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If you’re a single mom on Mother’s Day you might be dreading the holiday. After experiencing 10 Mother’s Days as a single parent, I’ve got some tips on how to make the most out of the day whether you’ve got your kids on the holiday or not.
Let’s be real – Mother’s Day never really lives up to any mom’s expectations.
Okay, maybe it did when it was your first mother’s day and you were so delighted to have a baby, and you were happily married. If that was your story.
But after that first holiday, we wait in anticipation for our children to appreciate us on Mother’s Day, and we’re met with little recognition that it’s even a special day.
There’s fighting among siblings, the laundry piles up, the kids are still hungry and if you’re a single mom, then it all still falls on you to take care of.
When you’re a single mom on mother’s day
As a single mom on Mother’s Day, you end up feeling a little resentful as the day progresses like a typical day while well-meaning family members and strangers look adoringly at your kids tell you “Happy Mother’s Day” and you convince yourself to be thankful.
I’ve experienced almost ten Mother’s Days as a single mom, and for the majority of them, I didn’t have my kids on the actual holiday until 5 pm. It’s just the way our custody schedule works.
As my children have gotten older, I’d expect text messages in the morning telling me Happy Mother’s Day, and I’ve found some years, that doesn’t even happen.
But I’ve learned not to get upset with my kids or with my situation.
So how do we as single moms make the most out of Mother’s Day and learn to enjoy it?
Whether you spend the holiday alone as I often do or spend it with your kids and no one to help you, Mother’s Day is still for YOU.
How to Enjoy Mother’s Day as a Single Mom
1. Make a plan
Don’t let Mother’s Day sneak up on you. And most importantly, don’t wait to see what the kids will do for you because the answer is probably not much.
You decide: how you want to spend YOUR DAY?
Whether you’ll be with your kids or not, consider what sounds like a beautiful day to you considering the money you have and the constraints you have: money, childcare, if you have to work, etc.
Don’t have the kids?
If you are by yourself, maybe you’ll want to go to church, plant flowers, take a long walk by a lake, or somewhere you don’t usually have time to wander. Do you have other friends that don’t have kids that you can make brunch plans with?
Maybe you could volunteer, buy some flowers, give them away, keep them for yourself, get a pedicure or massage. Plan for a day that you look forward to.
Have the kids but no help?
If you have your kids, is there a family activity you’ve wanted to do, but the kids haven’t been 100% on board? Mother’s Day is the perfect time to cash in on your day. Or get together with another single mom and her kids and let the kids play while the two of you catch up.
Make your favorite drink, splurge, and take the kids to a movie or a park where you can enjoy the outdoors, grabbing lunch on the way, so you don’t have to cook.
Mother’s Day is a holiday, and just like any other holiday or birthday, you need to buy the recipient (YOU) a present. I have a running budget for all the presents I buy during the year, so Mother’s Day just gets added in there.
If you aren’t one for budgeting, that’s fine – but don’t skip the present! You deserve a present!
If your kids are old enough, you may decide to give them the money to buy you a present or give their grandparents the money to go with them to buy you a present.
Don’t shy away from saying what you want. And you want (deserve) a present. If you were married, most likely, you’d have to be straightforward with your spouse about a gift.
Kids are no different. By their very nature, kids are selfish – and not in the wrong way. It’s just the way their brains work when they’re young.
Or you may decide to go out by yourself and buy your gift. Whatever gives you the most JOY.
Just make sure if you buy the present you don’t skimp and try to save some of the money or buy something more practical for the family. As long as you’ve budgeted the money and you’re not going into debt, you should be able to do this without any guilt.
While we’re on the subject of gifts, if you have the extra cash, buying gifts for other moms in your life is a beautiful surprise to give to others. Your mom and grandmas, of course, but also friends and aunts.
If you’re short on cash, consider making or baking them something. Just think how much you would appreciate it!
3. Involve the Kids
As mentioned above, your kids can buy you a gift, be straightforward with them. Or set them up with paper and crayons if they’re younger and have them color you a card. You can get print-off coloring pages to keep them busy here specifically for mother’s day.
Not only will this activity make your children feel good it’ll also get them into the habit of giving to others.
Or if you have your children on Mother’s Day, talk to them about your expectations. Maybe all you want for the day is to sleep in or one day of no fighting. Perhaps you’d love it for your daughter to give you a pedicure or to go one afternoon without her phone attached to her face.
If you don’t see your children on the actual day, as the majority of my Mother’s Days, you can always celebrate Mother’s Day on another day. I’ve done this for my children’s birthday’s over the years and other holidays when my custody schedule didn’t work out as I would have liked.
Sometimes we have to reframe our thinking around the day and not make it so prominent in our minds.