The past 12 months has seen unparalleled change for us all, but possibly the most effected have been mums with school aged children. Roles have changed and the magnitude of hats in your closet just got bigger and now include Teacher, Entertainments Manager, Sports Coach, Councillor and Advocate. You have lost your normal support team of friends, clubs, school and family but you have shown up everyday and stepped up to the challenge to achieve beyond what you would have ever thought possible back in March ’20. You are a force of nature, a loving and caring Mother who continues to put the family first. Make this Mother’s Day the line in the sand, the time you notice, savour and value the things you do.

As a white middle-aged man, I cannot possibly understand what the lived experience is of a Mother. But I can see that the role of a Mother is a high stakes game, where the rewards are as high as the challenges are demanding. It is a role that never stops, regardless of the age of your children that you are ‘pre-programmed’ to protect. This need to protect your children is what drives you to want to make things better. Whether that is a 2am feed, soothing a child who is woken by a nightmare or wanting your teenager to talk so you can understand the cause of their upset and fix it. Mum’s often find themselves in the middle, mediator, councillor and negotiator acting as the conduit between siblings, Dad, partners and school.

Ask any one person about their Mum and you will get a multitude of accolades. Whether it is in reference to their love, support or encouragement, the fact they make the best roast dinners, that their cakes are beyond compare or that they are always there for you, Mums are selfless, nurturing and compassionate. That said, the social brand of motherhood is engrained in our collective psyche, the expectations are enormous and with the proliferation of social media the comparisons are all too distracting, often unrealistic and at times debilitating.

Mother’s Day provides a commercially acceptable moment on the calendar to be appreciated by others, however today I ask you to take a moment, look inwards and value the positive contribution you make every day. I acknowledge that it is good to feel joy, appreciated and loved but if this is being withheld for no fault of your own you will ‘try harder’ to get that ‘fix’ and if not met can lead to growing feeling of isolation, worthlessness and or failure. When we rely on others to make us feel good, we allow them to dictate our worth. Self-validation is about taking responsibility for making yourself feel better and not relying on others. In a world where it is too easy to focus on the negatives, self-validation reminds you of who you are and your best attributes. This can be difficult, it involves acknowledging and accepting our vulnerabilities and resetting the way we think about ourselves, but here are some ways to help you start:

  • Do not compare yourself to a stranger on Instagram or compare what you see on the outside of someone else to what is going on inside of you.
  •  Ask yourself the question what can I do right now?
  • Surround yourself with positive people
  • Note down things you have done well, the choices you are proud of and celebrate your accomplishments
  • Imagine you are talking to your younger self, deflate criticism and promote self-compassion
  • Practice self-care and if this is a struggle try reading the blog ‘Manageable Moments of Self-care for Busy Mums’ by my colleagues.
  • Avoid self-pity
  • Come up with positive affirmations that reinforce self-validation. For example:
    o My feelings and emotions are completely valid.
    o I’m proud of myself for trying.
    o My worth isn’t based on other people’s approval.
    o It’s ok to feel upset today as the sadness will pass.
    o I’m proud of my victories and successes.
    o I don’t depend on others to make me feel happy.
    o I have learned and grown from my experiences
    So, this Mother’s Day be part of your own support system, spend some time reflecting on the past year, with kindness, self-compassion and acceptance.

So, this Mother’s Day be part of your own support system, spend some time reflecting on the past year, with kindness, self-compassion and acceptance.

For those who are not a Mother you will be somebody’s child, and without wishing to negate that all families will experience arguments, disappointments and at times estrangement, Mum’s set out to do their best. This individuality is what makes your Mum your Mum. So please empathise with your Mum, as it is not always about you so, make sure that you sprinkle more Mother’s Days throughout 2021 noticing, savouring and valuing the wonder that is your Mum.’

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