Last issue I did something I don’t believe I’ve done in quite some time, I failed to write about Mother’s Day.
I did, in fact pen a piece in the 209 Magazine about my duo and the pride I feel in being their mother, that seemed plenty. That is until the actual day of Mother’s Day arrived and I reflected on how that day can be drastically different if you’re doing life as a single mom with young kids.
Before expanding further, I want to be clear on a few things. The first would be to state that this is a piece likely best suited for the mom doing the mom life of children solo. Yes, I know there are mom’s out there who feel when their spouses travel or work a ridiculous stretch of hours, days on end they are “single mommying” it – hate to tell ya … not really.
There’s no magic moment of respite for the mother (or father) doing the parent thing a la carte. So perhaps it’s safe to say, this piece is probably suited best for you.
There’s a weird, sort of awkward time that occurs between the pre-school years to the driving years when the kids of single parents are at the mercy of others by way of gift giving. Well, at least that was my initial thought as Mother’s Day 2019 came to a close.
Both kids now too old for classes making Mother’s Day crafts, which all moms love by the way, and not yet old enough to drive themselves to shop for something special for mom.
Personally, each year I make sure my duo send a card as well as a gift to their father for Father’s Day. They also live primarily with me, so that makes each of the two things a bit easier, as well as accessible.
When we first went from a family of four to three, I would spend a good couple of days weeks prior to Mother’s Day shopping online for something special I wouldn’t normally indulge in. This was also the time of classroom crafting, so gifts were somewhat bountiful. Hand crafted gifts always my favorite.
I can still recall those days of shopping for myself online and feeling “good for me. I work hard to do right by my children. I deserve this.” And well, I did.
Like most moms regardless of marital status, my days begin and end with my children at the forefront of my day’s plans. That’s what parenting is all about, right?
This year, however, was a bit different. While the day was special and shared with my own mother as well as my children, well, there were no gifts to speak of. Both kids crafted something small and as a veteran mom I could tell each was done on the fly as they realized they were without a gift to go with the card someone helped them purchase.
I won’t lie; it stung a bit come day’s end. There’s a lot that goes into this mom life, most especially when you’re a one man show. Meeting a girlfriend (also a single mom) for a beer that night, we both shared our less than perfect Mother’s Day. Each acknowledging our gratitude to have time with our children and mothers but missing the gift aspect which so many others seemed to be enjoying, perhaps we’re shallow (insert laughter here) – not hardly.
Arriving home I thought back to the days of my online shopping. Staring at my laptop I contemplated jumping online and purchasing myself a little Mother’s Day treat and that’s when it hit me.
Truth be told, I’m oddly at a place in my life when faced with this gift buying decision, I came up empty. In that moment there wasn’t a single thing I could think of that I wanted. I’m usually a book, jewelry, workout clothes kind of girl for gifts – but alas nothing.
I immediately thought of the words my mom would always share and we all know so well, it’s the thought that counts. And that’s what I missed. Oh sure, a big vase of fresh cut flowers would have been amazing. A little necklace or special pair of earrings would have also been a sweet surprise.
The gift this year however came by way of the words they chose to place in the card and the last minute hand made gifts they managed to construct in a pinch.
The gift, I guess for this Mother’s Day came a bit different than every year past, for this year the gift was in the lesson not in the package.
So to the single parents navigating this journey a la carte here’s to hoping your days continue to be filled not just with lessons, but a package every now and again. The gift after all is not by way of its content, but by the thought which brought it to you in the first place.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.