Hey single moms! Mother’s Day a drag? Here’s how to turn it around!

In general I find the holidays stressful, and the Hallmark Cards variety pesky. As a single mom without a lot of extended family nearby — and therefore hardly any fixed traditions or planned events that my kids and I can blindly participate in — it’s a lot of pressure to not only plan the festivities, but invent tradition out of thin air that will define my children’s upbringing and establish custom for generations to come. That is too much for one person!

And so here we are, facing Mother’s Day. We don’t have plans. Usually my ex is sweet and buys a little present for the kids to give me, and the schools are good about construction-paper-and-glitter cards to mark the day. But the pressure is still on. When I was growing up there was always a Mother’s Day brunch with extended family. My mom would make a quiche Lorraine and there was a big lilac bush at an apartment complex near our house she would pilfer to decorate our home and bring to my grandparents house where everyone automatically gathered on that Sunday in May. It wasn’t a particularly fun or meaningful day, but it was noted, celebrated and here I have a few sunny olfactory and culinary memories. Just like Hallmark promises.

In the past my single mom bestie and I would take our kids out for brunch at a restaurant, and other years I held a gathering at my home. My friend is now in a blended family, and while I could invite myself along to whatever they’ve got planned, it feels a little like being a tagalong. Another family I’ve been friends with for 20 years has other plans, and I could host a gathering at my place, and while I love to entertain I’m just not in the mood. Plus, it is MOTHER’S DAY! This is supposed to be about celebrating ME! — giving me a break from the drudgery part of motherhood. Since my kids are little someone else would have to step in to take on that role. There isn’t anyone else.

And so I can cook up some super-fun-memory making event to mark the day. Or I can just chill out and do something I will enjoy — like having a picnic somewhere sunny and pretty and kick around the soccer ball with the kids. Maybe I’ll make a quiche and maybe the lilacs will be in bloom. Maybe it will look like Hallmark, or maybe not. Or maybe Hallmark can kiss my ass.

Here are ways single moms can celebrate Mother’s Day:

  • Pair up with other single moms. You’re all in the same boat. Plan brunch/a zoo trip/shots. Make it special.
  • Help your kids celebrate you. Depending on their age, you can guide them in various ways– take little kids shopping with you to pick out a special gift. If you suspect older kids have forgotten the holiday, remind them with appropriate degrees of that they should honor you on that day.
  • If self-treating is a challenge for you, make plans NOW to honor ourself. The usual mani/pedi, massage, facial jam might be your thing. Or maybe you really need a good night out with your girlfriends. A leisurely swim? An afternoon reading trashy magazines? You know your thing. Do that.
  • Don’t get too hung up on it. I don’t have anything particularly against Mother’s Day, but it is an over-commercialized faux holiday that can get out of hand and induce guilt and hurt feelings if not fully celebrated according to media-issued standards. Take it for what it is.

Tell: What are you Mother’s Day 2014 plans? Does it bum you out that no one is spoiling you today?


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7 thoughts on “Hey single moms! Mother’s Day a drag? Here’s how to turn it around!

  1. Our plans are about being together, backyard bbq, church and a few gifts. I have three kids 13, 7 and 2. My teenager had some money in her account that she earned and my 7 year old had left over gift cards so they used that to buy me something. I took them to the store and made myself scarce. I honestly have no idea what they got and it is really irrelevant what matters is that they wanted to. They were actually fantatically insistent about the whole ideal. I think it is really important for the kids to feel like they honored you in some way, whether it be home made gifts, breakfast in bed, or whatever the can do at their age. They want you to know they care. They see how hard you work, they see the sacrifices and they love you so I let the do what they will do and I will feel grateful, honored and I will be able to carry the weight of my Mommy crown with my head held high. Have a great Mother’s Day and I agree Hallmark can kiss my ass.

  2. You said it: Mother’s Day is about you. So, do whatever or don’t do whatever suits your fancy. It’s a new world and no-one is putting any stock on what Hallmark “promises.” Your kids are going to love Mother’s Day, just like any other day, because YOU are in it with them.

    Happy Mother’s Day! I hope it’s a great one!

  3. Awww. We should do brunch with our screaming children … and I’ll leave Chef at home. :) Why shouldn’t the waiters at the Grand have to deal with us?

  4. I grew up with the celebration of Woman’s Day – all women celebrated together in their cluster of girlfriends, married, single, coupled, uncoupled. No one brought their kid along, the husbands were in charge of the kids and women went for group lunches en mass. It was fun. Imagine Central Park packed with women celebrating their day. I find it much more democratic. Mother’s day not only it feels like a Hallmark one, but it makes your job such that you deserve only this day off. There is no time off as a mother otherwise??!!! We generally do not live by such dates. This time my mom is in town, so might take her for a picnic to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden… shall see how the mood strikes. :-)

  5. I was at the mall today with my six and three year old..it was a horrible shopping day! lol We were searching for soccer shoes and equipment..the mall was hot the kids were screaming, running everywhere and I (quite frankly) was loosing it!
    When we were finally getting ready to leave, the man at the service desk said that if I have spent over $75.00, I get a “free” piece of jewlery. I dropped a mountain of reciepts onto the desk and ever so graciously accepted the gift! It was a cute silver dragonfly pin. For a moment I smiled inside, thinking that this was somehow my “thank you mom” from some greater energy….I looked at my kids, hugged them and instantly forgot what I was frustrated about. That feeling is what I am taking as my mothers day gift. I will wear that dragonfly like a badge of honor! lol
    Happy mothers day~!

  6. On my first Mother’s Day as a single Mom, I had the bright idea of taking the kids to the zoo. Unfortunately, everyone had the same idea and I spent the day watching proud Dads hoisting their little girls onto their shoulders or feeding little ones snacks or one of a thousand things with their kids and wives. And I felt awful. I felt awful for not having a Dad around for my kids and not being able to give them what all these other families had. I left feeling crummy about being a single Mommy and about Mother’s Day in general.

    Fast forward to this year where I am done with cliches. I’m taking the kids to the thrift store (which I love and they hate) because once in awhile, it can be about me and what I want to do (but we’re still going to totally get ice cream afterward). And I am not feeling crummy about anything. I’m actually looking forward to it. Feeling very empowered this Mother’s Day.

  7. Wow, you nailed it on this one. I have been a single Mom for 9 years and the older he gets the harder it becomes. It is hard to explain the best gift he could give me is to not need me to do anything for him for one whole day. That would be a truly be a Happy Mothers Day.

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