'Many children out there won't be celebrating with their mothers': Stephen Teap on what can be a difficult day for some

'Many children out there won't be celebrating with their mothers': Stephen Teap on what can be a difficult day for some

Stephen Teap in Carrigaline with his sons, Noah and Oscar. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Cork widower Stephen Teap is reminding people not everyone will be celebrating Mother’s Day with their mothers on Sunday, March 14 and encouraged people not to shy away from that reality.

Posting on Twitter, Mr Teap, who lost his wife Irene in 2017 at the age of 35 said: “Many children out there like mine who won't be celebrating Mothers Day with their mothers this Sunday.” 

Continuing, Mr Teap said it was important to listen to children and not to avoid difficult conversations which he said helped to manage children’s grief.

Speaking to The Echo, Mr Teap said it was important that the day doesn’t creep up on kids and they are aware of what is going on.

“You need to face it head-on,” Stephen said.

Stephen, who has two sons, Oscar who is eight and in second class and Noah who is six and in junior infants.

“The other day one of them said: ‘We don’t have a mum’ and I told them, you do have a mum, she is just not physically here.” 

Stephen said while Oscar is very practical about the matter, Noah is still figuring it out in his own way.

“Noah said ‘Mum is a ghost,’ that is his language at the moment, so its up to me to correct them and say that they will always have a mum, but just she is not here.” 

Stephen said the family will be spending Mother’s Day eating cake.

“I asked them what they wanted to do and they said they wanted to eat cake. Mum loved cake. But they asked that it wasn’t lemon cake. So it is not a celebration but that is what we are doing.” 

Stephen said he let them decide how they wanted to spend the day.

“If they wanted to do nothing that would have been absolutely fine.” 

Stephen said the first Mother’s Day was difficult. He didn’t want Oscar to have to make Mother’s Day cards in class in school.

“From a parent’s point of view, it is the fear of the unknown, it was only a few months after and it was so raw, it was very nerve-racking. I rang the school and thankfully they have been very good.” 

Mr Teap said the school was very mindful that not every house has a mum and there are so many different variations of parenting that Mother’s Day is not as inclusive as it once was.

Mr Teap said that this will be the fourth Mother’s Day since his wife passed away and in some ways, it has gotten easier.

“It gets easier in that you know how to manage the day. We have a very open relationship, we share thoughts and feelings so that reduces surprises. It has become the norm.”

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