Happy NOT-Mothers Day to all you mothers and NOT-Mothers

I started writing this on Mother’s Day but then decided not to post it. There are three reasons this isn’t happening on Mother’s Day.

First.

I don’t care too much for the day. What does once a year mean if the rest of the year is devoid of the same? Far better we work to create a daily practice of appreciation and gratitude for moms.

Second.

I saved this for any day other than mother’s, because I want to include all women, not just the mamas.

Whether you’re a mom or not, I’m certain at some point, someone has pressured you to have children.

What’s the matter with you, you don’t like children?
You’re selfish.
It’s the most important job in the world.

I’ve never understood why someone would say the choice NOT to have children is selfish. We have children because we want them, and there is no reason other than that to become parents. I can’t imagine bringing a child into this world or adopting simply because it’s something you should be doing.

How presumptuous of other people to call us out to say we’re not giving enough or whole on our own, and thus need children to round out our human purpose? How invasive, dismissive, how, well, how very rude for them being to dictate what I or you or any woman should be doing with our vaginas.

You strip us and all the good and important work we do of meaning, what, if we don’t have children?

I’m happy to be a mom. I love Lila and little Charlie and will protect them sometimes almost to the point of irrationality. But let’s face it. Kids take a lot of energy. I rarely have time alone and more often then not their needs supersede my own.

Do I regret it? Not for a moment. Still, I can love my kids, be overjoyed for them and ALSO want more things that serve only myself.

I am certainly not alone in this.

When I first launched Creative Revolution Retreats, the international writing retreats I run for women, I published a survey asking women for one word to reflect what they most wanted to experience at the retreats.

The top three responses?

PEACE!

FOCUS.

Photo by Mark Hunter

Photo by Mark Hunter

SPACE.

Photo by Sweetie187

Photo by Sweetie187

Peace. Focus. And space.

We want time away from our busy lives. We desire time alone to refresh the self, a peaceful space to focus on what we want, where we want to go and who we want to be.

This message echoed through each of the surveys returned to us, not just from mothers, but from every woman who responded.

I know why, too.

This world consistently tells women not to be alone. Alone is big, scary and leaves you vulnerable. We are told that our needs are secondary. Putting the self first is selfish; saying what we want, aggressive.

So I have decided to reclaim selfish. We all need to be selfish sometimes. Sometimes, you just need to grab the last donut, shove everyone else out of the way and say, MINE, ALL MINE!!

In the rush of the day to day, it’s easy to lose sight of the self.

Alone gives you space to hear the silence and go beyond it. Then you are free to do what you please.

As new year approaches, it’s natural to take an accounting of ourselves and scheme new ways to reach the dreams that perhaps got a bit lost and dusty over the course of the year.

Oh, and that third reason?

Before I forget, the last reason I’m not posting this on one of the many actual Mother’s Days around the world? Today is the first chance I’ve had to get back to this post. I’ve been trying for months, but something always came up. I figure, though, these 600 words don’t need mother’s day to give them meaning.

Now, what will you do this year that is totally, utterly, unmistakably selfish?

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