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.