Redefining May by Redefining Momhood…

by Brandi Lytle
Photo of an adorable puppy with a pink bow on "Redefining May by Redefining Momhood" on Not So Mommy..., a childless blog
Trigger Warning:  A frank and open discussion about Mother’s Day, kids’ special birthdays, and being a non-traditional mom…

Redefining May by Redefining Momhood . . .  What does that mean exactly?

Well, those of you who follow along regularly here at Not So Mommy… know that one way I have accepted my childless life is by over-zealously embracing my Dog Mom role.

Two-legged or Four-legged…

In March 2013, our Valentine passed away.  In July 2013, I was tired of being completely kidless and told my hubby we were either adopting a two-legged kid or a puppy.  He was on Craig’s List and found Maddie that evening.  (Perhaps that should have been a sign that only 5 months later, he would ask me to just accept our life as it was—childless.)


Maddie got her name because we had chosen Madalynne Isabel for our little girl’s name.  Since I knew we weren’t going to have a biological child and (at the time) were thinking about adopting an older kiddo, I asked Dane if we could name our next girl puppy “Madalynne.”  He agreed.  And he quickly shortened it to Maddie once our little fur baby came home.  (Although I wasn’t too happy about the nick-name at first, Maddie truly suits our outspoken, spunky, ball-of-fire better than Madalynne.)

While Valentine and Prancer were there as I battled infertility, Maddie is the one who has helped me accept being childless, while still allowing me to be a mom.  Honestly, most of the time, I have no qualms about stating I’m her Mommy.  And, most of the time, I believe it with my entire heart.  The only time I really question whether I’m a “real mom” is during the month of May.  And the only time I have ever truly feel like a complete and utter fraud is on Mother’s Day.

Redefining May by Redefining Momhood . . .

But as I said in my May 1st blog, Redefining May as a Childless Woman, “I had to make a change.  Yes, I had to figure out a way to not simply survive May, but to thrive…”

So, this year, I am determined to take back May.  I am determined not to wobble, not to question my roles as both dog mom and host mom, not to question my love for my kiddos (two and four-legged), and not to question their love for me.

Yes, I am redefining May by redefining momhood . . .

Mother’s Day through Infertility and Childlessness…

During our infertility battle, we didn’t celebrate my role as a mom.  Yes, I considered myself Valentine and Prancer’s dog mommy.  Yes, we celebrated Christmas with them and loved them fully.  But celebrating every holiday, going over the top with birthdays, wearing Dog Mom paraphernalia proudly, and celebrating Mother’s Day as a Dog Mom…  Well, that didn’t start until 2014, the first year of my acceptance that I would never be a traditional mom…

As I looked back at photos from Mother’s Days 2014 to 2018, I remember the roller coaster I have been on, from thinking this is the BEST Mother’s Day ever to waking up with tears in my eyes, feeling like a complete phony…  Looking at these photos made me think about my Dog Mom role…

On Being a Dog Mom…

Last week was Maddie’s 6th birthday.  I go over-the-top with Maddie’s birthday celebrations, and this year was no exception.  We purchased presents, I made her favorite dinner foods (salmon and broccoli), took her to day camp so she could play with her friends, and bought a cake to share with her teachers at school.  While Maddie adores all this attention, I realize that she wouldn’t know if we skipped her birthday.  I mean, she doesn’t know it’s May 1st and she’s growing another year older.  So, why do I go to all the trouble, spending days (okay, weeks) planning the perfect birthday celebration for our girl?

Well, I got to thinking about traditional parents of two-legged kids.  What do they do for their children’s birthdays?  Do they buy presents and a special cake and lavish attention on their littles?  Of course, they do.

Yes, but a two-legged kid knows it’s their birthday!

Really?  What about the one-year-old?  Those extra special parties that take days (probably weeks) of planning…  The one-year-old doesn’t know it’s their very first birthday.  If the parents just skipped it, the kid wouldn’t be upset.

So, why do the parents plan this extravagant party?  Because they love their kid and want to do something special for their little.

So, why do I plan special celebrations for Maddie?  Because I love my kid and want to do something special for my fur baby.

Mother’s Day as a Real, Non-Traditional Mom…

So, doesn’t that make me a real mom?

Well, I guess that depends on who you ask.  I’m quite aware that some (perhaps many) do not believe being a dog mom is being a real mom.  (Maybe you are one of them…)  Some (perhaps many) do not think Mother’s Day is a celebration for Dog Moms.  But me?  Well, I respectfully disagree.

In my humble opinion, Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate ALL women who love with a mom heart…  (In fact, I wrote a blog about that last year.  You can read it here…)

And I love my Maddie with a mom heart.

I also love my Bruna with a mom heart.

Mother’s Day 2015…

I was blessed to celebrate Mother’s Day 2015 with both Bruna and Maddie.  It was a lovely day, and I will forever cherish the memory of having both my girls with me on Mother’s Day.  (I told Bruna’s mom, “Thank you!” a million times over for missing a Mother’s Day with her daughter so that I could have one…  Bruna’s mom is one amazing lady!)

Mother’s Day 2019…

And this year…  When the doubts creep in, when the sadness threatens, when the inner dialogue starts…  I am determined to shake my head and call them lies!  I’m tired of allowing the world’s narrow opinions make me question who I am.

I’m a Dog Mom.  I’m a Host Mom.  I am a woman who loves with a mom heart.  And I deserve to celebrate my mom roles on Mother’s Day just as much as someone who gave birth or adopted.  I’m redefining momhood.  I’m redefining Mother’s Day.  I am taking back May!

How are you going to take back May, fabulous one?  Tell us about it in the comments!

Photo collage of Brandi Lytle, founder of Not So Mommy..., celebrating Mother's Day with her fur baby, Maddie on Redefining May by Redefining Momhood, a childless blog

You might also like “A Childless Mom is a Real Mom.”  Just click here to read…
In case you missed it, read “On Being Childless: An Autumn Wreath in Springtime” by clicking here
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Mali May 10, 2019 - 1:35 am

I’m fervently behind you in celebrating May and Mother’s Day any way you want to!

Brandi Lytle May 10, 2019 - 10:25 am

THANK YOU!!! Your comment and support made me smile! 🙂


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