When Mother’s Day Looks Different
For some, Mother’s Day can be a day of emotional turmoil.
If you had a neglectful or abusive mother growing up, maybe it doesn’t feel like much of a celebratory day. In fact, the day can feel like an all-out assault on your emotions. Feelings of grief, anger, or anxiety may surface as you’re reminded of the relationship you don’t have with your mother. And you may be reminded of the painful memories that surround that relationship.
Even if you’re a mother yourself, it may be difficult to fully embrace the day. Verbal, physical, and emotional abuse can torment the soul and leave deep scars. Recovering from abuse and/or neglect from your own mother or a motherly-figure can be overwhelming. The person that was supposed to care for you, look after you, and nurture you as a child didn’t in some way, shape, or form.
It may be even more difficult of a day if you have friends or family that don’t completely support or understand your situation. Regardless, it’s important to nurture yourself, listen to your body, and remember that you’re not alone in your pain and healing.
While you may want to push aside the unpleasant emotions and feelings, it’s important to address these emotions as they come up. If they aren’t addressed, they will surface at another time or in another way that isn’t always healthy.
As you take on this Mother’s Day and the days and weeks that follow, be gentle with yourself.
What can you do to take care of yourself on Mother’s Day?
1) Have a plan for the day or the days that surround Mother’s Day. Even if you haven’t had a lot of emotions surface lately, it’s still helpful to have a plan. Take the time to really plan out your day so that you are doing things you enjoy. That may include creating a spa day, gardening if you have a green thumb, watching funny movies, reading a good book, or doing an exercise activity that you enjoy. Leave space for rest, relaxation, and reflection.
2) Plan extra rest in your day. If you can sleep in or plan a nap, be sure to do it. Call a babysitter or family member to watch your kids for a couple of hours so you can take the time you need. Rest is so important in the healing process. Our brains need time to heal as difficult memories surface and that involves getting extra sleep!
3) Find a space, preferably quiet, to journal and write out your emotions. It can be ugly, pretty, whatever comes to mind. Take the time to write it all out. There’s therapy in getting it out on paper.
4) Read the Psalms. King David poured out his heart to the Lord in the Book of Psalms. He was a true man after God who wasn’t afraid to release his anger, hurt, and sadness to the Lord. The Psalms are so helpful in that they remind us that we are not alone, the Lord is with us, He hears our pain, and we have hope in Him above all else. I can’t say how often the Psalms have helped me in times of deep sadness. I’m so grateful for the poetic words that have related to so much of what I’ve felt in different seasons.
5) Spend the day with someone you care about or who brings you joy. If you have children of your own, plan something as a family that will bring a smile to your face and your children. If there is something you absolutely want or don’t want to do, be sure to make that clear to your family. This can be especially helpful if you are in a tender phase of healing and grief. Your family most likely wants to help to make this day special for you, so be sure to communicate how they can do that. And it’s perfectly okay to spend the day alone if that’s what you need. Just be sure to communicate that with your family. Or, if you don’t have children, spend the day with a friend, close family member, or spouse. It can be so much easier going through a tender day when you have a reliable friend or family member by your side.
Remember, emotions may come and go throughout the day. That’s completely normal, and that’s a necessary part of healing. Grief is never linear. Some weeks and months go so smoothly, and other times it’s very hard again. Be kind to yourself, listen to your body, and continue to seek the Lord in your healing. Know that you are not alone.
And if you’re a mother, celebrate! You deserve it! Happy Mother’s Day!