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Mother’s Day is a great day to tell your mother how much you appreciate her, or if you’re a mom, to hopefully get a day off to kick back and be pampered. But for those who have lost their mother, have a strained relationship with their mom, or are struggling to become a mother themselves, Mother’s Day can be a painful reminder of what you feel like you’re missing in your life.

Before you decide to post “Happy Mother’s Day” to your social media and consider it a job well done, here are a few gentle reminders of how to be a good child and a good friend on Mother’s Day.

PICK UP THE PHONE

If your mother is alive and you have a good relationship, don’t take that for granted. Your future self will thank you. Pick up the phone or if you’re able to, visit your mom on Mother’s Day. Future you will be grateful that you took the time to tell your mom how much she means to you. Plus, sending your mom a shout out on Facebook when she doesn’t even have social media is the ‘thoughts and prayers’ of Mother’s Day. Take action if you can.

DON’T FORGET THE BONUS-MOMS

Carrying a baby for nine months isn’t the only way to qualify as a mom. Don’t forget to reach out to the grandmas, aunts, step-moms, cousins, sisters, caregivers, friends, and men in your life who have been there to support and love you or your child. Being a mom means caring and loving unconditionally, so if there is someone in your life doing that who isn’t technically your mom, don’t forget them on Mother’s Day.

STAY HOME

Have you ever been to brunch on Mother’s Day? Probably not, because if you had been, you’d likely still be in line waiting for your table instead of reading this article. For those who have brunched on Mother’s Day and lived to tell the tale, they know it’s the one day a year to avoid breakfast restaurants, lunch restaurants, and dinner restaurants. Really, just plan on eating at home on Mother’s Day. The line ups are endless, the waits are long, the servers are stressed, and we’re guessing it’s not how your mother envisioned a relaxing day of pampering. Break out some pancake mix, throw a few eggs in a frying pan, and give mom a real Mother’s Day treat by letting her sleep in.

PAY TRIBUTE

If you’ve lost your mom, you can still celebrate Mother’s Day. Watch a movie your mom loved, spend the day going on a hike to her favourite spot, visit a store in the mall she frequented, or commit an act of kindness in tribute to her. It can also be helpful to reach out to other people on Mother’s Day who were close to your mother, whether they’re family members or friends. There’s a good chance that you’re not the only one grieving.

KEEP IT SHORT ON SOCIAL

Keep your social media praise to a minimum. Anyone missing their mom or wishing they were a mom likely won’t forget that it’s Mother’s Day but limiting the amount of social posts may help eliminate unnecessary additional pain. Before you share an extended post about how much you love your mom or how being a mom is the greatest thing that has ever happened to you, remember that someone reading your tweet or Facebook status could be dealing with some pretty intense feelings of loss and sadness.

REACH OUT

On that note, don’t be afraid to reach out to friends or family members who you think may be struggling on Mother’s Day. Maybe this is their first Mother’s Day without their mom, or they’ve been trying to get pregnant and have been unsuccessful, or their mother is sick. Maybe they never knew their mother or have a toxic relationship with their mother. It’s never easy to know what to say in these situations, but even just a simple text, email or phone call to say “I’m thinking of you” can go a long way. If you’re still stumped, there are even Mother’s Day cards made specifically for people who are suffering a loss on Mother’s Day.

CELEBRATE ALL YEAR

Mother’s Day may only be one day per month, but moms are on the clock 24/7, 365 days per year. For many who have lost their mothers, they know that it’s not just Mother’s Day that is difficult, but that the real struggle happens every day. If you can and are willing, remember to tell your mom throughout the year that you appreciate all she’s done for you. And if you’re a mom, don’t be scared to reach out to other moms that you think may be struggling with their never-ending responsibilities as a caregiver. Does never-ending sound too ominous? Well, it’s tough work.

IGNORE IT

Not everyone’s relationship with their mother is a healthy one. If interacting with your mother causes pain, it’s okay to not celebrate the holiday. You’re allowed to feel however you want to, regardless of what the greeting card companies tell us.