Oh, that dreaded day that returns over and over every single freakin’ year like clockwork. Mother’s Day. Maybe for you, if you have a mom, it’s fun. But for motherless daughters like me, it really can mess with your mind and bring you to the lowest low all over again.
My mom passed away six years ago and right between Easter and Mother’s Day. So it’s even more painful than I’d expect because it’s close to the anniversary of her death. That first year, just two weeks after she had died, a friend came to spend it with me but being out seeing all the mothers and daughters was too much, even with her support. So now, years later, I never go anywhere on Mother’s Day. I don’t want to see what I wish I still had, everywhere I look. It’s uncomfortable – actually heart-wrenching – and makes me feel lonelier than ever, longing for my mom.
If you’re struggling with not having your mom this Mother’s Day, here are a few ways to get through the “holiday”:
- Stay away from Mother’s Day advertising.
Do not watch commercials during this time. DVR it and fast forward. Do not watch anything live on TV. This small sacrifice will make a huge difference in your sanity. This includes Mother’s Day emails. You can’t necessarily avoid checking your inbox, and this is why I have a separate email for random things like flower companies – which I highly suggest. That way I can avoid most Mother’s Day emails and never have to see them by simply not logging into that account in the weeks preceding. But in the meantime, any company that sends you emails for Mother’s Day I would suggest unsubscribing from or resubscribing to but under a separate personal email that you don’t have to check for business.
- Refrain from social media newsfeeds.
Social media is my workplace so this is not as easy for me as it is for some. But even if it’s your workplace, you can just post and go. Do not scroll through your feed whatever you do, otherwise you’ll be besieged by a barrage of posts about the upcoming “holiday.” And do not go onto social media on the actual day so you can miss all the mother-daughter tributes. Remember that not only will you see friends’ posts but you’ll likely see ads for Mother’s Day. Just like with your TV and inbox, you want to avoid this. While you’re at it, stay away from your DM’s during the week before Mother’s Day. I’ve gotten unsolicited messages from “friends” as early as March. It’s not realistic not to be in your DM’s especially if you might need social media for work, but you can take a week off prior to Mother’s Day, even in that case. The one exception is getting on social media to go into motherless daughter groups if you want a support system. It can make you even more mournful, but it can also make you even more aware that you are not alone nor the only one suffering. Sometimes community just helps.
- Turn to scandalous TV.
Mind-numbing TV is the place to be. Whatever trashy reality shows you love that bring you guilty pleasure, turn to them when you’re feeling lonely and want to distract your thoughts. And use them as a bingefest on Mother’s day. Stay away from sentimental movies that are sure to make you cry. Memories are great but sometimes Mother’s Day is just too painful and while I’m a proponent of feeling your feelings, there are just some days you need a break from this, and holidays are that exception.
- Take a break from work.
If the feelings of depression become so overwhelming, take a break from work. I personally find that I become unmotivated – when I am usually highly motivated – and I need to step back. If you are the same, allow yourself to do this if at all possible in the week preceding Mother’s Day. Give yourself this time during lunch, after work, or in the middle of the day – whatever works with your work schedule – to take walks in nature, hike trails, sit at the beach and watch the waves roll in. But definitely don’t do this on Mother’s Day so you avoid seeing moms and daughters out. Do whatever nature-filled activity you need to do to feel at peace. It’s okay if you release emotions during this time and it’s actually a good thing. You never want to suppress your feelings; you just don’t want to add salt to an old wound. That’s why you’ve got to avoid anything on TV or on social media that can upset you.
The one who gave you all that compassion – your mom – is not physically here anymore. And that is a sad truth all of us, as motherless daughters, face every day with both the small daily things and big life events. So now, it’s up to you. Practice this compassion yourself. Give yourself the love that your mom once gave you.