Mother’s Day Recovery
Sunday, I was in my own personal hell. I didn’t expect the day to be that bad, as I’m used to not spending mommas day with my son. These are just things you get used to when you’re a long-distance momma. I avoided looking at my social media as much as possible aside from wanting to check on some friends and to send out some love to my own mother. Naturally, the flood of hugs, snuggles, brunches, flowers, gifts, hand-made cards, and family photos easily snuck past my guarded perimeter.
They were all beautiful by the way, and I didn’t begrudge those moments for them… not for one second.
I’m Super Lucky
I have friends who have recently lost their kids in tragic situations and friends who spend more time in doctor’s offices with their children then they do their own homes. I have friends who live in other countries than their own kids and other’s who have truly damaged relationships with their kids. I am incredibly lucky to be a long-distance momma. My hurdles often pale in comparison to these stories, and I keep this in mind when I get down on missing my son.
My son is healthy, my son and I have an incredible relationship (although he is entering teen territory, so the jury is out), my son is doing well in school, he is a kind human and is he is alive and breathing, every day. I am so lucky.
It Still Fucking Hurts
While most days I can get past the self-scrutiny of being a non-traditional momma, some days, it just fucking hurts. Holidays are not usually that hard to get through because I know I’m just going to make the celebration happen when my copilot and I are together. So when Sunday (Mother’s Day) rolled around, I wasn’t prepared to feel the way I did. I’ll be completely honest, I spent most of the day crying and sleeping on rinse and repeat. The whole ridiculous (not that ridiculous) episode was less about the lack of being with my son and more about the lack of acknowledgment that I’m a momma too and my story matters.
I am a different kind of momma. I’m even a different sort of long-distance parent (LDP) than others because I get to see my son more often than many parents in the same situation as me. The mother’s day market doesn’t really acknowledge all the ways moms have to mom in modern times. In a world that can’t stop screaming about women’s rights, it’s amazing to me how deaf and blind the mother’s day marketers are.
I’m Not Special – We’re All Special
I’m walking dangerously into “treat me special” territory, which frankly… I’m not a fan of. We are each responsible for ourselves and our life circumstances, and I’m not stupid to know that some people reading this right now are thinking… “well, what did you do to lose your kid?” Or… “You could move closer, you’re making the conscious choice not to.” I take full stock in that my life is a reflection of what I’ve managed to manifest. It doesn’t matter how hard I fought, how many lawyers I hired, or what I did (I did nothing by the way for those of you doubting in the back) to be in this situation… I own it.
I’m not asking the world, or marketers for that matter, to acknowledge how different I am… I’m just asking these entities not to applaud, reward and frankly treat us like idiots because we stepped into their stereotypes and predictable momma roles.
Let me tell you something momma, you are as unique as they fucking get… your kids, yes, are part of what has made you that way. You do not have a momma story like anyone else, and mercy love, no one could handle your kids like you do, amiright? I mean, no one loves those crazy little shit-snacks like you do!
Treated and Treatment
If you want to make a real stand in the name of momming up in this place, it might be time to start recognizing how you’re rewarded for staying in your momming lane. Follow that up with… do I want to be in that lane? How is the world treating your mother story… like everyone else’s? And, are you treating other mommas with that story… and, ummm… is that really who you are? Chances are you’re far more faceted and a shit load more eclectic, but yet… staying in that lane.
Ladies, I love you… Lawd knows I do since I’ve built companies around lifting you up. But ladies, you’re awful to one another. Like, not face to face awful… but back-handed, under your breath, rolling your eyes, stalk their Instagram, so you have something to talk about… awful. I know you’ve got friends you’d never do that with… but how many times have you caught yourself saying something ‘unflattering’ about your besties when they aren’t around or to your lover?
My Take on Friendships and Moms
My friends are of the professional type. No, not that they do professional work (well they do that too), but my friends and I have professional friendships which might sound really boring and fakish. I adopted this friendship way because I have learned that women are a shifty sort of bread. Awesome, but shifty. Frankly, that’s fine, but it doesn’t mean I have to participate. I have VERY few friends. We’re talking… two or three that I might do something with every few months or so. After years of having to “perform” in order to hold on to friendships, I find keeping professional friendships gives me more freedom to live “my” life.
These friends are very accepting of that because they are very much the same. No expectations, no guilt trips, no excuse in compromises, no victimization… just “Girl, do your life and catch me on the flip-side, friends.
I have had to resort to these types of friends, a few of which are mommas too, and we all drive in very different lanes when it comes to momming. We see that in each other, we are inspired, and we sure as fuck aren’t competing with one another over it all. We can’t always be there for each other when needed, but in some ways, it makes us stronger mommas. It means we have to step up for ourselves more times than not, eliminating that feeling dependency and a cycle of validation. We are just a different sort of breed… which isn’t to suggest that other breeds are less than. We have just found, in our momma stories, we are less judged by keeping it professional.
Acknowledge Your Momma Story
Now, before you start getting all flashy and walking into the PTA like you’re gonna tell someone something… hold up there sister. That isn’t acknowledging your momma story, that is just showboating. We often confuse confidence with grand-standing. You’re shooting for that middle ground, maybe something more like bravado. This is the kind of confidence that knows when to speak up and when to shut the fuck up.
Acknowledge your momma story by… and wait, before I even finish that thought, this isn’t just for mommas, this is for women in general. You do not have to be a momma to use this advice, you just have to want to be your own woman.
Okay, where was I, right… acknowledge your momma story by detaching your identity from your kids. Do it now, or it’s gonna really hurt later when they’re gone. Get cozy with the idea that you’re momma story (((are you ready for this))) has nothing to do with being a mom.
Mind-blown right? Because… what are you even saying Jenee’?
Your momma story is a “role,” not an identity and if you’re going to lean into your big beautiful life, you’d better start showing the world a little more of “you” and a little less of who you are to your children and everyone else. We love our little bundles of joy and would die, like literally die for them. But until that moment comes (I pray none of us are ever in that predicament btw) how about you just choose you instead?
Being a momma to those kids and the baby momma to your lover is a given. But damn it, let’s stop allowing the world to tell us that our worth is wrapped up in these little people. If not for you, please do it for them. Teaching our kids how to fall in line with societal expectations isn’t teaching them how to live a free life… it’s teaching them how to live within a well-concealed prison.
Your best momma lesson to those radical little humans is how well you live your radical little life.
Being a long-distance momma has taught me to define my own mothering. A definition I had no examples to follow, no mentors to consult with, no traditions to adhere to, just me and my own story that I never thought (in a million years) I’d be faced with. My heartbreaking momma story has been the best ride of my life because it has forced me to define my own path as a mother. I have been forced to build an identity outside of being a mom (not in spite of my situation, just apart from it) which has shown me I’m more than who I am to someone else. I hope you know you are too.
Good Talk Momma.