It's often difficult to remember your mother and rejoice over your life as a mother at the same time. From nursery school on, we are trained to celebrate this holiday, first by making our parents cards out of construction paper and pipe cleaners, and later by buying them gifts. Our role as sons and daughters is clearly defined. And when we become parents, we also know what we're supposed to do: receive all the attention and smile!
But when my mom passed away when I was 25, before I was married and had children of my own, the holiday changed forever. The truth is, being a mom hasn't removed the part of me that was also a daughter, and sometimes Mother's Day is just a painful reminder of her absence. Remarkably, nearly 50 percent of moms and dads who took the Parentless Parents Survey for my new book "Parentless Parents" find themselves grieving more on Mother's Day than celebrating.
So what can you do to make Mother's Day less painful and a lot more joyful?
I think the best antidote is to honor your mother, despite her absence. And not just privately. Share your thoughts. Tell stories to your children. Take the time to cook a special dish that reminds you of your mom.
It's also important to connect with other parents who understand what you're going through. It's not automatic that your friends "get" what it's like to be a parentless parent, and sometimes not even your spouse understands, particularly if he hasn't lost a parent. "Parentless Parents" has a Group page on Facebook, and it's a great place to feel validated and supported and to exchange ideas.
Last, I think it's hugely important to take care of yourself. Don't wait for anyone to give you what you need. If you're having a tough Mother's Day, give yourself permission to take a step away from your family and do something just for you. Go for a walk. Get a massage. In essence, be a parent to yourself.
Follow Allison Gilbert on Twitter: www.twitter.com/agilbertwriter
|globeandmail Video: Brothers arrested in New Orleans Mother's Day parade shooting http://t.co/UOG6vqn8TA|
|NOLAnews Mother's Day shooting suspects have ties to 7th Ward gang, police say http://t.co/iPXH01R6x3|
|BetsyMTP Culture of violence: One New Orleans Mother's Day shooting victim a little boy, 2nd time he's been injured in shootings in his 10 short yrs.|
|laurieblakeman Had a fantastic time volunteering with Meals on Wheels for Mother's Day. We delivered to some amazing seniors,... http://t.co/FmpmwqgbiD|
|nynewsn Two brothers arrested in New Orleans Mother's Day parade shootings, victim toll rises http://t.co/5894e9eja4 #newyork #nyc|
|The_Gambit Akein Scott's brother and 4 others in custody for Mother's Day shootings: Returning to the intersection of Fr... http://t.co/cmMXipiVal|
|NOLAnews Mother's Day shooting suspect Akein Scott hid at 22-year-old woman's house, police say http://t.co/cT5LRAIYHF|
|BetterAfter50 There's a strong cord that connects dogs and their owners. Read this #BA50's Mother's Day story here. http://t.co/G5dKwRLRVV|
|AntDeRosa Mayor Landrieu, Law Enforcement officials announce arrests in Mother's Day shooting http://t.co/xjDZX4XewI|
|The_Gambit Blood drive Wednesday for victims of Mother's Day shooting: The New Orleans Musicians' Clinic has finalized pl... http://t.co/YOWb6iGEj2|
|The_Gambit Akein Scott in custody: Akein Scott, the 19-year-old suspect in the Mother's Day second line shootings, was a... http://t.co/iq9BvrFWTx|
|MSchleifstein Mother's Day second-line shootings related to gang battle, authorities say http://t.co/HeSndxMHTp|
|iNewsroom [ALERT] Police: 2nd suspect arrested in Mother's Day parade shooting that wounded 20 in New Orleans.. | AP #Breaking|
|AntDeRosa Suspect charged in New Orleans Mother's Day shooting http://t.co/QXDXs5OAkt|
|NOLAnews BREAKING: Landrieu confirms more arrests in Mother's Day shootings, including for harboring a fugitive - http://t.co/LUyYXLXwK0|
|BreakingNews Live video: New Orleans city leaders hold news conference to discuss Mother's Day parade shooting - @NBCNews http://t.co/faoOImvhmg|
|The_Gambit Big blood drive set for Wed. on Frenchmen St. in response to Mother's Day shootings. Info: http://t.co/NjCm6vgj7K|
|TheLensNOLA Loyola scholar C.W. Cannon: Mother's Day horror coincides with a sea change in public attitudes toward parading. http://t.co/XWH4KJ2LOZ|
|NOLAnews Second suspect in Mother's Day shootings arrested, sources say http://t.co/vUQj0YEkZQ|
|NOLAnews Second suspect in Mother's Day shootings arrested, sources say http://t.co/dqOmyRmRF0|