Mother’s Day: What you should REALLY be doing


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In this episode, I discuss:

  • What you should REALLY be doing for Mother’s Day. (Hint: It’s not church and brunch!)
  • Why my Mother’s Day plans don’t involve my kids – and why that's perfectly fine
  • Ideas for a perfect Mother's Day celebration of your own

Define this special day for yourself. Own it and rock it – because YOU are a kickass single mom!

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7 Mother's Day wishes for single moms

Full Mother's Day podcast transcript

Hey, guys, it's Emma Johnson, Wealthy Single Mommy and oh my God, Mother's Day is coming up in a couple of days. And if you are like most single moms that I know, and a lot of married ones too (and you know who I'm talking about!), it’s super stressful. Because it's like who's there, right? If you don't have a spouse or partners to lavish you with love and attention and all the things that Mother's Day is supposed to be, it can feel like a real let down. And the days leading up to it can only amp up that anxiety because you just know that the let down is coming. So I'm going to talk about what you should really do for Mother's Day. A couple of things:

What to do for Mother’s Day

One, if you can do whatever the hell you want. Whatever the hell you want. I know a mom and she says everyone in her community, they do the same thing on Mother's Day, whether you're a single mom, married mom, whatever, you go to church and then you go to brunch with your family. Church and brunch and that's what everybody does. And she's not having it. She does not want to go to church and brunch. I think they go to church because she wants to. And then they go to Six Flags and it's awesome. Nobody's there because everybody's at brunch eating eggs Benedict or waffles or whatever. And she and her kids are partying at Six Flags amusement park. So that's one way to roll, if you have your kids.

Now, I'll tell you exactly what I'm going to do. I am going to hang out with myself, which is one of my most favorite things in the whole world to do. My kids are going to be with their dad, he and I aren't getting along at the moment so some years he'll say, "Hey do you want to take the kids on Mother's Day?" This year he didn't. I think he thinks he's punishing me but really he's giving me an awesome treat.

Because do you know what I like to do on Sundays when the kids are with their dad and my boyfriend isn't here and I don't have other plans? I get up early because I went to bed late the night before, which I love to do because I'm a nerd. I get up early and I get the 8:00 AM yoga class with this guy, Juan, my gay guy Juan. And I have yoga. I come home and I drink my favorite breakfast drink, which is black coffee in my french press, and I have my eggs over easy and whatever nice fruit is around that I don't feel like sharing. The nice fruit, the nice pineapple or the nice mangoes that I don't feel like sharing with my kids. That's what I like to do in the mornings.

Mother's Day self care

And then do you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to go for a treat for myself. Which for me means a massage at the Korean lady place up the street. And it's like $50 for an hour and I like that place best because it's really good and these little ladies, they beat the crap out of me for $50 and it's so awesome. I like it better than the $200, $250 fancy spas in the city because those are always like, always pomp and circumstance for a meh massage. I want somebody that's gonna beat me up and work out all the kinks in my shoulders. Then I'll probably lounge around, watch some documentaries on Netflix that nobody else in my life wants to watch with me and spend the whole damn day by myself. That's what I want to do.

What to do without your kids on Mother’s Day

Maybe you'll have your kids with you and you don't want to spend time with them. And I'm getting permission to get rid of them. Hire a babysitter and you go out and do your Korean lady spa thing or whatever makes you happy. Or you go out with your friends or a guy that you're dating. You go do what you want to do. Maybe you just chill out with your kids. Here's one thing I don't want you to do, though, is spend money that you don't have. If a massage of any caliber is not in your budget, you're not doing it because that's only going to make you feel stressed out more in the long term, right? If you're trying to lose weight or get fit or get on a special diet, you're not going to splurge because all that other crap is going to make you feel worse. You're going to do things that are genuinely, authentically going to make you feel good.

What to do with your kids on Mother’s Day

Now let's say that you can't afford a babysitter or you don't feel like you can and you would love to get rid of your kids, you're feeling resentful about spending time with them, I'm going to first give you permission to be angry that you're spending the day with your kids if you don't want to. It's Mother's Day, you can do whatever the hell you want. You take care of them all week long, all month, all year long. If you don't want to spend time with them that you're stuck with them, own that feeling. Normal, I feel like that. That's why I'm happy I'm spending the day by myself.

Make Mother’s Day your own

Two, okay, reset. You are spending the day with them. So how can we recalibrate that to make it positive? Maybe you just have them, they're on the hook for brunch, they're cooking brunch. Or maybe you just decide you guys love watching TV, my kids and I lately we've been watching Black-ish, super fun. Chill out on the couch and eat junk food and watch your shows together, whatever it is that makes you happy. It's Mother's Day. Mom, you deserve it. You have been busting your butt all year round taking care of other people, serving other people. This is about you defining this thing for you, not shoving your family into some cookie cutter Hallmark bullshit thing. What genuinely makes you, your mind, your heart, your body, your soul happy. And that is what I want for you today on Mother's Day.

About Emma Johnson

Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour,, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post's ‘Must Read” list.Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.


  1. Tiffany on May 14, 2018 at 1:21 am

    Thank you for this note. Sorry you and your children’s father are not on the best of terms right now but glad you were still able to enjoy this special day. I don’t think people will ever truly understand what a single mother experiences on Mother’s Day unless they are a single mom. I cried today. It was my first mother’s day as a single mom… Been going through a divorce ever since June of last year. I watched my almost two year old’s father treat his mom, sisters and whoever he is dating with spa treatments all while I am the one raising his child. It hurts, esp since I can’t afford to treat myself. Better believe that next year I will treat myself to the spa for father’s day since she will be with her dad then. xoxo

  2. Large Group Rental on May 17, 2018 at 6:01 am

    Great post Emma , Every day is Mothers day , We just treat it like another day, perhaps with a card or gift and a hug to say “I love you.

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