Not every Mother’s Day is filled with handpicked flowers, sweet homemade cards and blueberry pancakes in bed. As stories of Circle of Moms members make crystal clear, you’re not at all alone if you find the big day bittersweet. When a mother-child bond in your life has been complicated by loss, divorce, or just plain inconsiderateness, you may just wish the holiday would disappear.
When You've Lost Your Own Mom or a Child
Grief over the loss of our own mothers taints the joy of the holiday for many moms. As Caryn S. shared: “I just lost my mother Jan. of this year. The days leading up to Mother's Day and that day were the hardest since the funeral. Mother's Day will never be the same for me. I couldn't get it over with fast enough.”
Pamela L. expressed similar feelings: “My mom died three years ago and my son was only 18 months old. Mother's Day is something to get through. I love being a mom and enjoy Mother's Day for my son and husband, but all the advertising and sentiments only remind me of my mom. Mother's Day was always about her, not me.”
And if you've lost a child, Mother’s Day can be downright heart wrenching. “I hate the thought of Mother's Day,” says Kimberly P. “Last year I just wanted to lay in bed all day.” Heather B. echoed her sentiment: “This Mother's Day will be the day after our year anniversary of his full term stillbirth. Just the thought makes me want to throw up.”
Many moms say the holiday unfortunately doesn't get easier over time. Several years after losing her 18-year-old son, Sandra F. shared: “I think it gets harder because I miss my son so much more...I still hate the thought of Mother's Day and I try to ignore it as much as possible.”
When Your Family Set-up is Complicated
Countless moms dread Mother's Day because of blended family situations that complicate expectations for the day. As a step-mom, Amanda M. feels deeply hurt when her stepchildren spend Mothers Day with their birth mother: “One of the toughest things for me (step mom of 2 boys that we've had with us since they were 2 and 3 for about 8 years) is that they always go for the day with their bio-mom on Mother's Day and I always feel frustrated or just plain 'blue.'"
Hurt feelings aren't limited to blended families. Many moms are deeply disappointed by the lack of attention, effort, or gratitude displayed by their partners and children on Mother's Day. Stephanie M. recalls: “This was my first Mothers Day too, and I didn’t even get a happy Mothers Day from my man.”
The upshot of these stories? Moms who dislike Mother's Day are in good company, and there's no reason to feel guilty about wanting to spend the day grieving instead of celebrating, or to treat the day like any other. Go ahead and spend it however you like — after all, you don't need a holiday to remind you of what's really important: the bonds between you and your children.