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The “other” side of Mother’s Day

From flowers and cards to mimosa brunches and family picnics, the second Sunday of May can be full of joy. But frankly, Mother’s Day can also be a little sugar coated. For some people, the holiday is laced with stress, anxiety and apprehension. This is the “other” side of Mother’s Day. The side that can be triggered by a host of experiences, from the grief or losing a parent to the pain of childhood abuse or neglect.

Whether you’ve adopted a different attitude towards Mother’s Day this year or would simply like to empower yourself with an alternate perspective, this article is for you.


Healing and forgiveness

While many children enjoy positive relationships with their mothers, this is by no means universal. Child abuse and neglect can be difficult subjects to tackle and can continue to affect children well into their adult lives. For obvious reasons, Mother’s Day can be difficult for people who have negative relationships with their mothers.

That said, it can also be a powerful excuse to reform your views towards motherhood. Without minimising your own experience, why not try to focus on the ways you can be a good mother. Regardless of whether you have kids, the role of mother can be adopted in many different ways. For example, you might find that volunteering at a local charity helps to nurture your motherly instinct and heal your negative relationship with your own mother. Perhaps you have grandchildren you can form meaningful bonds with and in turn, redefine your perceptions of motherhood.

If humans feel like a bit of a stretch why not extend your love to a fur baby? It sounds a little crass but fostering a cat or dog can be an incredibly rewarding way to reconnect with your maternal instincts. Mother’s Day can also be a fitting time to think about how the concepts of forgiveness, compassion and understanding could enhance your own life, or your relationship with your mother.


Grieving the loss of a mother

For most people, Mother’s Day is a time to spoil your special lady silly. But if you’ve lost a mother the day can be laden with grief. If this is the case, the arrival of Mother’s Day can conjure up feelings of sadness, loneliness, anger, alienation and despair. While this pain deserves respect and recognition, it’s important not to slip into “negative coping” habits. Instead, empower yourself with positive bereavement techniques like acceptance, engagement and celebration. It could also help to remember a mantra put forward by the lovely Queen Elizabeth, who mused that “Grief is the price we pay for love”. Truthfully, it’s worth it.


Management techniques for kids

This Mother’s Day, older generations may find themselves grieving the loss of a daughter or daughter-in-law. If there are kids involved knowing how to approach Mother’s Day can be difficult. While every situation is different, and no single set of advice can be applied to all families, the consensus is that Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate. So, rather than simply gloss over Mother’s Day or ignore it altogether, why not bring the family together and spend the day celebrating the memory of a mother that’s passed on? Bake cakes, throw a BBQ, uncork a bottle of bubbly… it’s not always easy but celebrating life can be a powerful way to manage grief, whether it’s raw or several years in the making. Without being pushy, why not try encouraging family members to chat about the mother you’ve lost and reminisce about the smiles, laughs and memories you shared. Photos can be a fantastic way to help the younger kids crystallise their memories.  


Laying low on Mother’s Day

Sometimes, facing Mother’s Day head on can simply be too much. You might not feel ready to transition from grief to celebration, in which case laying low is a completely acceptable option. If you need a little help figuring out how to manage Mother’s Day check out the fantastic advice over at What’s Your Grief. It covers concepts like the importance of allowing yourself to grieve, switching up your routine and the power of distraction. Not to mention the emotional value of being kind to yourself, as well as reaching out for help when you need it.  


Do you have any experience coping with grief or managing an unorthodox attitude towards Mother’s Day? As always, the GrownUps community would love to hear from you so go ahead and share in the comments below.