Mother’s Day isn’t the easiest holiday in the world. Many women around the world are anguished over wanting to be a mother, and the holiday reminds them of this. Some women have lost their children in family court while divorcing a narcissist, and again the day reminds them of this. Other women are stepmothers watching their stepkids leave to see their mothers. Then there are the women who are estranged from their mothers, or the ones with dead mothers. It’s not the easiest day for women everywhere that it is celebrated.
If you fall into one of these groups mentioned above, have no fear, you are not alone. Coping with Mother’s Day is difficult for as many different reasons as there are women. The important thing is to honor your feelings and limitations about this particular moment in time.
In my upcoming book, I’ve included a special message for Mother’s Day, based on a question asked to a friend of mine by a mother who feels a lot of pain about the day and the loss of her children in family court. I felt that I should share some tips with mothers out there that may also be suffering.
Here are 7 tips for coping with sadness on Mother’s Day.
1. Be gentle with yourself.
This is normally a happy cheery time, or so the media would have you believe. If you’re not feeling happy and shiny, don’t fake it. Just take a moment to reflect on what you’re feeling.
2. It’s OK to hide if you need to.
I used to stay home, pretty much in bed, on Mother’s Day because I didn’t want to face the world and what I had stolen from me. If you’re in that place, remember this is your day, you can hide if you need to.
3. Figure out what you want.
Even today, I am not a fan of Mother’s Day, but we’re having some other mothers over for dinner. In this way, I don’t have the whole world bombarding me, but there’s some recognition of the day. Figure out what would make you happy and do it.
4. It’s OK to cry.
People will understand, especially other mothers who have been where you are. It’s OK to cry and to ask for support.
5. Don’t give away your power.
If you’re going through something that feels like it is taking control of your life, make sure you are the one driving that bus. Don’t feel the need to give in to the pressures of others to celebrate, be cheery, or anything else.
6. Give to someone else.
Jewish Woman, for example, has an opportunity to give flowers to a woman at a women’s shelter on Mother’s Day, and there are mothers who have had their children die. Find something that you can get behind and give to those people.
7. Remember all women are worthy of honor.
I hate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day because they make it seem like the only way to be worthy of honor is to be a biological or adoptive parent. However, everyone in a child’s life contributes to their life, and those contributions – large and small – are worth honoring. Whether or not a good mother is a child’s bio mother is irrelevant; she is a human being worthy of honor and respect in the world.
If you’re a mother not in one of the categories, these tips for coping with Mother’s Day might still be helpful for you. For example, I didn’t talk about surrogates or birth mothers who have given their child up for adoption, but they certainly have experienced a loss that could make Mother’s Day tough for them. Please let me know what Mother’s Day means to you and how you observe the sorrows of it, for those of you coping with sadness on Mother’s Day. Gentle hugs to all the readers out there.