It’s Time to Rethink Mother’s Day, Because Not Everyone is Celebrating

Andy Ostroy
3 min readMay 11

On November 1, 2006 my daughter Sophie and I became statistics. Not quite three, she joined the ‘Motherless Children’s Club’. And I became part of the 8% of U.S. households where a single father is raising a child.

That was the day my wife and Sophie’s mother, actor and filmmaker Adrienne Shelly (WAITRESS), was brutally murdered while working on her next script in her office in Manhattan’s West Village.

For the past seventeen years it’s been a challenge to get through Mother’s Day. It’s not a celebration in my home. It’s a painful reminder of the incredible human being who was ripped from us so suddenly and tragically.

I especially grief for Sophie, who went to bed one cold Autumn night a happy, innocent toddler and woke the next morning to a dark, unrecognizable world.

On Mother’s Day she feels different, alone, sad. Wishing the woman who we all talk about with such reverence and adoration was alive to be with her. A woman for whom she has no memory. A mother who lives only in her head through our stories, photos, videos and her own heartbreaking fantasies. And who comes alive for a brief 100 minutes in ADRIENNE, the HBO Max documentary I directed and produced in 2021.

Sophie is 19 now. She’s had to navigate through her early childhood, her angst-ridden teens, a terrifying pandemic, her first boyfriend, the college-selection process and her freshman year of school all without the love, guidance and nurturing of her mother.

So Sunday is a day neither of us are looking forward to.

It’s also a day many people are dreading.

Because not everyone has a mother.

Some have a mother they don’t like. Or even love.

Some have mothers who are neglectful. Or worse, physically and/or verbally abusive.

Some have mothers who’ve died. Or are dying. Or whose body is thriving but whose mind has deteriorated.

Some have mothers who didn’t want them.

And then there’s Sophie, whose mother absolutely adored her, but was tragically ripped away by a monster.

Andy Ostroy

Director, producer, podcaster, writer, resistor, non-profit-supporter of women filmmakers