Mother’s Day - What it Means After Divorce

Did you know Mother’s Day was started by a woman who lost her Mother? A woman named Anne Jarvis worked to create a day on the US Calendar to celebrate Moms. Her vision for the day included private celebrations with families to honor Mom. When the day became commercialized, she tried to erase it from the calendars. Obviously, that didn’t happen. (If you’re interested in the history of Mother’s Day, you can read more about it here.)

Mother’s Day remains commercialized, but it’s more than that now. As divorce became a huge part of our culture, Mother’s Day was celebrated by more than Mom’s. It’s celebrated by Stepmoms (though there’s a somewhat unofficial Stepmom Day), Dads, and other caregivers. Anyone in a mothering role is celebrated on Mother’s Day. I think that’s a wonderful thing. It’s incredible that we’re celebrating the nurturing side of anyone in our children's lives.

With that said, I want to talk about what Mother’s Day means to me personally. Before divorce, Mother’s Day was a more traditional breakfast out celebration with my kids. After divorce, I only had my children on Mother’s Days that fell on my weekend. It was one of the agreements my co-parent had to make to allow me to have our daughters on that day. My daughter’s and I celebrated when we could during those years knowing that Mother’s Day didn’t have to fall on 1 calendar day in the year.

Like many Moms, I love the handmade cards and gifts that have been given to me over the years. I’ve kept all of them and continue to display most of them in our house. What these gifts are to me is a reminder that my children took time out of their day to do something for someone who does a lot for them. They took a minute to be reminded of what’s special in our relationship and celebrated that. It makes me wonder, “When was the last time I celebrated what’s special to me about our relationship and celebrated it with my kids?” There’s no “children’s day” where my kids get a card to remind them of why they’re special and what I love about them. Mother’s Day is a reminder to give them just that.

During the years my kids and I weren’t together on Mother’s Day, it was a reminder that every day is special with them. There will always be chores to be done around the house, errands to run, and work to be done. Just as my kids take time out of their schedules to celebrate me, Mother’s Day is a reminder that my time with them home is short. It’s even shorter after a divorce and shared placement. When was the last time us as Moms stopped and celebrated the running around, the things we do for our kids to make them feel special? Mother’s Day is my reminder to be thankful for those times because they'll end far sooner than I would want. 

Mother’s Day isn’t just for Moms. It’s a day to celebrate our time with our children. It doesn’t matter if you celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May or not. What matters is that you celebrate your time and relationship with your children as often as possible.

Comment below with your traditions for Mother’s Day, whether they happen on the calendar day or not! Traditions are a way for our kids to remember the feelings held during that time. See my comment on the traditions we’ve built - some of which were celebrated the week before or the week after.