The single parent’s survival guide to Mother’s Day

As a single parent, holidays can be quite a challenge. It’s during holidays that you can be confronted pretty roughly with the fact that your family is just not an ordinary one.

It has happened to me several times over the past few years that I just wished a holiday could pass unnoticed, and I could only really enjoy myself once it was over. One of those days is Mother’s day, which is celebrated tomorrow in The Netherlands and probably elsewhere too.

Personally, I think Mother’s day isn’t worth the fuss. We should appreciate our mothers everyday, and if you have kids, you know they won’t love you more just for that one day.

For the kids however, Mother’s day is quite an issue. It all starts at school where they have to craft something every year. And then they come home…feelin’ all inspired! For the past few days, my daughters have been buzzing about the house, making drawings and presents, keeping the door to their bedroom closed and yelling; ‘Now you saw what I was doing!’ when I enter their room.

They even went shopping together to get some stuff for a surprise breakfast tomorrow. This year, I decided to quietly enjoy the pre-Mother’s day fuss to the max; listening to those little voices discussing their plans, pretending not to see all the drawings and letters they forgot to hide. I know from experience that  ‘the big day’ itself can be quite stressful. For me, because I am once again confronted with the fact that we’re not the picture perfect ordinary family, and  because I feel presure to make it a great day anyway. And for the kids, who, filled with anticipation, will probably end up quarelling before breakfast is over. I expect at least a tantrum or two tomorrow, knowing how full of temperament they are….

It’ll hardly catch me by surprise! So, after the traditional Mother’s day breakfast fuss is over, I intend to make it a nice Sunday ‘my way’. No stress, and hopefully an afternoon at the beach, enjoying the family that we are.

Lessons I learned:

– Don’t feel the pressure to make it a perfect day ‘because today is a holiday/Mothersday’. You will be stressed by this, and disappointed if in reality your kids are quarreling, calling you a ‘stupid mother’, and yelling ‘I want my present back’.  Yes, a true story!

– If you feel stressed, so will your kids. Relax.

– Do whatever makes you feel good: watching movies in pyama’s, spending time at the beach together, or putting the kids in front of a movie so you have a little ‘free’ time. Do it!

– If things get rough, remember, tomorrow is a new day, and things will be back to normal.

– Take good care of yourself. Which is why I am going to enjoy a good cup of tea, a slice of home made cake (recipe will follow) and go to bed on time!

Good Luck tomorrow!

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