Usually, us Mums are preparing to spend Mother’s Day (or Mothering Sunday as more traditionally known in the UK) with our loved ones, hopefully being pampered and showered with appreciation, however like much of the past year this is another family event will take a different shape due to current lockdown.
Mother’s Day is, however, not always straightforward for everyone, perhaps even have negative connotations. Often for children in foster care this can be a day of mixed emotions; some may feel sad or anxious on the day as it may remind them that they are not able to live at home with their own birth mothers. Some children may be able to celebrate both birth and foster mothers, but for others this can lead to sadness and feelings of alienation and ‘other’. Kamarun Kalam from Fosterline suggests that there is also an additional emotional pressure from schools often as they can “encourage children to hand make Mother’s Day cards – this often places emotional pressure on children to partake in the occasion and for children in care could serve as a reminder that they don’t have a ‘normal’ life. Mother’s Day can be managed tactfully by foster parents by tailoring involvement to suit the needs of their foster child. It’s not a one size fits all solution but recognising how the child feels about it can help in planning ahead sensitively.” (www.fosterline.info, 2019)
All in all, it’s been a tough year for Mums, including Foster Mums! Whilst most parents and carers have had to manage through the Covid-19 lockdown with additional demands such as supporting with school work as well additional housework, cooking etc as the whole family is at home most of the time, this does seem to have fallen mainly on the Mums and there is little time for a break. Many have also been the primary support for vulnerable family members living nearby who are shielding, and this is not just helping with a bit of shopping but combating loneliness and isolation when you cannot get out and meet with friends etc.
So, as a Mother’s Day treat to ourselves, how about cutting ourselves some slack!
Mums – give yourselves a hug, permission to not be ‘perfect’ all the time,
and take time to care of your mental and physical health – everyone else will be fine for a while!
Finally, here is a ‘letter’ to all you lovely Mums that we found on-line, and that I think we can all relate to.
I HEAR YOU MAMA – A LETTER TO THE JUGGLING MOTHERS DURING THE PANDEMIC
I hear you mama, juggling all the plates and hoping you don’t drop any.
I hear you mama, wondering why you feel so damn tired every morning, like you’ve not even been to sleep.
I hear you mama, wondering at what point in history they changed maths and cursing under your breath that you’ve never used long division anyway.
I hear you mama, missing that work deadline because you prioritised the small people in your life.
I hear you mama giving the delivery driver a bit TOO much information because they made the mistake of asking how you were, and you don’t remember the last time someone did that.
I hear you mama, trying to start each day a fresh and trying to make everything fun still.
I hear you mama, battling dodgy Wi-Fi, devices that are low on battery, or just WILL NOT SWITCH ON.
I hear you mama, downloading, uploading, printing, copying, photographing, and navigating school apps.
I hear you mama, washing, drying, washing, drying, and then realising there are still the beds and towels to do – can everyone just stop wearing clothes!
I hear you mama, really not sure what day it is.
I hear you mama, repeating yourself over and over and over again.
I hear you mama, with that crack in your voice because you really can’t try any harder.
I hear you mama, hiding in the loo in the hope of two minutes peace, only to be found instantly. Every. Single. Time.
I hear you mama, trying to connect to Zoom, Teams or Google Classrooms.
I hear you mama, trying to juggle the very different needs of all your family members.
I hear you mama, making a total mess up of your work emails because you cannot hear yourself think.
I hear you mama, breaking up fights and intervening in squabbles.
I hear you mama, thrilled you got an online shop only to discover half the stuff you ordered isn’t there, so you have to go out anyway, so you sit in your car for five minutes longer than you need to because you are just enjoying the peace.
I hear you mama and the frustration in your voice, fed up of asking small people to get dressed, finish their breakfast, switch off the TV and flush the loo.
I hear you mama, shouty mummy, grumpy mummy but really trying your best mummy.
I hear you mama, confused, and frustrated by the effort required to get a child to write four words. FOUR WORDS!
I hear you mama, fed up of being critiqued for the way you write you ‘r’s’ or the way you add a loop when you write the number 2.
I hear you mama, fed up of the sound of your own voice.
I hear you mama, negotiating, offering incentives or just downright bribing.
I hear you mama, wondering how the small people managed to get through the school day normally without 5,782 snacks before 11.30am.
I hear you mama, saying hold on, or hang on a moment more than you’d like to.
I hear you mama, constantly fielding questions about when the virus will be gone and when they can see relatives again, without having any real answers.
I hear you mama, managing expectations, dealing with constantly changing emotions, not wanting to be bleak but equally not wanting to be overly optimistic on time frames and the possibility of get-togethers.
I hear you mama, exhausted, but grateful to be safe and to be in a position to keep your children safe.
I hear you mama, ready for the school holidays and one less plate to juggle.
From Mummy Fever (mummyfever.co.uk, 2021)
By Lynsey, Senior Recruitment Officer and Mum
by Lynsey Dobbs – Senior Recruitment Officer, UK Fostering