to hear from people who have been where you’ve been! Thank you for your comment! <3
Caitlin @RogersPartyof5 says
Oh my gosh. I’m so sorry that you lost your mom! I’m sure this post will bring comfort and peace to so many who are struggling with raising their children without their mom. Thank you for the heartfelt, sincere post 🙂
Thanks for reading! And yes, it’s the worst!!
Carrie Ostergard says
Thank you for sharing this. I definitely love the take the photo part. Im not a fan of cameras but I have come to just take a photo especially when the little one says mama take a selfie of us(90% of the time I look horrible lol) but he smiles and makes silly faces it’s totally worth it.
Same! I have to remind myself that he doesn’t see what I see. He sees unconditional love, and the person who brought him life! He doesn’t see the double chin or frizzy hair or the bags under my eyes! And years down the road he will appreciate those photos!
Bailey | Simply Mom Bailey says
Beautiful post <3 I'm sorry of your loss of your mother. I can't even imagine.
I try to take the picture. I really need to make more with my mom, as her my mom and my children grandmother
Yes! Get all the photos you can! They mean so much more to me now <3 thank you for reading and for the sweet comment!
wow, this says it just how it should be said. Thank you for a lovely read.
Thanks so much for reading it! You’re so sweet!
I can’t imagine life without my mother. I’m so sorry your mom has passed and so quickly too. My dad passed suddenly as well and it never gets easier. Expecially around the holidays.
I definitely agree! And being a new mom without your mom is seriously the worst! Thanks for reading 🙂
What a beautiful post! I am so sorry for your loss. I couldn’t imagine navigating the crazy ups and downs of motherhood without my mom by my side.
It’s not easy! Whenever I have something that I’m so excited to tell my mom I have to think about who would care the most out of the people I know. There is no one quite like her!
What a beautiful, honest and inspiring post. I will be sure to take the picture instead of think about it from now on!
Definitely do that! It’s easy to leave ourselves out and do the photo taking but these pictures are important memories! Thank you for the sweet comment!
Aww.. Its such an emotional post, all through it I missed my MOM, she is there with me & I discuss every small happening of my lil one with her. Could so very well relate it to yours. But girl, you are strong & be that way! May you get all happiness.. http://www.mommyinme.com
Thank you so much!! Yes it’s tough because she was the first person I told anything to! Now I either keep things to myself or I have to figure out who would care most out of my friends and family haha
Jessica Peresta says
What a beautiful post. Thank you for writing this. I have a friend who lost her mom from cancer last year and I know it is so hard.
It truly is! Thank you for reading!
Jasmine Hewitt says
i’m so sorry for your loss-this was a beautiful post!
Thank you so much! That means a lot!
ashley peavey says
Aw I love this!!
Such a lovely post. I’m so sorry for your loss, and I’m sure your mother is still there with you, loving you and her grand child! ❤❤
I know she is!!
Chelsea @TheCrazySAHM says
I commend you for being able to write this post and put it all out there. I do not know what I will do when I lose my mom. We leave for a vacation with my parents on Friday, and I will be more attentive to what my children are doing with her this thanks to this post!
Aw you’re so lucky! I was bored at home yesterday thinking ‘if my mom was still alive and my dad was still in town, I’d be hanging with them today’ and naturally i cried and had a pity party. No one like your parents, that’s for sure!
Working Mum says
I wanted to write that this is a beautiful post, but everyone else has already said that! I have my Mum with me and yet your post is so well-written that my heart ached all the way through reading it from feeling what you described. Good on you for being so rational in looking at how to make the most of everything and by the way, that is a beautiful picture of you two together. You definitely have her lovely smile!
You are so incredibly sweet! Thank you for the kind words 🙂 And yes I do think we look alike! In some pictures more than others!
Thank you for sharing such a personal post. I bet your Mom is proud of you and you are best Mom for your son
I like to think she is!! Thanks so much for the sweet comment!