How come Mother’s Day wasn’t what I expected

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How come Mother’s Day wasn’t what I expected

I have three beautiful young adult children who I am endlessly proud of. Though they are adults I will be always be their mother, even once I have left this planet. I will never stop worrying about them and still watch them just like I did when they were little.  I still have to take deep breaths, take a step back, and not judge or comment on some of the decisions or choices that they make. I continue to feel intense and incredible pain when they are hurting but I support them to feel their hurt, even though all I want to do is take their pain away.

For some of us, our mother may no longer be in our life, we may have had (or continue to have) a difficult relationships with our mums, and we may also have problems with our own children.

Mother’s Day can trigger all kinds of feelings and thoughts. There are confusing messages about what it is to be a mother. We all can relate to the idealised portrayal of the ‘perfect mum’, as well as some criticisms about a mother’s role, and the failings and imperfections of such.

I write this blog for all the mothers out there who feel guilty on Mother’s Day because all they may want is to have some peace and quiet, and actually have some time without their children and worry if they are a horrible mother for thinking this! Mother guilt can get in the way of being in those small and lovely moments.

Big Expectations

The retail, beauty, and relaxation industry; all jump on the Mother’s Day ‘wagon’, the expectations for the perfect Mother’s Day, gift, meal, entertainment, are so great. I have some lovely memories of the little things that made it worthwhile being a mother to little people, and they are not all on Mother’s Day.

I do remember my children’s father suggesting that one Mother’s Day; I fly to another City to be with a good friend of mine. I also remember that Mother’s Day in particular because it was spent without my children. I had intense guilt about leaving the children and not spending the day with them, but their father was able to show them and teach them, that this was something that I needed, and that it was about taking care of myself.

I had many lessons shown to me about taking care of myself and my children.  My children learnt that one of the best gifts they could give to their mother, was the space and time to replenish; which prevented carrying any unconscious resentment when with them, and having my ‘cup full’ again.”


Some school teachers get the children to give their mothers ‘Chore’ vouchers.  This is a lovely idea but I would also add a voucher for “Two, three or four hour’s peace without the children”. This may seem totally alien to some mothers. I can only say that with practice it can get easier to do!

I remember a different visit to the same friend I stayed with in the City. The big shopping centres were a novelty to me, and I enjoyed going shopping. My friend taught me such an important and powerful lesson. She said to me “we are going shopping, but we are not going anywhere near any children’s departments, or toy shops. We are going shopping for you. The children will be happy with some smarties.” I felt extremely uncomfortable not looking for any child-related items, but it did wear off eventually, and I did feel totally replenished for prioritising me.

Taking care of your children’s mother

  • Be realistic about expectations of the day – it is one day of the year and 364 other days as a mother.
  • Give yourself permission to create a different view of being a mum – it’s not all about the ‘Hallmark card’ version, and can be a job that is thankless, hard work, and unrewarding a lot of the time.
  • Tell yourself that you are not alone in this.
  • Notice and acknowledge the feelings of guilt and do stuff anyway.
  • Live by your values of what it means to be a mother every day.
  • Practice mindfulness when you are with your children e.g. if your child asks to make a cake, your mind may go to the future of “what about the mess they are going to make?” or “it’s easier to do it myself”, keep coming back to the present moment experience.
  • Let your kitchen off the hook, and have takeaway dinner.
  • Stay home for a few hours without your children. If you don’t have the luxury of someone to care for your children, go to a park or outdoors where there is some space.
  • Have a bubble bath with the door locked!
  • Make time for relationships outside your family that are rewarding and fulfilling.
  • Book a massage, pedicure or hair appointment.
  • Go to the movies by yourself.
  • Listen to music with headphones.
  • Go shopping without going near a children’s department!

I am a counsellor and work with women on a variety of issues, if you have challenges in any area of your life please feel free to contact me: You can book an appointment online at or call me on 0403 848 398

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Guest Author – Clare Sillence


2018-01-30T14:23:23+10:00By |Adults, Motherhood|Comments Off on How come Mother’s Day wasn’t what I expected

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Debbi Carberry Clinical Social Worker (AMHSW MAASW Acc)

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