Family life

Mother's Day and the single parent

Tara-Michelle Ziniuk knew she wanted to single parent, but that doesn’t mean she’s given up on Mother's Day brunch.

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Tara-Michelle shares brunch with her daughter Anna.

When I set out to become a single parent by choice I knew I would be giving up some of the advantages coupled parents have. I thought about Father’s Day, insofar as the fact that my child would be exposed to it at daycare and such, but not have a father to celebrate it with. But I didn’t think much about Mother’s Day.

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I know that this year, on Friday morning, I’ll go to my daughter’s daycare for a tea party of sorts. I expect she’ll make me a card there. (As an aside: last year, her old daycare did a “why I love my mom” activity, to which Anna contributed “I love my mom because she gives me cereal.”)

But what about the Sunday? Here’s the thing: I want brunch. I want fancier eggs than I’d make myself on a regular day. And I don’t want to make them myself. It’s not like I went into parenting thinking this was a given but, now that I’m a few years in, it’s something I want.

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I know that Mother’s Day can be a letdown. I have a difficult relationship with my own mother and I know the day is not all French toast and roses. I know that it shouldn’t be about the gifts. But I really, admittedly—maybe selfishly—I want brunch.

My friends have been great about marking my journey into parenthood. I asked childless friends to throw me a baby shower, and it was the best. Later that year I had a really nice 30th birthday dinner with my six-month-old and a group of people I felt close to. But my friends have their own families: the ones with kids and partners mark Mother’s Day together; the ones without their own kids spend Mother’s Day with their own mothers. I suppose some ignore the date entirely. It’s not something most people in my life think of, and I wouldn’t expect them to.

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My daughter is three-and-a-half now, so she’s not exactly going to initiate Mother’s Day celebrations on her own. And really, I remember the year I melted a plastic kettle on the stovetop trying to make my mom breakfast in bed, so I don’t necessarily have high expectations for later years.

I’m really good with self-care, and even treating myself at times—like Valentine’s Day, for example. Sometimes that means buying myself something I really want that’s frivolous, but inexpensive. Sometimes it means making a nicer meal than an occasion calls for. Sometimes it’s getting an $8 manicure (yes, I have an $8 manicure place—and the best part is that I can’t multi-task for that entire hour!) But there’s something about Mother’s Day, specifically, that I don’t want to “treat myself” to—I treated myself to motherhood… now would someone else make the breakfast sausages?

The things I am currently considering doing for Mother’s Day: going to the Toronto Comic Arts Festival with my daughter (which is a big, free comic book festival with lots of authors, illustrators and kids programming), spending the day on my friend’s farm, making brunch for my friend who often misses out on these things because her husband is a chef (awkward for her, convenient for me—especially as I love to cook and host), going to meet my friends’ new baby—who has two moms, neither of whom have been moms on a Mother’s Day before.

How do you hope to spend your Mother’s Day?