Hi! I'm Tash, a third year English student and (very very very) amateur photographer, who is liable to accidentally dye my light clothes (or friends, or seats, or walls) blue with my hair whenever it rains :)
Mother’s Day is Sunday the 14th of March, and while this holiday is a time to celebrate with your family for most of us, for those who have a strained relationship with their mother, may have lost their mum or cannot be with the people they want to celebrate with this year due to travel restrictions, some of us find this time difficult. While the cards and gifts popping up in shops can make it hard to avoid reminders of Mother’s Day as it approaches, there are a bunch of ways you can support someone you love or help yourself if this is a difficult day for you.
Firstly, there are lots of charities and organisations that are available to help anyone who might be struggling around Mother’s Day, like Samaritans, The Bereavement Trust and YoungMinds just to name a few. Charities like these offer impartial and personal help to anyone who wants someone to talk to about how they’re coping or feeling. Accepting that this time is difficult for yourself or someone you love and allowing yourself or helping them to reach out for help with how they’re feeling around this holiday can really help alleviate some of the sadness and negativity felt around days like Mother’s Day.
Particularly for someone who has lost their parent or whose mother isn’t in their life, the traditional expectations or celebrations of Mother’s Day can feel out of reach. But there is no reason you have to stick just to these old ideas; why not start your own traditions! If instead you have a friend, sibling, grandparent or other close person who has helped you and looked after you, why not use this day to celebrate that relationship instead? Or if your mum or whoever it is you’d want to celebrate with on this day has passed away, use this day to remember and celebrate your time with them. Starting your own new traditions for Mother’s Day, making this time your own to celebrate who and how you want can help take away the expectations that add to some of the unhappiness around days like Mother’s Day.
Also, if you or someone close to you has felt the loss of this kind of relationship, why not try and use this day to offer yourself to others to help and fill that supporting role? There are lots of buddy and pen-pal programmes out there that can help put you in touch with people who could use the company around this time, from older people who find themselves lonely, people suffering bereavement of either their parent or child, or kids in the adoption or foster care systems. Using your own experience of struggle around this time, you could be an invaluable support to others also having a difficult time, and using these programmes to reach out can benefit both yourself and those you are paired with.
Donating to charities is also a way to show love on Mother’s Day; there are plenty of charities that work with parents in need who would appreciate the support, or if your mum received help from a particular group making a donation to them on her behalf is a great way to feel involved positively in the day. A few examples of organisations that would be great to support around this time, whether with money or volunteering your time, are Gingerbread (who support single parents), HomeStart (a community volunteer-run family support group) and Family Fund (who help to support low-income families raising disabled children), as well as the numerous bereavement and mental health charities who offer support around this time.
Finally, if due to lockdown and the travel restrictions currently in place this is going to be your first Mother’s Day away from who you want to celebrate with, it can be really tough but there are still a handful of ways you can celebrate and show your love! Putting together a little care or gift package to send out to them or arranging little treats for them around today and in the future, either to be delivered or organised with someone isolating with them, will make sure they know you’re thinking about them. There are also always ways to get in touch – phone or video calls are such a great and easy way to spend a little time with the person you’re celebrating. Plus, if you want to give yourself and them something to look forward to when you next get to see them, why not make some plans together, maybe a day out or activity you can do together? There’s no need to feel restricted to just one Sunday!