Mother’s Day can evoke many emotions. While it’s a happy day for some, it can be an upsetting one for others, especially if this is your first Mother’s Day without your mum. If the latter refers to you, then we’re here to tell you that you aren’t alone.
There are so many Australians who struggle through Mother’s Day and the marketing and social media activity that surrounds the holiday, so much so that brands are changing the way they promote their products on and around the day.
But these changes in marketing tactics aren’t enough. A day to celebrate someone who is no longer physically in your world will always be hard, no matter what else is going on in the world. So here’s how we recommend taking care of yourself this Mother’s Day, especially if this one is your first one without your mum.
Remove all pressure and expectations from the day
Take this as your permission to do whatever you want this Mother’s Day. If you’re invited out to a family brunch or a winery day with friends, feel free to simply say, “No”. It’s okay to want the day to pass by without doing anything big to commemorate it, especially if it doesn’t feel right for you to do so.
It’s also important to not put pressure on yourself to do the opposite (ie. Fill up your day with activities and social plans). It might be comforting to know your day will be filled with positive distractions, but we can never truly predict how our grief will play out on days like Mother’s Day. Make plans if they feel right, but don’t fill up your day too much with the expectation you’ll see every arrangement through.
Patience with yourself is key, and removing expectations is essential.
Consider maintaining your family’s Mother’s Day traditions
If this is your first Mother’s Day without mum, it might be nice to uphold some of your regular traditions even though she’s no longer there. Book your usual brunch spot, host dinner at your place, or head out to the Botanical Gardens for a picnic. There’s something really lovely about celebrating loved ones who have passed, and they’d likely want you to be celebrating the day too!
Do things that remind you of your mum
It can be nice to remember your mum on Mother’s Day by doing activities you loved doing with her, or that remind you of her. However, if it feels a little too much to head out to her favourite cafe without her, you can also consider buying a bunch of her favourite flowers and popping them in a vase for the day. This can be a subtle but super meaningful way to remember mum on Mother’s Day (or any day of the year, really).
Talk about your mum with friends and family
As humans, we love avoiding difficult conversations. It’s easier, less awkward, and we can pretend that hard things don’t exist… if we try hard enough. However, talking about death can have wonderful benefits when it comes to reducing anxiety and coming to terms with a loved one’s death. If you feel comfortable doing so, make the time to sit down with family and/or friends and share memories and stories with them.
Create new traditions for yourself, or for your family
Big calendar dates often come hand in hand with traditions, and it can feel daunting heading into a holiday without the traditions you’re used to. If you’ve been reading our guides for a while, you might know just how passionate we are about creating new traditions after the death of a loved one – so why not do the same for Mother’s Day? Consider heading out for the day with friends, visiting the cemetery, or hosting a family lunch.
Avoid social media and opt out of marketing communications
Social media can be filled with both happy and upsetting photos and videos on Mother’s Day. Facing other peoples’ Mother’s Day plans and watching their days unfold with their mums in tow can be confronting, especially if this is your first year without mum.
It might be worth deleting social media for the day, or the week. And it might also be worth opting out of brand communications so you aren’t targeted with ‘Gifts for mum this Mother’s Day’ promotions.
Celebrate other important people in your life this Mother’s Day
Sure, Mother’s Day exists to help you celebrate mum. But if she has died in the last year – and you don’t feel comfortable celebrating her so soon after her death – then it might be worth celebrating the other wonderful people in your life!
Reach out to other family members or friends. Write them cards, take them out for a coffee, and let them know how grateful you are for them.
Mother’s Day can be an incredibly difficult time for many, whether you’ve recently lost your mum or have a somewhat fractured relationship with her. It’s important to put yourself first this year and do what feels right for you, while also remaining sensitive to others and how they choose to commemorate (or not commemorate) the day.