While the recognition of being “important” and our ex’s modeling for the kids respect for us on Mother’s Day is a good thing, the gift of flowers falls flat.
If you want to show you value us as mothers, maybe tell us you see the invisible labor of motherhood now that you’ve had to do it on your own.
Maybe tell us you have even a slight increase in awareness about the stress of parenting: the meal-planing, the laundry, the getting the kids to brush their teeth, the managing of schedules and routines, the managing of the whining and sibling rivalry, etc. That would help us feel more respected.
If you want to show you value us as mothers, you could have shown you respected our work as a stay-at-home-parents throughout divorce and not feel cheated because you pay minimal spousal support. Maybe you can expand your definition from “sole-provider” to “co-provider” and recognize we are contributors too. Yes, providing money is important. But so is providing care. Maybe tell us you have stopped viewing our relationship in these transactional terms, and see there is way more than money involved in nurturing a family. That would help us feel more acknowledged.
If you want to show you value us as mothers, respect our boundaries. Don’t give us pushback when we ask specific parenting questions to align our houses. Don’t use our divorce punitively to go against our parenting decisions just to get back at us. Don’t tell us we overreacting or that we are still angry about the divorce because we now have different boundaries. Don’t make every exchange a power play. That would make us feel more valued.
While we can see bringing us flowers is a step toward becoming more mindful co-parents, we are not going to pretend these flowers meant anything about you respecting us as mothers just yet.
Yes, we graciously accepted them from our children’s smiling faces and put them in vases on the kitchen counter, but, no, we are not convinced of the superficial meaning behind them coming from you right now.
Please don’t get us flowers on Mother’s Day. Tell us in a different way.