How To Make It Through Mother’s Day During Divorce
Updated: Jul 27, 2021
Battling over days in the calendar as you negotiate your custody agreement can create a lot of stress for parents and their children. One of the most challenging decisions is when you have to let go of holidays and celebrations. While you are coping with divorce and figuring out how to be a single mom, you have to now deal with getting through Mother’s Day without your children, or with your children, but without your spouse.
Divorce is truly an emotional time for all involved especially if there is a lot of conflict. For some, missing a Mother’s Day with your children may feel like an injury that is too much to bear. When coping with divorce, remember that every “setback” is an opportunity to lay the foundation for your (and your children’s) steps forward. It is important that you do everything you can to take care of yourself so that this day will be a reminder of who you are and all you are to your family. One of the ways to cope is to try to plan AGE appropriate celebrations.
Takeaway Tip #1: Acknowledge The Anger – You may be resentful that your spouse who used to manage the celebration, the children, the cards, and the meal may now be spending time undermining you to your children. Your children, who may be feeling guilt and anger towards you for the divorce, may be resentful or act “pressured” to honor you. There may seem that there is more than enough anger and resentment to go around. It is important that you acknowledge this is part of the divorce journey. If you find that your anger and resentment is spilling over into your interactions with your children, family, and friends, consider talking it through with a counselor or therapist. Putting things in the proper perspective can go a long way in helping to create a celebration that is unique to your situation, and helps you to recapture your joy.
Takeaway Tip #2: Go With The Flow – If you are able to spend the actual day with your children there are many options to consider. Try to see if you can spend the day with family or friends who may be planning celebrations that can accommodate guests. If that is not possible, consider making the celebration appropriate and low-key for your children depending upon their age. Children who are in elementary school may enjoy an art and craft project. Part of the fun may include shopping for supplies. If money is tight, try to use materials found in your home.
If your child is in middle school and loves to write, ask them to prepare a poem that you can enjoy with your morning breakfast. If your child loves to perform, they can make a video or song for you. High school age kids may be a bit more challenging, but if you keep the focus on an activity that keeps them engaged with you, you cannot go wrong. Try a simple walk in the park, cooking a meal together, or a fun photo shoot with your smartphone. Print and frame two copies of the photo as a memory for you both to treasure. If your children do not feel like doing too much, stay flexible and keep it simple, but do try to have at least one meal on that day together.
Takeaway Tip #3: Expectations Impact the Experience – If you will be alone for the first time on Mother’s Day, and are struggling, self-care will be crucial. Plan a spa day or treat yourself to a weekend getaway. If you need to stay closer to home, rent some of your favorite movies or curl up with a good book. If you have no family nearby, call a friend and head to brunch or a coffee. It will only help your self-esteem to remind yourself that you are special and deserve the best in life no matter the current circumstances.
The day a couple experiences the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child creates one of the most powerful memories. Focus on the feeling you had when you first held or hugged your child. No matter what has happened between you and your spouse, setting the intention of love and celebration of motherhood is crucial for creating the right expectations for yourself and your children as you move forward. Cards, a meal, or flowers do not define who you are as a mother. The greatest Mother’s Day gift is for your children to experience a mother who is filled with gratitude for being able to parent her children, while taking good care of herself — with or without a spouse.
Wishing you a Happy Mother’s Day!
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