“Happy Mother’s Day” is not something everyone can say. While it is great to celebrate and acknowledge our mom (or maybe that mom-figure) in our life – and we should – Mother’s Day can be extremely painful for others.
Maybe you have lost your mom … estranged from her … had a tough, challenging relationship with her … Mother’s Day can be hard for you. Or maybe you’ve longed to have children, but for various reasons are unable to … or quite possibly, you’ve lost a child … Mother’s Day can serve as a painful reminder of these hardships.
So what do we do when Mother’s Day is tough or painful for you? First of all, it’s okay to not like Mother’s Day. That doesn’t make you a bad person. It just makes you human. If sadness overcomes you, allow yourself to feel that – don’t deny it. Cry. It’s okay. At the same time, do what you can to not “live in that sadness.” Allow yourself to feel what you are feeling and then try to move on.
Secondly, as difficult as it might be, don’t be resentful to those around you who might be celebrating the day. Is that challenging? Of course. And as hard as that is, resentment and anger will only make you feel worse. If the best thing for you is to avoid being around others celebrating, do it. Be honest with others on how hard the day is for you, but don’t make others feel bad or guilty for celebrating.
Finally, while it might seem easier to avoid people in general on Mother’s Day, I would encourage you to not completely isolate yourself. You might not want to hang out with friends or family members celebrating the day, but chances are you may know other people who struggle with Mother’s Day, too. Reach out to them. Be there for them. If it helps, spend the day together doing something fun or productive. One of the healthiest thing we can do in the midst of our pain is to look outside of ourselves (not denying our pain) and help someone else.
I hope that wherever your heart and mind land on Mother’s Day, you experience joy and peace. And if it’s rough, remember it is just one day on the calendar – a new day is coming soon.
*Eric has his Masters in Counseling. When he’s not on the radio, he works as a private practice therapist.*
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