Months after my divorce, when the dust had settled, the holidays rolled around. I didn’t realize at first what that would mean as a single parent. I had already been the one who shopped and paid for all of the presents. It was even rare for me to receive much of a gift from my former spouse. But I approached the holidays realizing that there was no chance of me receiving anything under the tree because my small children were too young to acknowledge it. Instead, I bought myself a ton of gifts and placed them under the tree as a treat for myself. Then, Mother’s Day rolled around.
Once again, I had children too young to really do anything for me and an ex-spouse who would never realize that it was his job to teach the children to honor their mother, even if he didn’t. It was discouraging to realize that on a day meant to celebrate mothers, I would go unremarked. It was more than discouraging- it was devastating. I didn’t even have the heart to come up with something special for myself, the way I’d done at Christmas.
When it comes to Mother’s Day, single mothers often get the short end of the stick. Not only are we the primary caregivers, if not the only ones, most of the year, but we’re the ones who are busy doing the gift buying and celebration of other people in our lives. When a holiday rolls around meant to celebrate us, we can practically hear the crickets, especially when we have young kids who don’t realize the significance of the day.
For this reason, I’ve come up with a list of ways we can support single moms this Mother’s Day:
- Help their child make a card for them.
- Acknowledge the day. Even just saying Happy Mother’s Day might be all they hear that day. Don’t let a single mother go the whole day without hearing it.
- Buy them flowers.
- Take them out to lunch.
- Offer to babysit, free of charge and without conditions. Even better- offer to take the kids for an overnight visit.
- Bring them a homemade meal that they didn’t have to cook.
- Buy them a pizza. (Yes, I mention food a lot. We get so tired of shopping and cooking.)
- Gift them something fun and impractical, like a massage or pedicure.
- Gift them something practical that they need — wash their car or change the oil or mow the lawn. Do something they have to do but don’t particularly enjoy. Or maybe can’t afford, like a new haircut.
- Make them a favorite cookie or cake.
Celebrating single mothers on Mother’s Day doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant. Just don’t let us go without any acknowledgement at all. It’s tough to bear the burden of parenting alone most of the time. On this one day, we just want to feel like someone sees and appreciates our efforts- even if it’s only for this one day.