10 Ways to Celebrate a Single Mom’s Mother’s Day

​After many years of Anna Jarvis promoting a special day to honor all mothers and the sacrifices they made for their children, President Wilson proclaimed Mother’s Day an official U.S. holiday in 1914. The second Sunday in May rapidly became one of the biggest holidays for consumer spending, second only to Christmas. Hallmark reports that Mother’s Day cards are their third bestsellers, behind Christmas and Valentine’s Day.

Following the money, advertisers inundate us with weeks of commercials and print ads showing a woman being pampered on Mother’s Day. Her husband and kids are bringing her breakfast in bed, showering her with presents, taking over her chores for the day, taking her out for a lavish brunch.

But what if you’re a single mom and your kids aren’t capable of cooking you breakfast, driving a car to get presents for you or paying for a fancy brunch?

If life were fair, a single Mom would be getting double the celebration since she’s doing the job of two parents, but often Mother’s Day for a single mom passes with little fanfare.

Being a single mom for 10 years, I experienced many holidays alone with my kids. In the early years, I was grateful for the preschool teachers that had the children make pictures out of their handprints. I treasured those homemade necklaces made of macaroni and the footprints set in plaster. Although almost all moms love the homemade gifts, they may have special significance for the single mother. It may be the only gift she gets for Mother’s Day.

If you’re a single mom, I think it’s important that you find a way to acknowledge this day and have your children honor you. It may seem self-serving, but I believe it’s important for your children to recognize all that you do and take a day to celebrate you. Even a toddler can sit and draw a picture for Mom or do a small chore for you. You could have an older child make you a simple meal of toast and juice or make your bed for you. It’s an important part of development for kids to look outside themselves and provide a service of thanks to another. There is no value, to you or your children, in being a martyr.

If you are a divorced man with children, please remember that even though you divorced your wife, she is still the mother of your children. You would be teaching your children a valuable lesson in kindness and thoughtfulness if you were to take them shopping for a card and gift for their mother. I was fortunate that my ex-husband continued to assist our children with shopping for Mother’s Day cards and gifts when they were very young. Sadly, this is not always the case in co-parenting situations.

For close friends and family members of a single mom of young kids, here are a few ideas that she might appreciate:

  1. Take photographs of the kids and frame them.
  2. Invite the children for an afternoon outing so she can have a free afternoon.
  3. Give her an afternoon of yard work.
  4. Write a letter praising her parenting abilities and strengths.
  5. Give gift certificates to child-friendly restaurants.
  6. Help young children make her a card or draw a picture.
  7. Take older kids shopping and help them select a card or small gift.
  8. Give her a gift certificate to a spa.
  9. Include her and her kids in your family celebration.
  10. Offer to babysit.

Ironically, Anna Jarvis, the founder of Mother’s Day, never married, never had children and eventually renounced Mother’s Day as having become too commercial. Her efforts to rescind Mother’s Day failed and the holiday has become firmly planted in our culture. It’s a day to honor all mothers and I’m wishing a special Happy Mother’s Day to all the women who are parenting on their own. Sometimes you might be exhausted, broke and frustrated but remember that you are strong, brave, loving and worthy of celebrating!

Categories: Parenting