What to do on Mother’s Day

Steve with Mom


Whether you’re a mother or not, whether you love your mother or you hate her, on Mother’s Day let go of everything. No expectation of what she should have been then or what you should be now.


There is no apotheosis in motherhood.  No match for the Madonna on her throne. Your mother failed. You failed. Today your family will fail to correct it.


You want Mother’s Day to be like your wedding, all eyes focused on your glory. You want candy and flowers, or jewelry and spa gift certificates. More often it’s like Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, with its insistence on loss. You see the price of your sacrifice, grieve the parts of yourself you’ve given away.


My best Mother’s Days have passed in the memory care unit of Brookdale Center for Senior Living, watching my husband talk to my mother-in-law, who has Alzheimer’s. He knows what memories bring her out of herself. He meets her where she is and connects where he can. Love always ensues.


A therapist once told me I had to learn to be my own good mother. I think she meant this: Meet yourself where you are, accept yourself as is, and take good care.


What to do on Mother’s Day? Be your own good mother and listen. Feeling dissatisfied, unfulfilled? Give yourself permission to do what you need to do. No one can tell you who you were meant to be. The time to live your life — your real life — is now.


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