Mother's Day

How I’m Celebrating Mother’s Day as a Single Mom This Year

written by TWYLA ADKINS
Source: ColorJoy Stock
Source: ColorJoy Stock

Being a single mom has its challenges. While support can alleviate some areas of single parenting, some experiences are just different. Navigating everything from caring for your child daily to celebrating the holidays is an adjustment as a single mother.

Balancing time between families to benefit your child remains a priority, though. You find ways to still make each experience memorable for them. My son and I, for example, celebrated “love day” on Valentine’s Day with bundt cake and candy. As Mother’s Day approaches, a lot of imagery includes partners and children coming together to make the day special for the moms in their lives. But what happens when the holiday or experience is intended to celebrate you and you don’t have a partner?

For my first Mother’s Day as a newly single mom, I found myself looking for guidance on navigating this new era of my life. I’ve decided to create my own joy because I deserve it, just like other moms out there. I will celebrate myself instead of comparing my day or experience to others. Here’s what celebrating Mother’s Day as a single mom will look like for me:

1. Planning ahead

I started thinking ahead and considering the type of day I wanted to have. Everyone‘s different. Some people want to spend the day with their kids or their mom friends, and others want to spend Mother’s Day alone

If spending it alone makes you as happy as a child’s face when Ms. Rachel comes on the screen, then plan ahead to have childcare in place, judgment-free. Maybe childcare isn’t an option, or spending it with your child is more your speed; think about a family activity that isn’t centered around your child. As moms, we often put our children first, focused on what brings them joy versus what fills us up. If that means picking your favorite family film (mine is Moana!) over the Paw Patrol: Mighty Pups movie, then so be it. Maybe it’s setting it up to have an extra pair of hands that can help out during your family gathering. Either way, taking the time to plan ahead will make a difference.

2. Setting realistic expectations

I never shy away from protecting my peace. Even if that means logging off social media to make it easier for me not to get stuck in comparisons or wish that some things were different. Whether you were with a partner before or are a single mom by choice, level set your expectations.

There’s a chance that Mother’s Day may still feel like business as usual as your child won’t magically become an angel or suddenly be open to accepting that a broken banana tastes the same. If you have small children, they might not know it is Mother’s Day unless they’ve learned about it through daycare or school activities. Regardless, they may simply be excited about celebrating you. 

3. Remembering gratitude > lavish gifts

We’ve all heard that practicing gratitude can improve our happiness and reduce stress. And I don’t mean the “just be grateful” judgment that moms often face whenever they dare speak of their challenges as mothers. One of my favorite ways to reflect on motherhood with gratitude is to look at old pictures or videos of my child and write letters to him about the memories we’ve created. It not only gives him something to look back on when he’s older and curious about his childhood, but it also reminds me of the joy amidst the challenges.

4. Involving my child

There are different ways to get your child involved in celebrating you. Explain to them what Mother’s Day is all about and what the day means to you. Their level of involvement will vary depending on their age… and often their attention span. I will encourage my child to pick up some flowers from our yard and create Mother’s Day cards together. There may also be a picnic basket at a nearby park under the sun in our future. I’ll show him how much I appreciate what he handpicked for me and place it on the mantle next to his card.

celebrating mother's day as a single mom
Source: Canva

5. Buying my own flowers

Speaking of flowers, buying myself my own flowers is already a current form of self-care for me. I celebrate myself in big and small ways regularly, and Mother’s Day will be no exception. My favorite place to buy flowers is from my neighborhood Trader Joe’s, and I love seeing my creativity come into play as I envision what I want my flowers and greenery to look like. 

When I’m ready to arrange my bouquet, I enjoy playing relaxing music and bringing my masterpiece to life. The whole exercise is exceptionally soothing, but having flowers in your home has a long-term positive effect on your mood. I dare you to try to walk into a room with your favorite flowers and not smile. 

6. Finding community in others

Galentine’s Day and Friendsgiving Day are a thing, so why not get together with friends on Mother’s Day? Maybe you have friends at a similar stage in their lives or are interested in celebrating with the other mothers in your family. I have some wonderful friends who happen to be mothers, and I’ll be reaching out to get together on the days before, after, or during Mother’s Day. Any chance we have to uplift and celebrate one another should not be taken for granted.

7. Honoring all the feelings

Just as more moms should feel more comfortable discussing the difficulties in motherhood, we should all normalize owning our feelings when it comes to Mother’s Day. It can be a complicated day for people for many different reasons. Your feelings are neither good nor bad, and you are entitled to feel every bit of them. Ultimately, Mother’s Day, like all days, is as special as you make it. Celebrating Mother’s Day as a single mom, especially recently single moms, means you create new traditions. Remember, you are not alone, no matter how much you may carry alone. 

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