On Mother’s Day. As a not mom.
The question typically comes just a few minutes into small talk with a stranger. And it stops the convo cold.
Them: “Do you have kids?”
*crickets* *whippoorwill* *incredibly awkward silence*
I try to bail them out with, “I have dogs instead, they’re much easier.”
But the damage has been done. The camaraderie train has been derailed. We’ve wandered into tricky territory; tough to navigate with someone I barely know.
Pro tip: “Do you have kids?” is not a great question. For such a variety and plethora of reasons.
Every mid-May, the Day of Mothers rolls around again. And I’m fully on board with that. I love my mom. I loved her mom. I love my big-sister-mom (2nd mom-ing me since 1977).
And this year, I’ve spent time thinking of the long list of moms and non-moms who have “raised” me for 40 years. My aunts Sue and Sherry. Malinda, my high school small group leader. Kathy, my tennis coach & live-in mom when my parents traveled. My mother-in-law, Carol. My sister-in-law, Barbara Jean. My childhood besties’ moms: Nancy, Jane, Susan, Micky. My mom’s BFFs: Carol, Peggy, Sandy, Dara.
My heart overflows with women who called me out, pulled me up, and held my hand crossing scary roads. They did mom things without necessarily bearing the official title. Mother Teresa style.
And I always keep close in my heart the dozens of Milagrans I encounter weekly who wrestle in some fashion with “Mom”. The ones trying hard to become one, suffering heartbreak I can barely imagine. The ones who choose not mom-ness and feel constantly judged and second guessed. The ones who have lost someone who called them “mom”. The ones who find themselves single moms, either by difficult choice or by abso-freaking-lutely no choice of their own. The ones who have switched roles and are now caring for mom. The ones who never had a mom, or had a mom too briefly, or had a mom they still struggle to forgive.
Mother’s Day can be so happy and so hard. Even at the same time.
We’re here for this with you. In whatever state of mom-ing or not mom-ing you find yourself. Milagro can be your place. Moms deserve Milagro. Not moms deserve Milagro. Mothering is a tough job. But it doesn’t require an official title.
My gorgeous mama.