Mother’s Day is about a week away here in the U.S. For some, plans have been made, cards have been thoughtfully selected, and gifts will soon be bought. For others, uncertainty and sorrow may be looming ahead. Mother’s Day can be an emotionally difficult day for those whose mothers are no longer living or with whom they have a strained relationship. Each passing Mother’s Day brings a different set of emotions and questions on how one can navigate the upcoming days. While this is not an all-encompassing list for the daughters and sons on Mother’s Day, here are 5 ways to help ease difficult emotions that may come up.
- Eliminate catastrophizing or fortune telling.Watch your self-talk and try your best to eliminate doubts about your ability to manage. Harmful statements may be self-talk such as “I’m not going to make it through this day” or “I won’t be able to handle another Mother’s Day.” Even saying “I can’t wait for the day to be over” can put you in emotional turmoil and derail you for the day. Instead of such statements, replace them with “I can do hard things” and accept the emotions as they come.
- Identify a present, mother figure in your life. This figure may be related or unrelated to you. This figure could also be a coworker or someone who just “checks in.” Once you’ve identified this person, take some time to connect with her. Perhaps consider taking this person out to lunch the Saturday before (see point #5) or delivering a heartfelt message in a card. This act of gratitude will, in turn, uplift you as well.
- Honor your mother in the best way you can, if possible. This may mean remembering the good times and taking small moments to recreate them. If your mother is deceased, perhaps you can wear her favorite color on Mother’s Day. If there is a favorite movie you two enjoyed, perhaps watching it in the comfort of your home, will bring you some joy. Whatever it is, just think on ways you feel comfortable honoring the parent that is not in your present life.
- Plan intentional self-care. Yes, I said it. Plan the self-care. Don’t wait for Mother’s Day to come and then try to wing it. If this day has been particularly difficult for you or if this is your first Mother’s Day without your mother, it will help to look forward to something you have planned for yourself. If the massage is what you want, go for it! Just keep in mind self-care also includes cleaning your space, sticking to your own routines, and saying “no” to requests that may come in that day.
- Avoid or decrease visual flooding. There will be situations and locations where you may be flooded with images of dynamic mother-daughter duos. Even the perception of strangers as mother and daughter may be a tear-jerker. The main culprit being social media. Set a goal of avoiding or decreasing your social media usage. Of course, we can’t eliminate all visual triggers but if you’re sensitive to images, these situations can be overwhelming.
Some points may work for you and others may not, just identify where you are. The hope for this post is to let you know that you can, indeed, do hard things on hard days. Navigate Mother’s Day in ways you are most comfortable.
P.S. Remember growth can happen anywhere, even in the stuck places.