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What To Do When Mother’s Day Sucks

May 8, 2015

I’m sorry. I said it. It needed to be said. For some people, Mother’s Day sucks. It’s supposed to be a day to feel special, but for so many women, Mother’s Day is one of the saddest days of the year. It’s the only holiday I can think of that when it comes around, I cringe at the hurt I know girls I love will feel. I’m not a fan of Valentine’s Day but even that has potential. You can focus on love not romance. The focus of Mother’s Day is moms. Period. And if you don’t have one or you want to be one but aren’t…you feel worse than the last kid picked on the playground. Every. Year.

And it’s not just those struggling with infertility or who have lost a mom. It’s those who have painful childhood memories.

It’s those who are moms before they were ready or are raising kids who aren’t their own. It’s hard for moms who recognize the blessing of their beautiful children but will always be reminded and bear the pain of the child(ren) they’ve lost. It’s every woman who’s ever had an abortion or placed a child for adoption or waited on the other end of that adoption. It’s single moms and moms who may not be physically alone but aren’t appreciated. It’s every mom who’s sat beside a hospital bed not knowing if her baby would make it.

For many, Mother’s Day sucks. And if you are fortunate not to fall in any of those categories, I pray you remain aware that this day that brings you such joy is painful for some around you. Be careful what you say and ask. Be mindful what you share.

If you do fall in one of those categories, you already know Mother’s Day is hard. But no matter what your situation, there are a few things you can do to help you through…

1. MANAGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS – We are girls, and that means that our imaginations can get the best of us. We can dream up unrealistic dreams that we know can’t be met. And we can dwell on doom-and-gloom scenarios until we collapse in a puddle. Be realistic. If you are in a tumultuous marriage, don’t expect to wake up to flowers and cards. If you are struggling financially, don’t (ask for or) assume you’ll get an expensive handbag for a gift. If you are the last of you friends to get pregnant, don’t join them for an afternoon barbecue. If you are a single mom, don’t expect your kids to learn how to cook and clean overnight. In any scenario, tell the people in your life what would help. So often, they are willing; they just don’t know what to do. They can’t read your mind. Tell your husband what would make you happy. Explain to your friends what they could do to help the hurt sting less. Show your kids how to make toast. 😉

If you are a friend to someone for whom Mother’s Day sucks, please don’t ignore her. It doesn’t help to feel left out because no one knows what to say. You don’t have to say anything. Just love on her.

2. GIVE THEM GRACE – People are going to say/ask dumb things like “Don’t you want to hurry up and have kids too?” or “I thought you’d prefer to go out to a restaurant with the kids” or “Are you sad that your mom isn’t with you this year?” Try not to yell “DUH!” or other choice words that generally have 4 letters. Know that they don’t have ill intentions. If you’re able to, answer truthfully and gracefully. (“Yes, this day is hard for me. Thank you for asking.”) If you need to just walk away, walk, sister!

3. FIND THE GOOD – Anytime we are hurting, that pain can blind us to the things around us. Try not to get lost in the dark and miss the rays of light. Try to look for and focus on what’s good in the midst of the hurt – even if it’s small. They forgot or the effort was lacking, but you have a family and that’s a place to start. You can’t have kids yet, but you have hope and a husband to hold on to. At this age/stage, it’s not likely you’ll ever get married or have kids, but you are surrounded by friends and family who love you. Your mom is gone, but you are who you are because of her. There is good if we’ll look for it. You may be in a hospital room staring at lots of machines and wires and it’s hard to find. Know that you are not alone.  You can’t escape what happened in the past. Know that your past does not define your future. Sometimes the good is hard to find. But if you look, you’ll find something. And when you do, no matter how small, hold on to it.

I’m not saying it will magically change and the day will be ideal, but if we manage our expectations, give them grace and find the good, Mother’s Day can be a day we find more strength within ourselves than we knew was there. And that’s something to celebrate.

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12 Comments

  • Reply Trezlen May 8, 2015 at 10:18 am

    Mother’s day is a dreaded holiday for me. Thanks for this.

    • Reply Regina May 8, 2015 at 10:57 am

      I’m sorry. 🙁 Sending you a hug from here.

    • Reply Anonymous May 8, 2015 at 10:18 pm

      I agree. It’s either card that one didn’t mean and sends b/c someone is watching him or he’s trying to make a good impression….or the other one says they don’t have the money but buys fancy things for themselves. I was a good mother. I sacrificed a lot and never minded.

  • Reply Anonymous May 9, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    Mother’s Day sucks for me! I am a Mother of three wonderful young adults…two daughters and a son. My son died two years ago…..a piece of my heart is broken. I am forever changed.

  • Reply Heidi May 10, 2015 at 7:18 am

    I love my family. I appreciate them. I do. But I have to admit, it would be nice to have my kids, who are teenagers now, wish me a Happy Mother’s Day on their own, without having to be reminded by someone else. Not much too much to ask, is it? Just, “Happy Mother’s Day. I love you.” But every year they forget. Heck, this morning, they didn’t even wish me a “Good Morning” until I said it first, and that was only one of them. I have given up expecting special treatment. I gave up on that years ago. I just wish they would remember, especially when they were reminded the day before.

  • Reply Darlene May 10, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    I had three children, a son who died who would have done anything for me. I also have two surviving daughters with lovely homes thanks to my ex-husband, their Father. Conditionally money means excluding me, their mother. No matter how much you hope and pray things will change and you would still sacrifice everything for them….life does not change. You are only left with memories

  • Reply Crystal May 10, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    I hateothers day!!!! Not even a card.

  • Reply Martha May 7, 2016 at 6:02 am

    For several years my sister, my niece, and I have gone to a nice restaurant together for Mother’s Day….our treat to ourselves. Last year, the first Mother’s Day after my mother died, I found a beautiful card and bought it for her. Still my mother, still her day. Yes it can be a hard day, but deciding what you need and doing it helps.

    • Reply Regina May 7, 2016 at 3:50 pm

      You are so right. Sometimes just doing that thing we know we need takes all our courage but makes all the difference.

  • Reply Burma May 8, 2016 at 11:09 pm

    Yeah, don’t now if any of those suggestions will make Mothers’ Day suck any less, but thank you for trying to ease the pain for those of who absolutely hate this day. First of all, my Mom hasn’t liked any present I’ve ever given her- not birthday, nor Christmas, nor Mothers’ Day . As a matter of fact she usually gives them right back to me to take out of her house, or doesn’t use them and cries to everyone that she got nothing from her family. As a single Mom not receiving child support, I once sent her and my stepfather very expensive (1/3 of a week’s salary) cabaret seating tix to see Doc Severinson at UConn’s intimate Jorgeson Theater (she loved him from The Johnny Carson Show), I saw her on her birthday and found her bawling her face off on the phone to her brother, stating that her family hadn’t given her anything, not even a card, on her only once a year special day, her birthday. I was shocked at the lie and her pandering for undeserved sympathy!! When I disagreed with her, she said they didn’t use the tix because SHE didn’t like Doc (a bold faced lie), but she never told anyone else that I’d even given them to her. What a waste of a lot of money and what a show of contempt!! She could’ve given them away or returned them to me; instead, she purposefuly let them rot unused on her kitchen counter. Another time, my little sister was so angry at Mom for repeatedly treating me this way, that she actually traded presents with me to give to Mom so I wouldn’t be hurt. The gift she’d gotten was handpicked by Mom, while shopping with her, so Mom couldn’t reject it my sister said. I had gotten Mom a very pricey scarf from Sage-Allen that her cousin said she really wanted. When Mom opened the presents, she was dumbfounded about how I’d given her my sister’s gift and she said nothing. When she opened what had been my present, the scarf that was now signed with my sister’s name, her face lit up. She said she loved it and that she’d wanted it but couldn’t afford it. . That made my sister laugh and she told Mom that we’d traded gifts, so it proved that the only reason she rejected my every gift was out of spite. Mom quickly blurted out that she really didn’t like the scarf (my original gift), but didn’t want to hurt my sister’s feelings in saying so. My feelings- OK to hurt, my sister’s- not so much. That’s when my sister went off on her, telling her how very mean she is to me. Didn’t phase Mom a bit. She just sat there and looked her in the eye, saying nothing and, most importantly, never saying she was sorry for being so cruel to me. Nothing new there. My son chooses to be estranged from me and only calls me on Mothers’ Day when he has a new girlfriend to impress, and will even tell me so on the phone. Yeah, that’s another excruciating pain I could really do without. I’d rather he not call at all, than cheapen my being his Mom. It’s like a salty, deep stab in the heart- he’d rather lie to impress a girl than be respectful to his Mother. He’s 32 and hasn’t gotten me a Mothers’ Day/birthday/Christmas gift or card in over 12 years. So much for all the folks (including family) that told me to “have patience- when he grows up he’ll see how much we know you did for him”- like working three jobs because I got no child support (deadbeat dad was court mandated to pay only $50/week, but still owed over $8,000- go figure how long nonpayment was for) or going back to college to get a state degree to support us, or helping him with college loans and moving state to state (three third floor apartments in a row- my aching back…and three jobs again for me!). So, yeah, Mothers’ Day really sucks. Big time!! Sorry for the downer, but that’s just life.

    • Reply Regina May 11, 2016 at 9:14 pm

      I’m sorry. Praying for glimpses of God’s grace for you to see even in the hard times. {{hugs}}

  • Reply Jeanette August 11, 2016 at 10:25 pm

    Great advice all the way around. It is always so nice to see things from different perspectives. Mother’s Day is especially hard and I miss my mom desperately; the issues surrounding her passing make it that much more difficult. However, I just try to focus on my 3 beautiful children (even when my heart is breaking) because after all…. they are a gift from God and looking back only causes more heartache that that they don’t need to see me bare. It is a difficult day… But there is always something to be thankful for… even if it is hard to find/see/feel. It is always best to never have expectations because in doing so…we are setting up not only others but also ourselves for failure /hurt.

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