With Mother’s Day around the proverbial corner, we’re bringing you Other’s Day – a day for people who, for whatever reason, feel left out by traditional celebrations. It could be that your Mum’s not around. Maybe she is, but the relationship is tricky. Maybe you’re a Mum yourself who’s lost a child. Maybe you’re far away from the kids. Maybe you can’t have kids. Maybe you just find the whole thing too. Damn. Much. Well, #othersday is for you.
Both of us have gone through maternal loss in our lives. Emma lost her Mum to breast cancer seven years ago, and Robyn not only lost her Nan – who was like a Mum to her – she’s estranged from her birth Mum, who was physically and mentally abusive. Every year when Mother’s Day rolls around we’ve been bombarded with marketing messages, gift lists and images of what a perfect celebration of Motherhood looks like, and it can really hold a magnifying glass over that grief pain. Other’s Day is the antidote to all that, giving a voice and support to people who – for whatever reason – feel outside of that perfect picture.
We checked in with @mumologist Emma Svanberg, Clinical Psychologist to parents and parents to be, to get her thoughts on the matter:
Mother’s Day becomes a bigger and bigger event every year (thanks to brilliant marketing that gives us more reasons to part with hard earned cash!) For a few weeks we are surrounded by photos of smiling families, who usually consist of two kids, two parents who are all white, able bodied and can afford a lovely breakfast in bed.
If you don’t fall into that box (which many of us don’t), this can raise difficult feelings. What if you don’t have contact with your own mother, or are grieving her loss? What if you are longing to become a mother yourself, or are grieving for a child? And even just having a family make up which looks different to the images we’re bombarded with can Make us question.
The difficulty is that these images and even the idea of mother’s day present us with a story that there is an ideal. An ideal family, an ideal way of being. It raises our expectations (how many mums do you know who are deeply disappointed by the reality of their Mother’s Day, where the breakfast in bed is replaced by a sleepy foot in the face at 5:30am).
Why do we need just one day to celebrate mums? Why not value parents all year Round! How about we celebrate family in all its form? And maybe family to you is not your actual family but your friends, or your dogs. Then we stop feeling so ‘other’ and realise our experience is shared by many other people.
If you’d like to look for other representations of motherhood and family life take a look at
This Sunday 31st March, get involved with the hashtag on Instagram:
- Share your story: why does Mother’s Day leave you feeling other?
- Share a picture of your other relationships – the people who give you strength
- Share your support for friends and family
And watch out for the rest of our Other’s Day blog series, coming to a screen near you this weekend.