Whether it is your first Mother’s Day after divorce or your tenth, Mothering Sunday can present challenges during or post-divorce/separation.
Mother’s Day without the kids?
As a mother, one of the key challenges of Mother’s Day is how you agree who the children will spend the day with if the date falls outside of your usual time with them. Perhaps, it’s not your week or weekend to be with the children. In this situation, who the kids spend the day with very much depends on how amicable you and your ex-partner are.
Hopefully, in most cases, mutual flexibility and respect will be in place and you can easily agree that the kids can spend time with their Mum. However, we know this is not always possible which can be difficult to deal with.
Handling the emotions 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.
1. Plan ahead for Mother’s Day
If you are a Mum, and Mother’s Day falls on a date when you wouldn’t usually be with your children, then some pre-planning will help. Talk to your ex-partner in advance to see if you can swap weekends/days so you can spend the day with your children, and ensure that you do the same for Father’s Day.
Perhaps you could agree how you will deal with days that are important to your and your ex-partner in your parenting plan and ensure that the same rules apply to each of you.
2. Mother’s Day your way
Why does Mother’s Day have to fall on a certain date? The answer, it doesn’t! So, take control of the situation and organise your own special Mother’s Day for a day when you do have the kids. Plan something for you all to do together and enjoy your own special day that’s unique to you. Depending on their age, your children may feel uncomfortable spending Mother’s day without you so getting them to help you plan an alternative day may take the pressure off for everyone.
3. No cards and presents
If your children are pre-school age, a card and gift may not be likely. Older children may make a homemade card at school and perhaps friends or family will step in so that you’re treated to a surprise gift. However, why not buy your own gift? At least you can get something that you truly like!
4. Do something different with your Mother’s day after divorce
Take the opportunity to do something different with your time. Gather your friends for who aren’t mothers, or for whom Mother’s Day is difficult, and arrange a meal or day out. If possible, spend time with your own Mum and enjoy some dedicated time together. Or go to that place you’ve wanted to go to for a while but haven’t found the time yet. Visiting a new place does wonders to lift your mood.
5. Stay off social media
Take a digital detox for the day and avoid social media. Seeing pictures of others enjoying time with their children may make you feel worse and knock you off course with your alternative Mother’s Day. And remember, people share the highlights of their lives on social media. It’s a cherry-picked snapshot rather the reality of the whole day.
6. Mother’s day is one day
Finally, Mother’s Day is just one day and you are not alone. Single parents, married mothers in difficult relationships, and those who have lost a mother or a child will struggle too. Focus energy on making the most of the day by taking the time to prioritise yourself and tailoring the day to suit you. You can create a special day for you and children another day without the pressure of Mother’s Day.
If you are finding it difficult to deal with Mother’s Day after divorce or separation, Relate has some useful tools and advice on its website.
This article was published earlier and has since been updated.