When It's a "Not So Happy" Mother's Day

Updated: May 8, 2021

Updated: May 8, 2021

Friend 1: Mother's Day is coming up! Have you guys decided what to do for your mom yet!? You: Uhhh, not really. (Hoping the subject will change) Friend 1: Well, I'm taking my mom on spa day and then out to the movies. She really is my best friend. I can't wait to see her! Friend 2: Nice! I'm going to visit my mom and catch up over dinner. I just saw her the other day, but I still miss her. You: Sounds nice... (With a detached smile) Friend 1: ...Well Mother's Day is right around the corner, you haven't figure out NOTHING?! You: I'm sure I'll figure something out soon enough.....But anyways, how have you all been?

Does this conversation sound familiar?

Here is everyone else excited to celebrate Mother's Day with their mommies...and you are dreading it. Feeling uncomfortable. Embarrassed. Down. Sad. Angry. Emotional.

If this is you, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

For so many people, Mother's Day or holidays in general are reminders that:

  • You lost your mother and she is no longer with you.

  • You have a broken/strained/difficult relationship with your mother.

  • You don't even know your mother or have very few encounters together.

  • You have a great relationship with your mom, but you two aren't getting along at the moment.

It's tough moving past these emotions on a day that floods your social media, email, billboards, shopping specials, and TV with happy mother-daughter / mother-son relationships...and you can't relate.

Though this is a special day, it's still just a holiday and one day out of 365. Meaning, don't steer off track of healing journey over one day. A day that will come, and then go.

Here are a few ways you can spend this holiday if it's a "not so happy" Mother's Day:

  1. When uncomfortable or heavy emotions surface, process them with honesty. Write it out in a journal or verbally vent out loud to God or a friend what you feel. It's okay to grieve, to feel what you feel. Let those emotions flow out, and then shift to appreciation. Recall happy moments you two have shared together. You can find SOMETHING to be appreciative about as it concerns your mother. Even if it's just acknowledging that because of her, you have life. You can appreciating having a friend to vent to. You can appreciate the day in general, regardless of the holiday. Release the emotions, then find something good to focus on.

  2. Gosh, I can only imagine how tough Mother's Day is when your mom has passed away. I pray comfort and peace surrounds you not just on this day, but always. If today is tough, get with your family members, friends, and/or those who shared love with your mommy so that you all may support each other on this day. Do/suggestion something special in her loving memory. Or, maybe you'd honor her alone on this day, and that's okay too.

  3. If you are a mommy, HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! Allow the love and appreciation shown on this day to uplift you. Maybe Mother's Day is difficult with your own mother, but don't allow that to interfere with the love sent to you. You can even choose to celebrate yourself with a day of self-care / self-love.

  4. Write a letter to your mom. Express to her what you are feeling today and why. You don't even have to send it. Just release those heavy emotions. Write it as if you are speaking directly to her. Start with the journal prompt: "Dear Mom," or "Hey mom, today is tough for me because..."

  5. Celebrate a mommy or a woman you admire. It can be a friend, a grandmother, a coworker, a woman that has been a mother figure, a neighbor, it can even be you! Uplifting someone else will automatically uplift you.

  6. If you and your mom typically have a great relationship, but at the moment you two aren't on good terms, you can do something simple. Maybe you don't feel truthful by going all out with lavish gifts and dinners, but maybe a phone call or card can still express your love for her. Maybe today is a great opportunity to talk some things though with an open heart. Maybe today is a day to put the difficulties to the side and rekindle your bond.

  7. Do something completely unrelated to Mother's Day. I get it. Some experiences are deeply traumatic, and this day only serves as a trigger. Some mother-child relationships aren't worth celebrating or being 'fake nice' about. I send light and love to for having such a difficult experience. Today, find something to do that takes you completely away from the holiday all together. Volunteer for a cause important to you, go to the movies, shopping, rest, walk in the park, do some self-care, meet with some friends, have a cleaning day, treat today like another day.

  8. Get with another friend who is experiencing the same challenge as you during this holiday. There is something so special about being around those who get it. Who understand you without judgement. But look, if the common ground is a broken mother-child bond, then don't get together to have a bashing session of mothers. Support and encourage each other, and do something fun!

*Happy Mother's Day to the mommies that strive to give unconditional love and support. To mommies who are intentional about breaking the cycle and do their best even when it's difficult. Even those who aren't your children see all that you do, and we thank you mommy!

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