Earlier this week, we asked readers who have a difficult time with Mother's Day what their strategies are for making the day a little less painful. Here's what they told us.
Image from Helen M Bushe
Avoid Social Media
For anyone who suffers on Mother's Day, Facebook and Instagram are a minefield: Picture after picture of smiling faces at Mother's Day brunch and posts focused on mums who have good relationships with their kids. Reader greenamerican advises:
Lost my Mother at 14, now I’m 34. Here in the age of social media it’s tough to see everyone post about how wonderful their moms are, and how thankful they are to have them, etc.. I am happy for them, but it’s not hard to feel very much like I’m missing out. I usually post some memory to which my family will say something nice about and then I try to keep my mind on anything else. A lot of holidays can be like that being that I have little family left and the family I do have is only practical to see once a year. Friends are important, obviously. Any kind of distraction is good and an avoidance of social media if you don’t want to encounter the barrage of reminders that this day may be painful for you.
The fact is, you're not going to miss anything important by going offline for a day or two. If you have push notifications for social media, make sure to turn them off so you're not tempted to log on.
Remember Your Loved One
If your mother, child or partner has died, Mother's Day can be excruciating.
If you've lost your mum, you might find comfort in taking the time on Mother's Day to remember her and everything she meant to you. PhlegmFatale offers:
My mom passed in 2009, and a year later, I moved to the seaside resort we visited every year. I bought a bench on the boardwalk, right across the street from the hotel we stayed in, with a memorial plaque that reads “Mom’s Bench.” I like to think that any mom who sees the bench thinks it’s for her, and sits down to watch the ocean. On Mother’s Day, I sit on her bench for a little while and thank her for being my person.
You don't have to engrave a bench to pay tribute to your mum's memory. Visiting where she's buried, listening to her favourite music, swapping stories with family, or simply taking a moment to pause and think about her are all ways that might help you get through the day.
If you've lost a child, reader AVDawn has a recommendation:
In our case, we celebrated Mother’s Day once, during one of my many short-term pregnancies, and it was so beautiful and felt amazing getting flowers in that vase marked “Mom.” Amazing how different looking at that vase now feels. For us, hubs & I will do things for/with our own moms that day, but generally for us, it’s just another day. I avoid places that are super-celebratory on that day and find other things to do. In general, we try not to dwell on what might have been or could have been... but occasionally it hits me hard. Like last month when I realized our twins would have been 10 this year...
But yes. Mother’s Day, while wonderful in intent, is incredibly difficult for many. *hugs* to all the moms of angel-babies and all the want-to-be moms who are trying.
If you've lost a partner who was a mother, you might consider spending Sunday celebrating them with your children. Depending on the kids' age, you can enlist your kids' help in figuring out how to spend the day.
Celebrate Another Mother Figure in Your Life
Mothers aren't always our biological mums: Many of us have someone else in our lives like an aunt who always answers the phone, mentors who guide us in our career choices, or a neighbour who keeps an eye out for us. Focus on the mother figures in your life and acknowledging all they do for you. NopeNopejustNope says:
I am not on good terms with my own mother, to put it lightly... but I do make sure to send a card to both of my grandmothers, and I’ve been nagging my boyfriend to send his mother something nice. On Mother’s Day I will stay off of Facebook, and spend the day taking care of myself and doing DIY spa stuff. I am a pet mom, after all!
If you know you'll be spending the holiday with your partner's mum, but you don't view her as a mother figure, HesterMofet has a trick to help you reframe the day and get through it:
I’m sorry you’ve lost your mom. Mine has been gone for 20 years, and the day revolves around my mother-in-law. I just treat it like a birthday. It’s not about me, it’s about the person being celebrated. It’s not her fault my mother is gone, and she’s got nothing to do with it. We focus on her and let her enjoy the day without any dark clouds.
If you don't have a mother figure to celebrate, you might expand your definition of what a mother is to women in general. You can volunteer at a women's shelter or other organisation or send texts to important women in your life.
Self care is important any time, but if this day is rough for you, it's essential. Plan a day full of your favourite activities, like a marathon of your favourite movies with your favourite snacks. Or treat yourself to something new, like taking an art class or a new hiking trail. The goal is to distract yourself with things you enjoy. Reader LarsVargas needs $20 million and a nap suggests another approach: Treat it like any other day and go about your weekend routine.
Whether you decide to do something special or not, you can still focus on the good things in your life, as whatdidyousay11 proposes:
I lost my mother 5 years ago and my husband lost his mother 2 years ago. I wasn’t able to have children. So I do dread mother’s day but I try to be a grown up and be thankful for all of the wonderful things in my life. I appreciate this post as it reminded me I am not alone.
Whether your mum has died, you don't have a good relationship with your mother, or you're not able to be one and want to, knowing that you're not alone and having a few ways to handle the holiday will hopefully help.