Growing up, Mother's Day was a big deal for Crystal King's family.
"We would go out to have brunch at a very nice restaurant. Then we would present her with gifts when we got home from that, and take pictures. And my dad would always get flowers for her," she tells Yahoo Life.
That family tradition let King to expect that, one day, she herself would be fêted in a similar fashion. Today, however, she says she's just grateful to be a mother at all, having struggled with fertility issues ahead of welcoming a 4-year-old daughter and year-old son via intrauterine insemination (IUI) as a single mother by choice.
"My whole perspective of Mother's Day, once I became a mom, changed, because I'm like, 'No one would ever be acknowledging me had it not been for my children,'" the Orlando-based Amazing Baby app founder says. "So that in itself — being able to have children by myself — is a miracle. ... To be able to become a mother, that's fulfilling in itself. I don't need anything else. I get my validation throughout the year; it doesn't have to be specifically on this day. And when my kids get older, I hope that they'll acknowledge me in the way that they feel is best."
Though her children are young and there's no co-parent to, say, book a brunch reservation, lavish her with gifts or even supervise the making of macaroni art, King still has loved ones and teachers looking out for her. She gets emotional thinking about the flower arrangement her sister sent for her first Mother's Day, when her daughter was just 5 months old.
"I was so touched because I didn't expect anyone to do anything for me," she says. "I wasn't expecting even, like, a handprint of a heart or whatever it is that you do for Mother's Day."
Like King, Minneapolis native Michelle Mann is a single mom by choice who used fertility treatments to conceive her 6-month-old son, Westin. This Sunday will mark her first Mother's Day as a mother, a milestone she'll spend in the company of her mom and sister. Her only goal for the day is "just to celebrate being a new mom," she says.
"I don’t necessarily have set expectations for this Mother’s Day other than intentionally recognizing the journey to this moment," Mann tells Yahoo Life. "I always wanted to be a mom so to be able to celebrate with my beautiful son is a very special for me."
While she echoes King's comment that "Mother’s Day is a miracle day to me," Mann also acknowledges that, as a solo parent, having alone time or treating yourself — whether it's to a massage or just a child-free trip to Target — are definite "luxuries." That's a challenge that Lisa Woodward, herself a single mom of three daughters, is hoping to ease. Woodward is the founder of the nonprofit organization Motherful, which offers support to single mothers in Columbus, Ohio; this Mother's Day, that support will include a spa day and limo service for those who don't drive.
"Self-care is really important for single moms because they never get a chance to do things for themselves," Woodward tells Yahoo Life.
She herself has a unique perspective on Mother's Day and how it's celebrated, having been a teen mom with her first daughter, then married to her second daughter's father, then divorced and having a third child with a new partner to whom she was not wed and has since separated from. During her marriage, Mother's Day was more of a "fancy affair," she says — one that might entail nice meals out, shopping trips and no planning required on her part. Now that she's single, she tries to put that same energy into spoiling her own mother, who raised Woodward on her own after her father died when she was just 7. She's also enjoying whatever gestures her three daughters plan for her, whether it's a craft made at school or cereal served to her in bed.
"I've never felt alone, per se, on Mother's Day, because my kids always create something for me," she says.
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