Let’s just say it: Mother’s Day is the nuclear bomb of holidays when you don’t have children. In normal times, it’s a day of brunches, church services, and flowers, when shops, offices, restaurants, and even our social media feeds are filled with celebrations of moms and all things motherhood. To top it all, this holiday has somehow escaped the political correctness cleanup that other holidays have undergone, so while many people are hesitant these days to wish someone a Merry Christmas, lest they offend, no one seems to have any qualms about wishing everyone a Happy Mother’s Day.
This year is bound to be different for many of us who are lockdown, so it’s hard to predict how it will hit us. One thing is for certain, the day won’t go without some sort of fanfare.
It took me a long time to be able to face Mother’s Day, but in more recent years I’ve done something fun for myself on that weekend. A couple of years ago I planned a trapeze class and another year I ran a half marathon at Disneyland. Each year, I’m able to note that the day bothers me less and less, and I use it to mark my own progress. I know that many of you aren’t there yet, and from past experience I know that it pays to face the day prepared.
If you plan to venture out over Mother’s Day weekend (assuming you’re allowed), be ready for almost everyone to wish you a happy Mother’s Day. This includes friends, neighbors, sales assistants, parking attendants, and even complete strangers you pass on your daily permitted exercise. Prepare your arsenal of stock replies and be ready to respond, so you don’t find yourself caught unawares and having to explain why you’re standing in the middle of the street in tears, yelling “It’s not a happy day at all!” to an unsuspecting stranger. My standard response is to say “Thank you. You too” and move on as quickly as possible.
Once you’re aware of the inevitable challenges the day can bring, it’s good to make a plan to keep yourself protected. If you know you’re not going to be able to make it through the day with your emotions intact, stay at home or make plans to go somewhere away from the biggest challenge spots. If you’re expected to attend a family gathering, even if it’s online, consider if you could take a pass, just this year. Even if the next Mother’s Day is months from now, take a few minutes to jot down the challenges you might face and come up with a plan. How will you spend the day? How will you honor your own mother? And how will you deal with the challenges you can’t avoid?