I’m a motherless mother, a parentless parent, actually, and I’m writing this post with tears in my eyes. My mother never saw me graduate from college. She never met my husband. She was not at my wedding, and has never met my children.
Mother’s Day is a day to honor moms for the immeasurable joy they bring to our lives, the lessons they teach and the sacrifices they make for us. For many, this day is filled with love, laughter, and happiness.
For me, it brings a bittersweet sadness that is difficult to escape.
A lot of people ask me why I’m so passionate about wellness. They are curious about why I became a wellness teacher, a fitness trainer, and why I write about whole living.
The answer is complex, yet simple at the same time: In short, I watched my mother die.
Growing up, I watched my mother’s health slowly deteriorate until she passed away shortly after I turned 20. Her poor health was due partially to illnesses and situations beyond her control. Many factors, though, came from her neglecting to take care of herself.
Early in my adult life, I was in the same cycle of self-neglect and poor self care as my mother. I ate lots of processed food, didn’t exercise, was always on the go, didn’t get enough sleep, and experienced a ton of unnecessary stress.
Then I became a MOM.
When I had my first daughter, I realized I could NEVER leave my sweet baby motherless because of careless choices. I decided that I would always do everything in my power to model the wellness lifestyle for her. I want her to know that living a whole life, one that is focused on being spiritually, physically and emotionally whole is really the best gift that she can give herself and the world.
Are there situations and factors beyond my control that could happen? Sure, but my health and wellness is one thing that I DO have some power over. I can choose to feed my body whole foods, to exercise regularly, and to make self-care a priority so that I am at my best to serve others.
Mother’s Day for me is often focused on reflection rather than celebration. This year, I find myself realizing that the reason I’m so passionate about health and wellness is because it is the way I honor my mom’s memory. In honoring her memory, I want her to know a few things:
- I want her to know that I’ve learned from both her successes and her mistakes.
- I want her to know that her grandchildren have a mother who is breaking the cycle of illness and self-neglect.
- I want her to know that her life was meaningful and that I love and miss her dearly.
Wellness is really the Mother’s Day gifts that keep on giving. Taking care of yourself and giving yourself that gift is a way to honor yourself as a mom. Passing that on to your children is a powerful legacy that can be passed on to your children.
What’s your favorite Mother’s Day gift?
P.S. If you know a motherless mom, show her a little extra care and attention on Mother’s Day. Don’t tell her to snap out of her funk and to just celebrate being a mom. Instead, help her honor her own mother in some small way. Talk to her about her mom, and really listen to her pain instead of trying to fix it.