A princess nonetheless – reflections of a single mother


Mothers’ Day, Sunday May 9th, 2004

I had this expectation that today had to be something special. The very same wish I had last year on my birthday, a frantic feeling of needing something desperately but being unable to reach it. I wanted to feel special. Maybe a gift that says, “Pamper yourself, you deserve it” would do it for me.

I realise that gifts mean a lot to me. Then I wonder what that says about me. Anything, or nothing? Am I materialistic, or is it merely a love language? Maybe I don’t want anyone to know in case I look bad because of it.

So, here’s Mothers’ Day and I know that if I take my kids to church this morning then I will most certainly receive a chocolate, or a flower, and a handmade something from kidzchurch. Then I would feel special, it would be Mothers’ Day. But by some divine intervention both my children are sick today and I’m at home with myself exploring why I feel so miserable. There is no breakfast in bed, no “Happy Mothers’ Day Mummy”. I don’t even get to eat breakfast in one go. My 3 year old protests long and loud about having to take medicine and my 5 month old wants to be fed again. I’m cranky.

My mum calls and I complain to her that the gift from my sons courtesy of their father was a $20 Woolworths voucher and I suggest that he should have bought me a mop and bucket instead as it would have been the same. I lament that it wasn’t a gift voucher from the body shop which would’ve said, “Hey mum, you deserve a long relaxing bath”, but instead it reminds me that my source of income for the first time in my life is a government benefit for single parents and this gift voucher is starting to look like a welfare food parcel.

My kids are miserable. I feel miserable with them. I try to process my feelings because I know there’s a way out of this but I’m still looking for the exit sign.

I try to make myself feel better by subscribing to the old ‘it won’t always be this way’ line, but I counteract that by calculating how many years it will be before my sons can independently make me breakfast in bed. I get this fleeting thought about what I’ve done to this day and I force myself to stay with it long enough to realise that if it wasn’t Mothers’ Day, and if I hadn’t loaded the day with some fairly hefty expectations, then I wouldn’t be feeling so bad. I start beating myself up by reminding myself about the ‘starving Ethiopians’, childless couples and people who are experiencing their first Mothers’ Day without one. I remember that I don’t like crumbs in my bed anyway and nor have I used the body shop voucher I got at Christmas. I feel silly now and ashamed of my pettiness.

I wonder if I’ll do this to myself again, y’know, get all het up about stuff. My sisters’ words come to me “only if you choose to”. Choice, I’ve had it with choice. The entirety of life as we know it is about choice, I’m tired of choosing. I thought I could click my fingers and become Mrs Model Christian, then Ms Model Christian, Ms Got It All Sorted, Ms Emotional Baggage Sorted and Ready for the Next Bus. But it doesn’t happen overnight. I guess my expectations have been a bit out of whack.

I choose to be on the journey though. I’ve still got a few suitcases to sort through, in fact a whole spare room of junk. I guess I can’t actually wait until I’ve reached the destination to start living, because life is what’s happening to me along the way.

So then I get a bit annoyed at myself for expecting quite a lot from myself. I’ve heard it said that sometimes people expect more from children then is appropriate for their developmental age, and I am doing this to myself in expecting that I should be a better person yesterday. I start looking at what it is that’s making me miserable today and if it’s really about breakfast in bed.

There is no monetary reward for my occupation of choice, no annual awards night, but maybe that’s not what I’m looking for. Presents are nice, but maybe they’re not what I need in the end. I want to know that I’m okay today. I want to know that I will survive my first single Mothers’ Day. That even though my little family is fractured and I’m not feeling real chirpy right now that things will not feel this bad for long. I want to know that I can acknowledge my feelings whatever they may be at the time and still be able to move through them and find reality once more.

I believe I was created for an intimate relationship with Father God and even though I will never be perfect and all responsibility for my choices lies with me, He still desires a tender intimate relationship with me because He is a perfect Father. Unconditional love is mine for the taking.

So God, I’ve been a bit out of sorts about things today, wanted things to be different from what they are right now. I’m so not content with what I have today. Not content with what I am either. I’m sorry about those things.

I start to wonder if there’ll ever be an end to my failings and I realise that the answer to that is no. The only other option available to me is to let myself off the hook long enough to accept a little grace. Maybe even accept myself with all my failings.  A Princess nonetheless.

Man is born broken. He lives by mending. The Grace of God is glue. ~ Eugene O’Neill.

Linda Alfredsson
MOPS Australia

Linda is remarried and lives with her husband, and their big and blended family, in Adelaide S.A.  You can occasionally find her blogging at The Truth Fairy.


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