5 Tips for Mother’s Day When You Are Divorcing

Mother’s Day

You always hear how hard those first holidays are after your divorce. And yes, they can be, but what’s often overlooked is the difficulty of navigating holidays that occur as you and your ex are divorcing. Particularly for a holiday like Mother’s Day. Before you’ve fully worked out custody and co-parenting, maybe even living arrangements, and while the emotions are so fresh and raw, you may feel in limbo or like not celebrating the day at all. But you should, because you deserve it. Here’s how to make it easier.

1. Discuss the schedule

While you may not have formalized custody or your co-parenting schedule, you can start talking about how you’ll handle holidays that are parent-specific like Mother’s Day. Ideally, you’ll both agree your child(ren) will be with you then and dad on Father’s Day regardless of whether the day ultimately falls when they are supposed to be with the other parent. At the very least make sure you can spend some time with the child(ren) that day even if it’s not in person. Consider this a co-parenting trial run as there will be any number of situations going forward where you’ll still have to work together for the sake of the child(ren).

2. Talk with the child(ren)

This is a difficult time for everyone, but especially the child(ren). With the situation so new and unsettled, they are undoubtedly still processing everything and likely not sure how to act particularly during a holiday that celebrates one parent. That’s why it’s so important to let them know ahead of time what to expect on Mother’s Day, together if possible, so you both can reassure them that it’s ok to feel sad and that they shouldn’t feel guilt for celebrating mom (or dad when the time comes).

3. Consider your Traditions

In the past, you may have started Mother’s Day with breakfast in bed from your ex and the child(ren), or maybe you spent the day together as a family. Whatever your traditions were, trying to recreate or modify them during a divorce may make it even harder for all of you. Instead, you could use this as an opportunity to get them involved in helping to create new traditions for Mother’s Day. It can give them a way to feel more in control of this new reality and give them something to look forward to going forward.

4. Be flexible

This is multi-faceted. First, don’t kill yourself trying to make the day perfect. It’s a difficult time and there’s no getting around that. Do as much or as little as you and the child(ren) feel like doing and be open to changing plans during the day if necessary. Second, the gifts. Depending on age, some children may be old enough to do something for you on their own, but if not, they’re likely still going to want to give you something special. If your relationship with your ex is amicable enough, this is another area in which the two of your can discuss a plan going forward. Helping the child(ren) with gifts for these occasions sets a great example. At the very least, have another relative or close friend help them. Regardless of whether there are gifts or not, be flexible and remember what’s most important: spending quality time together.

5. Do something for yourself

It is your day after all! Get a massage, a manicure, or a pedicure, take a nap, binge your favorite shows, eat ice cream for dinner, get yourself flowers, or whatever makes you feel special and brings you joy. And if you have other mom friends or family members who don’t have plans on Mother’s Day or have some time to get away, get together with them for a meal and/or drinks at a favorite spot, a movie, shopping or just hanging out and relaxing.  

Mother’s Day

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