Whether it is your first Mother’s Day as a single parent or your tenth, this ‘family’ day can present certain challenges during or post-divorce/separation.
One of the key challenges is if Mother’s Day is not on your weekend with the kids. In this situation, who the kids spend the day with very much depends on how amicable you are.
Hopefully, in most cases, flexibility and respect will be in place and the kids will spend the day with their Mum. However, we know this is not always the case and you may spend the day without the kids, something that will be emotionally distressing for all.
If Mother’s Day is not on your weekend, then some pre-planning will help. Perhaps talk to your ex-partner months in advance to see if weekends/days can be swapped so you can be together. And ensure that you do the same for Father’s Day.
Perhaps you could detail how you will deal with ‘family’ days in your parenting plan and ensure that the same rules apply to family times throughout the year.
Not with the kids
Handling the emotional fallout of a Mother’s Day without your children is going to be difficult. Of course, you would prefer to be with your children, but if you cannot, then there some things you can put in place to help you deal with it as best you can.
Have your own Mother’s Day
Why does Mother’s Day have to be dictated to us? The answer, it doesn’t! So, take control of the situation and organise your own special Mother’s Day for a Sunday when you do have the kids. Plan something for you all to do together and enjoy your own special day.
No cards and presents
If your children are pre-school age, a card and gift may not be on the table. Older children will usually make a homemade card at school and perhaps friends or family could step in, so you get a little something. However, why can you not buy your own gift? The kids could wrap it for you and at least you get what you want.
Do something different with your day
Take the opportunity to do something different with your time. Gather your friends for who Mother’s Day is difficult and arrange lunch/spa day etc. Or get out in the countryside, fresh air does wonders to lift your mood. If possible, spend time with your own Mum. It won’t be the best of days, but you can control it not being the worse.
Stay off social media
Take a digital detox for the day and do NOT go on social media. Seeing pictures of people with breakfast in bed, flowers and cards will make you feel worse. And, remember it is just a snapshot of the day – not the reality of the whole day. Even when I was in a relationship, I found social media tough as I compared my situation to the smiles on my news feed. And finally, please remember it is just one day and you are not alone. Single parents, married mothers in lonely relationships and all those people who have lost their Mum will struggle. Instead, focus your attention and energy on having the best day possible and creating a special day for you and children later.
If you are struggling to deal with Mother’s Day after a divorce or separation, Relate has some useful tools and advice on its website.