Most moms, even single ones, pictured themselves in a loving, committed relationship, raising a child with a partner. Sure, there are those who intentionally entered motherhood as a single mom but for the large majority of us, that was not the goal. Yet, due to various sets of circumstances, there are approximately 12 million single parent families in the U.S., with over 80% of those being led by single mothers. And while I don't have a statistic on this, I am pretty confident that a vast majority of those mothers, did not plan to be a single mom. And there are probably many of them that carry the sting of this reality on a regular basis.
So, it's no wonder that Mother's Day, a happy occasion created to celebrate motherhood, can bring some sadness for single moms. Maybe it's a reminder of what they once had and lost, whether to divorce or death. or of something they never got to experience or, more importantly, give to her children.
Whatever the reason or whatever her story, the single mom may not experience the celebration of Mother's Day in the same way as most mothers with partners.
She probably won't get breakfast in bed, flowers or even a gift. It's not likely that she'll get the afternoon off to have some "me" time or be told "Happy Mother's Day" from the person she created humans with.
I am a single mom myself and though I won't be getting breakfast in bed, I will still be celebrated more than many single moms. I will get gifts from my parents and siblings because that's what we do. I have no reason to believe that I won't hear from my son's dad and it wouldn't be too crazy to think he might throw in a "you're a great mom" or something like that. Which, again, I know is far more than most single moms will get.
So, for all of those moms that may not have the support system that I have or an amicable relationship with their child's father like I do, I want to share some simple ways that you might be able to make what might be a bittersweet day, a little more sweet than bitter for a single mom.
Go out of your way to wish her a Happy Mother's Day.
This may seem insignificant to you but to be thought of could make all the difference to a mom that is flying solo in parenting - send a text, make a phone call, seek her out at church or brunch.
Give her a small gift or card.
If you have a close friend or family member that is a single mom, you might consider giving her a small gift on Mother's Day. Especially, if she has young children, depending on her support system, it may be the only gift she receives! It doesn't even have to be a gift. A card or handwritten note works just as well.
Help her children give her a gift.
Last year for Mother's Day, my sister bought me some chocolates on my son's behalf. He was so proud and happy to present me with "his" gift. The fact that my sister gave him that joy, made me far more happy than the chocolates. (Of course, I did enjoy them!)
Perhaps instead of giving a gift of your own, you can help a family members' children pick out a small gift for their mom. While you may have a partner that will do this, a single mom doesn't and getting a gift from her child could make her day. Plus, it might make her child's day, too.
Tell her she's a good mom.
I really believe one of the most powerful things you can do to help brighten a single mom's Mother's Day is to simply tell her what a great mom she is. This doesn't mean you need to pity her. In fact, leave out the fact that you "don't know how she does it", just tell her what a great mom she is - tell her something you admire about her parenting. Every mom appreciates affirmation and while most moms with partners will experience this at the very least on Mother's Day, most single moms will not.
I know that Mother's Day is your day but, trust me, taking a few minutes to acknowledge a mama without a partner could make a tremendous impact in her world, even if just for a day!
And Happy Mother's Day to you!
I'd love to hear your ideas on how to make Mother's Day special for a single mom in your life. Or maybe you are a single mom. What would make your day?