Monday 23rd May 2022

Reflections On Mother’s Day 2021. 56.1/2021.

Reflections On Mother’s Day 2021. 56.1/2021.


Content Warning: Should any post about Mother’s Day be a concern for you, please don’t read…I am sorry for your situation whatever it is.


After a long period of reflection (years) I chose to write about Mother’s Day to be published on Mother’s Day, 2021.

My mother told me Mother’s Day flowers were chrysanthemums and were always white. She recalls her mother being given a white flower at church on Mother’s Day. I remember these things. But cannot find any pics of chrysanthemums.

Here it IS Mother’s Day 2021.

I cannot help but do a trip down memory lane to try to understand my mother and my mothering…OK. Not all of it, because much cannot be put into words.


  • I grew up in a 1950s-60s  household where Mother’s Day was remembered….by my father whose domineering and controlling manner meant I have had his words about this occasion rattling around my head since I could remember. Maybe 6 till my recent old(er) age.
  • It was a day where of course we gave Mum a card, probably some flowers and may be a gift. But I never thought of the occasion without ‘obligation’. This is who I am. Long memory.
  • Mum was a kind, sharing and shy woman whose care of her husband and us two kids was exemplary. She loved that she could care for us that way. In fact, it carried on to the ways in which our kids and my brother’s would remember “Noreen” for, and her three great-grandchildren who knew her before her death in 2007.
  • Dad….where will I start? Here at the point of the conversation I had with him only 3 weeks ago when I spoke of the courage his mother had coming to Australia to marry her fiance. His comments? “She was alway cranky and complaining and wanted to know, when we arrived to visit, when we were returning” OK. I understand but as I said, Gran having been widowed with 4 kids probably had a lot of grief.
  • So why did I begin to resent the forced nature of Mother’s Day? Probably for that reason. It did not come from my heart and then, as I had kids (strange but true) I believe I began to feel the old family history repeating itself.
  • Sigh.
  • I became entangled in the “event” that should be happening as I am a mother. Oh how embarrassed I am now about that. I did not demand anything (not my Dad) but I felt sad and disappointed if I was forgotten on Mother’s Day.
  • Cringe.

What Has Changed?

  • My mature thinking, a big dose of cancer and an obligation-free mindset
  • I honour MY adult kids as they make me so proud to be their Mum.
  • I actually asked my kids, a few years back,  to allow for my imperfections (there are many) as their Mum as I was, at the time, doing the best I knew.
  • I expect nothing back. At long last. Not anything. Thanks Dad…by the way, I have told him this but his memory is…dim.
  • I know that I am loved but I do not need to see evidence or whatever based on the ‘have to’ mindset we see far too often.

Two Posts: 1971 and 1979.

These two posts are about my mothering years, in particular giving birth to our daughter, and then after a long gap where we thought that we could not have any more children, we had our son.

My Mother’s Day 2021.

  • It’s a Sunday.
  • We will be cleaning the house on our fortnightly roster.
  • I will go out for my Sunday coffee.
  • I will reflect on my gratitude for a change of mind and heart and send my love to our kids and their kids…and Dad.
  • Forgiveness is powerful as is My Loving Kindness practice.

Take care of yourselves and each other.




  1. Wishing you well as you process these thoughts and memories Denyse.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thanks so much for your words and wisdom. You nailed it..I am processing it and blogging helps.


  2. I resent the whole thing – it’s like christmas. All this obligation and expectation just ruins it. I would rather just have a family dinner with just my family and enjoy that. Or seem my mum and enjoy that but the who goes where (cos there’s my mum and my MIL to accomodate) – it’s just a stress.
    Once the kids move out tho, I guess it will be nice to have a set date to meet up (as they get busier and busier with their lives)

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      I like that you get it. I did miss seeing the kids (adults) yesterday but never ever wanted them to feel obligated and so in writing to them I ‘let them know’ where I was coming from.

      So much family rubbish we can collect whether we realise it or not and it’s taken me this long to
      Let It Go.

      I definitely think it needs to be talked about in a family because it’s you…the pivotal person…who cops it emotionally and physically.

      Thanks Lydia,

  3. It’s nice to be remembered on Mother’s Day and any other day by our kids. Hopefully not just as an obligation. I don’t like feeling the ‘have to’ either. Hope you had a lovely day.

  4. How sad that you had to feel like that about Mother’s day, but I totally understand.
    Mother’s day felt like an obligation to me earlier in my life, when I was always exhausted from work and all “have-tos” outside work just added stress. Now, especially after we moved to Ireland, I see mother’s day as a way to honour my mother and everything she is and means to me – all these things are so much stronger when you’re far apart and even more now that I can’t go over to see her because of the pandemic. It’s ok to be far away when you know they are only a flight away – but a lot different now.