Mother's Day as a Single Mum
To be perfectly honest, I’m not a big fan of Mother’s Day. I struggle with the commercial nature and marketing hype around one “special” day. Also, it’s never been a big deal for my own Mum – just a card, a hug and perhaps a small gift or a bunch of flowers – then when my sister and I became mothers ourselves, Mum encouraged us to spend Mother’s Day with our own kids. And so, I have carried that tradition forward with my own family. I don’t make a big deal about Mother’s Day.
BUT… for so many of you, Mother’s Day IS big deal. And as a single Mum, it can be an even BIGGER deal. It can feel like a stark reminder of what you lack, rather than a celebration of all you are and all you do for your kids. With no other adult to help steer the big Mother’s Day ship - take the kids to buy you a gift, secretly give them the money for the cheesy Mother’s Day Stall at school, help them cook breakfast for you without setting fire to the kitchen or each other, take them out for the morning so you can sleep in - it can be a pretty sad and lonely day.
Here are some ways to make Mother’s Day as single Mum a celebration:
1. ORGANISE YOUR OWN GIFT
If the father of your kids doesn’t help them buy a surprise gift for you, organise it yourself. Buy it yourself if you have to. Plan ahead (well… maybe for next year) and buy yourself something, give it to the kids to wrap and hide. (HINT: get them to write down on a piece of paper where they’ve hid it, and seal in an envelope. Nothing will spoil the day more than the hidden gift being so well hidden they can’t find it!) If your kids are old enough, take them to the shopping centre and send them off with some cash, along with a few ideas of what you’d like. If they’re not quite old enough to be sent off alone, take a trusted friend, older niece or nephew, or your own Mum. The best part about organising your own Mother’s Day gift? You get EXACTLY what you want!
2. PRE-PREPARE BREAKFAST
If your kids are still too young to be able to manage the full cooked breakfast without an adult, spend some time the day before helping them to pre-prepare the ingredients for your Mother’s Day breakfast in bed extravaganza. Make an iced coffee or tea, and put it in a sealed container in the fridge they can simply place on a tray with your favourite cup. Slice up some fruit. Spoon some yoghurt into a fancy bowl.
3. SPEND IT WITH OTHER MUMS
Gather together a group of Mums – single or otherwise. Make it a collective effort and a joint celebration of motherhood generally. Celebrate your sisterhood and all that being a mother means – the good, the great, the fabulous, and the not so great.
4. BREAK THE RULES
Let the kids watch TV or play X-Box all day. Spend it on the couch reading. Eat pizza for breakfast. You’re the Mum. It’s your day. Do whatever the hell you want.
5. MAKE IT MINDFUL
For many single mums (and even those not so single mums), Mother’s Day isn’t all about flowers, gifts, breakfast in bed or fancy lunches. It’s just another Sunday, spent like all the others. Soccer. Football. Basketball. Washing. Mowing lawns. Helping kids with homework. Cooking. Ironing. Getting set for the week ahead. Whatever you do this Mother’s Day, choose to do it mindfully. Rather than focus on what’s missing from your Mother’s Day, remind yourself that in so many ways, we are blessed to be mothers to our gorgeous kids. They make us the mothers we are. Celebrate and honour yourself. Acknowledge all that you do, how far you’ve come, and all that you’ve achieved as a single Mum. For many of us, it’s being two parents rolled into one. Acknowledge what a freaking champion of a mother you are. Look at those kids you’ve raised and remember YOU are the reason they are so damn awesome.
And me? Well, this year we are breaking with the no-frills Mother’s Day tradition and my kids and I are taking my Mum & Dad out for brunch. My beautiful Mum is 79 and we all know she won’t be around forever. This Mother’s Day morning I’ll be honouring her and reminding myself that I’m so damn lucky to have her around.
And the rest of my Mother’s Day? I’ll be spending my “special” day where I spend every winter Sunday. With my daughter and my tribe, cheering on my son and his teammates at football. And loving every bit of it.