The last time I celebrated Mother’s Day with my mother was exactly 13 years ago this month.
I recall the day only minimally.
I know I was somewhat sleep deprived as my four month old twin daughters were still up at least once or twice in the night, a ritual they did until they were 12 months old. Plus, I had four-month-old twin babies. I was tired in my bones for years.
I do know that I went above and beyond for that luncheon because I knew it was our last one together for a while.
I didn’t know it would be possibly our last one for more than a decade. Maybe for more than two decades.
That day, I invited my mom and grandmother over and I think my aunt was there as well.
I made a special lunch but the one thing I do remember for sure was that I made homemade creme brûlée, which is my favorite dessert and I wanted to offer a special dessert for my mom and grandmother.
It was a lovely day. I was very tired when it was over. I had tried so hard to make it special for the moms in my life who meant so much to me. I collapsed that night and moved into just another day mode.
I neglected to realize that I was a mom worth celebrating, too.
Two months later, my mom moved nearly 700 miles away — a 12-hour trip that is hard — even now with twin teenagers.
But what really stands out to me now is how that so much changed since that last Mother’s Day spending the day with my mom.
Now, it’s purely MY day. That is something that not too many moms get.
Then again, here in Abundant Mama Land, it is ALWAYS Mother’s Day. 🙂
My mission with every single class, every single program and every single event we hold is to help you celebrate yourself and feel worthy of your own self-love and your own respect.
It’s only when we are truly filled up ourselves that we can give to others freely and beautifully without resentment and without conditions.
Over the years, I’ve come to really despise Mother’s Day as the commercial beast it has become. And so I really try to ask my family to avoid getting me superficial gifts just to buy something. I prefer handmade gifts for sure. Then again, my favorite actual gift of all time has been my hammock. My hammock is my life in the spring and summer.
And then there’s this about Mother’s Day: It’s not always perfect.
When we build up the day as something others do for us we give the day too many unrealistic hopes and expectations. I’ve had so many clients say that their children’s behavior didn’t match their expectations for the day. Or their partner didn’t quite deliver the special day they had hoped for envisioned.
It’s OK if our feelings don’t match the day. We don’t have to feel special on a special day. We don’t have to feel joy on a birthday. Our human emotions aren’t always going to be in alignment with the world around us.
So what do we do if that’s the case?
Maybe you spend all of your time devoting your energy for others.
Maybe you feel forgotten about or not appreciated enough on Mother’s Day.
Maybe you feel like Mother’s Day is just another day where if you are lucky you get out of one meal.
And then there is this: Perhaps you are overwhelmed by all the options that you could choose to bring joy and shut down and just want to let others take over. This happens.
The overwhelm struggle is real until we start to take some decisive action that is chosen by fierce intentions.
If any of this is you, I want to encourage you to give yourself the gifts you really need and value. Gifts that will keep on giving long after the sun sets on Mother’s Day. Of course you can always buy yourself flowers or some chocolates, but these gifts are unconventional.
In fact, these non-gifts are meant to heal your soul, which is the work we do in all of our programs here in this community.
When we choose to reclaim our joy and reclaim our pleasure and give it to ourselves, we are taking control of our own feelings and the outcomes of our day.
This is the Abundant Mama Way.
4 Unconventional Gifts to Give Yourself on Mothers’ Day
THE GIFT OF PRESENCE FOR YOURSELF
Sure you may be spending most of the day doting on the other moms in your life — or maybe you are among the many women who are motherless mothers and alone for the holiday. This allows you to give yourself the gift of your own presence. I love to help women feel at home with themselves. This, of course, doesn’t mean you have to leave your family — which may cause separation anxiety for yourself and your children especially if they are younger. You can, instead, focus on being present for yourself in everything you do throughout the day. This can show up as the healing inner work you need to feel good about yourself and to feel nurtured. A life lived with full presence is one that can easily be filled with gratitude.
THE GIFT OF SELF-LOVE
In my work with women, we practice, practice, practice the many ways we can mother ourselves. This is beautiful work for women whose mothers have died or for women who have chosen to part ways with their own mothers. Regardless of the situation you are in with your own mother, you deserve to feel loved, supported unconditionally and happy. And sometimes that means you need to give that to yourself. To do that you must believe you are worthy enough to receive that kind of love — but once you do, you will be so grateful that is the gift you’ve given yourself. And what a great message to teach your children, too.
THE GIFT OF REST
Overwhelm is exhausting. When we finally reach that place where we can settle in without striving, without pushing, without trying so hard we can rest. This is the ultimate gift to give yourself. Rest can come in many forms but whatever form it takes up residence in your life, it is the gift that replenishes us the most. When we finally know we are enough as we are right now, we can set down all the other agendas and surrender to rest. This is my favorite work we do as Abundant Mamas and the work that I put at the top of my list each day. Rest begins when we finally believe we have done enough.
THE GIFT OF PLAY
One of our four pillars of being an Abundant Mama is play and I can’t think of a more fun gift to give yourself then the gift of play on your special day — and this can go for your birthday, too. There are so many benefits to playing but we know that our adult agenda’s strike and we make it really hard for ourselves to Being a Yes Mama. And yet I’ve never had one moment in my life when I said YES to play where I didn’t feel it was the best gift I had given to myself.
Choosing just one of these will get you closer to having the kind of Mother’s Day — or birthday — YOU cherish. It’s that easy. You don’t have to rely on anyone else for your joy or your pleasure or your happiness,
It’s always up to you.
FYI — I’m hosting an Abundant Mama Masterclass on Monday, May 13. YOU are invited and encouraged to attend. It’s free to attend and anyone who attends live will be given a special gift. SAVE YOUR SEAT HERE
Shawn Fink is the founder of The Abundant Mama Project and the author of “The Playful Family” and “The Abundant Mama’s Guide to Savoring Slow.” She is the mother of twin girls, Jadyn and Liana, and a family wellness coach for mothers around the world. Her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, MindBodyGreen.com, Scary Mommy, Dr.Green.com and The Shriver Report.