When Mother’s Day comes in the midst of divorce proceedings, there is not enough you can do for your divorcing friend. There are treats and cards. If the children are with their father then umpteen invitations will be showered upon the almost single mother. What about the next ten Mother’s Days after divorce? Some parents have put in their parenting plans that the kids spend Mother’s or Father’s Days with the parent that is being honored. Others do a trade for the day without a legal mandate.
My first Mother’s Day happened during a contentious divorce with my husband threatening to pull out of collaborative proceedings for a battle in court. It was very unsettling, and I barely remember that holiday. We did what we usually had done and went to an elaborative Mother’s Day brunch. My mother made sure that I had a present from each son, so had taken them out shopping earlier in the week. She gave me something nice, too. Two years later we started new traditions to make the day seem more like it belonged to us. We exorcised the ghosts of Mother’s Day past, and did not do anything like we did when I was still married. We shook up our routine and had a simple meal out followed by an anticipated movie. This year we will have a celebratory latte and lunch followed by Paul Blart’s film, “Mall Cop 2.” Celebrate in a new way, whether or not you have the kids with you.
Here are some ideas for embarking on new traditions for this day. Have a brunch at your place and invite other women, whether or not they are mothers. Make it extra festive with some champagne or Bloody Marys. Ask your children for suggestions on how to celebrate this occasion in other ways. If you have family nearby, get together with them and the kids will have fun with cousins. When I was little, I treated my divorced mother at a reasonable family restaurant every Mother’s Day in a more rural area. It was a beautiful drive and the cost was within my allowance. Give your kids the chance to do something nice for you.
What to do if you are alone on Mother’s Day? Consider taking a mini trip somewhere. Do something to distract you that is interesting. I know two divorced women with grown children who live in distant cities who are off to France this week on a packaged tour. These lucky ones will be celebrating Mother’s Day on the Riviera. There are travel agencies that have trips for singles in wonderful locales. It is nice to have the camaraderie of a group. Some folks choose to give back to others which takes the focus off themselves. Volunteering is a way to feel fulfilled, particularly if the kids are with dad and a new stepmother. My mother worked on this holiday as a nurse, when I had visitation with my father. Some nail salons are open on Sundays, so a manicure and pedicure can be just the ticket to raise up one’s spirits. Sometimes there are free concerts or craft fairs on this day which are fun to attend.
One thing to a avoid: giving into the temptation of dulling the ache of loneliness by self-medication. I know of a circumstance where the father was engaging in parental alienation and the daughter did not contact her mom on Mother’s Day. This women had an accidental fatal overdose of medications, including combining anti-depressants along with alcohol. Over imbibing does not get rid of a problem, it merely postpones doing something about it.
Decide if you want to stay busy, or laze around on the couch reading the latest bestseller. Whatever you decide to do, high quality chocolate will make it even better!