Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother’s Day Daze Post-Divorce

Mother’s day, being one of those family holidays, presents the usual dilemmas post-divorce.  What sort of rituals are you abandoning?  If your kids are too young to make you breakfast, what then?  And if they’re too young to make breakfast, they’re too young to do all the things the ex-spouse might have done to give you a break on this day.  If they’re too old to care about making breakfast (read teenager here), what then?  Having to do chores on Mother’s Day can be disappointing.  It triggers those poor- poor-pitiful-me feelings.  It can put you in a daze.

How do you deal with the hurt around being on your own?  Or, how weird is it to have a Mother’s Day without the father, or, also potentially odd, with someone who is not your children’s father?  And who buys the gifts and cards for the mother, or step-mother?  Hint, hint, dads.   And what about paternal grandmothers?  They can get short shrift on this day which is normally reserved for mothers of all generations.  Then there are daughters who are now mothers themselves.  Fathers would like to share in their daughter’s celebration of her own Mother’s Day, but then there’s the ex-wife/mother to contend with.  It can get complicated.

Years later it can bring up feelings you thought you were over.  So what’s the solution?  As usual, you’ve got to figure out new rituals, new strategies and determine that you’re going to enjoy the day even if it is different, or less than perfect.  By the way, was it perfect before?

I’ve heard several people talk about getting chores done on Saturday in order to enjoy the day.  Some of these people are still married.  Recognize that if there’s no one to buy you a gift, you may have to buy yourself one.  How bad is that?  Can you time-share for grandmothers or other mothers that want time with the kids?  Or suggest an additional day for these celebrations?  Recognize that it’s all going to change over time.

About that intention to enjoy the day…figure out what you’ll need to make that happen.  Do you need someone to watch the kids while you run or take a nap?  Do you need to get take-out if you don’t enjoy cooking?  Will buying a book or renting a movie make it more fun?  How about having friends over?  Do whatever it takes.  You know best what will make it relaxing, exciting or dazzling, without being in a daze.  Finally, in the words of Fran Lebowitz, Ask your child what he wants for dinner only if he is buying.

There’s no better excuse for a Beatles song than to honor our day.

Though she was born a long, long time ago…

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