As time goes on, and social media and technology evolves, so does the way we treat mother’s day and any other celebratory occasions on the calendar. A day that was once private has now turned into a public display of appreciation and affection, and while that can be lovely to see, it can also be extremely difficult for those who have unconventional relationships with their mother.
While you have the opportunity to feel upset in private on certain days like a parent’s birthday or anniversary, occasions like Mother’s Day are unavoidable.
For some who have lost their Mam through death, Mother’s Day simply comes as a difficult reminder of the pain and grief that surrounds their lost loved one.
For others who have not lost their Mam to death but have an unconventional and strained relationship with them for other reasons, seeing others celebrate the positive relationships they have with their own mothers can only serve as a reminder of what is missing from their lives.
For myself personally, I have an estranged relationship with my Dad, and so find Father’s Day a difficult and emotional time to navigate.
But, I know I’m not alone in my feelings, and neither are you.
While everyone’s circumstances, grief, and heartache are different, there are some universal themes and general advice that can be shared to make the day a little easier for you. Whether you’re estranged from your mam, have a strained relationship with her, or she has passed away, here are a few things you can do to help you navigate the upcoming days.
Find Other Members Of The Club
For me and my difficult relationship with my dad, I find a lot of comfort in speaking with people who are in a similar situation to me. The death of or lack of a relationship with a parent can be a lonely and isolating experience, but, the truth is, you’re not alone. Reach out to others who are in the same situation as you, join a support group, find a grief chat room, pick up a self-help book, memoir or blog. Authors like Jacqueline Wilson have dozens of books based around characters with unconventional family units (I recommend ‘Girls In Love’), and podcasts such as ‘The Griefcast’ can help you to hear grief discussed in an open and heartfelt manner. It’s completely normal for the lead up to mothers day to be a difficult time for you, so surround yourself with people who are in the same boat to make the time that bit more bearable.
Make New Traditions
If you had traditions on occasions like Mother’s Day before, but the sudden death of your mam made you stop doing those traditions – maybe it’s time to create some new ones. Normality at a time like this is important, and while the traditional idea of ‘normal’ isn’t your reality, this can’t stop you from creating your own. Maybe you could donate the money you would spend on a present for your Mam, to a charity of your choice. You could do something simple like lighting a candle on the day in remembrance of your Mam. Or if you do have someone in your life who acts as a mother figure, whether it’s an aunt, a grandmother, a friend’s parent, a sibling, or even your dad, buy them a bunch of flowers or a card to show your appreciation.
Step Away From Social Media
Like I said, for many people, Mother’s Day is a time where they choose to celebrate their Mam’s and how wonderful they are on their personal social media accounts, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But, if you feel that being bombarded with these pictures and statuses might upset you then it might be best to step away from social media for the day. Have you been talking about a digital detox for months? Well now is the perfect time for that. Surround yourself with people you love and put your phone away for the time being in an act of self-care.
Speak With Someone
The best advice we can give to anyone at this time is to speak with someone about how you’re feeling. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, a problem shared is a problem halved. Reach out to someone around you, friends and family are great but they’re not psychic so it’s important that you yourself let them know that you’re struggling. It could be a sibling or a friend, or a helpline, it may be hard to do but letting someone know your feelings is not a sign of weakness.