Having been a single mom for most of my life, it is not hard to say that Mother’s Day is nothing short of a cultural mindfuck. Something I have to pretend isn’t that important for several weeks out of the year. It is far more devastating than any other holiday. It reminds us of the torture, false sense of justice and the corruption of the system that was supposed to protect us and our children. For those of us forced to share custody or have outright lost our kids, it shines the spotlight on the trap of being a mommy without her babies.
To me, Mother’s Day in America is nothing short of a tragic reminder of how screwed up our country is about its priorities.
Although some years have been sweet, most have been so bitterly painful, leaving me a shell with no words or meaning, consumed by the anguish of losing my children. My twins, when they were two, were ripped from me in a fit of revenge from my ex. They are fully grown now. None of us have forgotten. But we continue to live our lives as if everything is okay now. Then my young son, too, when he was five, still tender when I caved to the constant barrage of harassments, court orders and modifications. Now 20 years old, I have not seen (except for Facebook) my second son since he was 12. To this day I do not know what that has done to him.
There is not one thing anyone could buy me to make me feel better. Not one trinket, memento, experience or gesture. That is the unfortunate reality of the childless mother or the mother who is being forced to share custody of young children.
The melancholy of being a single mother is particularly strong this year. Especially after reading and researching about my own “high conflict” divorce and separations (two) and what the outcome is for most mothers who are trying to get away from malicious partners. In my case, three over the course of 25 years. I have a long paper trail. I think Arizona thinks I’m being “difficult.”
No one wants to hear about your divorce. They especially don’t want to hear about domestic violence or any kind of topic close to it. I don’t blame them. After a while, it is absolutely exhausting and the best thing one can do is try to remain focused on positive things, stay calm and do as many health promoting activities as possible.
Single moms border somewhere between slave and Super Woman. When you make us fight about our kids, we want to stab you.
Joss Weden said he made up strong, Super Girl characters because “[e]quality doesn’t exist.” He was right. Sometimes I fantasize about me and my kids as crew members on the Serenity and we’re headed for distant star systems full of watery, beachy planets full of coconut and crabs.
To that end, as part of my quest to become Super Mommy and now Super Grand Mommy (one of my twins had twins!) and overcome all of my woes with Family Court, the state of Arizona and fat, wealthy, stingy, family demolishing Fortune 500 Companies, I have whittled down a list of what I think would be helpful if you know a single mommy, childless or no, and want to help make her smile. No guarantees though.
1. Take her and her kid(s) to an easy event or things she can do with her kids and not be bossy. Take them shopping, to the museum and for good food.
2. Buy her groceries or gift cards from Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, juice bars and restaurant delivery service.
3. Computers, handhelds and wireless services are invaluable to all moms and kids.
4. TaskRabbit and PostMates let you find someone local to help organize, clean, do laundry and plan a business. Helping or encouraging a single mom to plan and start a business would be a gift that would give every year after that.
5. Gift cards for things to do with her kids: Children’s museum, movies and venues that interest them, theme parks, boat and beach trips.
6. Book her an overnight stay somewhere with one or all of her kids at a place with lots of amenities and things to do without a car. If Barbados is on sale, why not?
7. Gift cards for kitchen places, underthings, books, and electronics: Williams Sonoma, Crate and Barrell, Sur La Table, Barnes n Noble, Victoria Secret, Apple, iTunes.
8. Spa treatments, Yoga and Pilates sessions.
9. Don’t ever try to buy a mom clothes or shoes. Gift cards!