When you are a NotMom, but not by choice, the subject of not having children can be an extremely tender one. Unfortunately, the big world rarely recognizes that.
For 364 days a year, being a NotMom is a life status that is just an experience of the journey. But one day of every year I am condemned by a well-intentioned cultural community to death by a thousand pinpricks. Mother’s Day.
While I have reached the point where I no longer IMMEDIATELY flip the switch on the TV or radio at the sound of “show your mother you love her” commercials, I find there are innumerable other ways for even the most well-intentioned to turn that soft spot in the recesses of my heart into a nasty internal gaping wound.
For example, every man in my home church in Washington feels the need to wish every woman a Happy Mother’s Day!, without the slightest hint that it might not be a happy day for us all. Pinpricks.
People who know me wish me a Happy Mother’s Day! in automatic greeting, and then try take it back and cover the words with other words. Pinpricks.
And then there are the friends that wanna let you know that even though you are not a mother, you matter anyway. Really? Thank you. Pinpricks multiplied.
Today’s Guest Post is by: Faye Davenport, a video producer-director and manager with an extensive career in network and local news. Newly transplanted from Washington, D.C. to her hometown outside Philadelphia, she currently shares her skills with local political candidates to develop winning media strategies. She is a charter member of TheNotMom.com advisory board.
I chose to spend Mother’s Day in solitary solitude. I get everything together ahead of time…stuff to read and/or watch, a bottle of my favorite wine, a bag of Cheetos (yup, Cheetos!) and whatever foods I’ll want to graze on during the day. I am not going out.
THIS year, however, a cousin with whom I am developing a great adult relationship was in town and invited me to dinner with her parents. She made me feel included by asking me to bring dessert. (For me, I feel less of a guest when asked to contribute. Plus I love to bake.) I felt positive enough to do away with my day of hiding and went to celebrate Mother’s Day for my aunt, who is in her 90’s.
Besides the four of us, dinner included a neighbor, his mother, and his good friend who happens to be his former spouse.
It was a great time…good food, good wine, good company. AND THEN….
After dinner, my cousin asked her father to bring a basket that was behind him, and in that basket were Mother’s Day cards, which she asked her dad to distribute. I began to feel the dread.
First there were cards for my aunt from her daughter, her granddaughter, and her great granddaughter. My uncle’s hands then went back to the basket to bring out cards and gifts for the cousin from her daughter and granddaughter.
For one brief moment, I believe I have survived. The moment was brief.
Hands back to the basket…where there was a card for the neighbor’s mother.
Hands back to the basket…where there was a card for the ex-wife.
Hands back to the basket one last time…empty, but for a thousand tiny pinpricks, all for me.
For the moms who don’t approve of the community of those of us who are NotMoms, accept that the support those of us who are NotMoms need, we can’t get from you. Don’t try to turn that into some personal attack from your motherhood perch. Accept that some things you are just not going to get. Accept that you are just not going to get it, and appreciate that we are finding places to exhale online, in safety and peace and sisterhood.
So, to the ladies of TheNotMom.com, I’m happy to be here with you.