For the last six years, I’ve found myself motherless on Mother’s Day and thought I’d write this for YOU in the off chance that you find yourself in the same boat.
I’m not quite sure if time heals all things – the jury is still out on that one for me. What I do know is that each spring for the last six years, the Mother’s Day marketing that is rampant across all the things – email, television, banners in store windows – is enough to make me want to crawl into a hole and not come out until summer. There is so much anxiety that builds up for me leading to Mother’s Day. It feels more like a mountain to climb than a celebratory Sunday to honor the person who gave me life. I begrudgingly “make it through the day” and then do a small victory dance on Monday morning celebrating the fact that I’ve survived another season.
Soon enough though I came to the realization that I had to do SOMETHING better because living life this way…well, it just made it all that much harder. I learned that Mother’s Day would look different and that new traditions would have to be set because nothing could change or bring back the past.
I sure hope it’s a LONG time before you need to read something like this, but in the off chance you find yourself struggling on or around Mother’s Day, here are a few things that I’ve done through the years to ensure that I don’t completely dread the day.
1. Take care of yourself. Mother’s Day is traditionally a day to spoil the mother figures in your life, so why don’t you redirect that love back to yourself. It can be as simple as creating a cozy experience in the comforts of your own home – salt bath, face mask, cozy lounge wear, time reading a good book or catching up on Netflix. Whatever makes you feel special and/or falls under the ‘self care’ category for YOU will work! You can take it a step further and book services at a local spa – get your nails done, have a massage, lounge by a pool…you get the idea. The key here is doing what YOU would enjoy and being unapologetic about loving on yourself and carving out the time to feel your feels.
2. Volunteer. There is something to be said about shifting the focus off of you and your situation – and instead helping someone else. Not only will this keep you busy and refocus your attention, but you’re also doing some good and spreading light in your community. You could help out at a food bank or soup kitchen, walk dogs or play with kittens at an animal shelter, or spearhead a donation drive. Bonus points if you pick something that was near and dear to your mother’s heart because I can’t think of a better way to honor her – can you?
3. Explore. Get out in nature. Whether it’s a long hike, picnic in the park, or a canoe adventure down the river – let MOTHER Nature work her magic. You could also finally check out that new art museum you’ve been meaning to get to. The point here is to do something out of the ordinary that will light you up and shift the focus of the heaviness of the day.
4. Celebrate your mom. Who says you can’t? This might be a great opportunity to get together with family and loved ones to look through old photos and share your favorite stories. Host a brunch or dinner in her honor. It might be hard at first, but there is so much healing in community. You could also just carve out time to do this by yourself. Not going to lie – about once a year I read through the sympathy cards I received when my mom passed away. This almost always makes me cry, but there is something so cathartic reading people’s sweet words and seeing all of the love that poured out from my community.
5. And my personal favorite: A combination of all of these! You’ve got a full day/weekend ahead of you and no doubt the emotional rollercoaster will have you feeling your best one moment and then your worst in the next. Carve out a little time to do “all the things” so you can ride the emotional rollercoaster with grace and honor yourself (and your mother).
Wherever you are on your grief journey, I hope this helps you not just survive the day, but in your own little way actually THRIVE. You’ve got this. And if you’ve been down this road yourself and have your own tips and tricks, I’d love to hear them – please share with me in the comments below. I’d love to add a few new things to my grief toolbox. Xoxo