Tips for Dealing with Mother's Day Disappointment

May 09, 2022

Now that we're on the other side of Mother's Day, let's have some real talk.

Mother's Day can be a tough holiday for many moms. The expectations are often high, and the reality is that not every child, stepchild, or partner will be able to fully express their gratitude -- or do so in a way that meets mama's expectations. For other mamas, Mother's Day can open wounds of loss or sadness, or be a harsh reminder of unhappy feelings. In many cases, the disparity between mama's expectations and the reality of the day can lead to feelings of disappointment, which then can lead to feelings of resentment, or guilt, or worse.

So what can you do if you find yourself feeling disappointed after Mother's Day?

First, it's important to acknowledge your feelings. It's okay to feel disappointed, and it's definitely not uncommon. (A quick perusal of my local Facebook moms group turns up no less than half a dozen posts on Mother's Day disappointment, all posted on Mother's Day itself!). Give yourself the time and space to process your emotions.

Second, if you're feeling up to it, try to talk to your children, stepchildren, or partner about what you're feeling. This can be a tough conversation to have, but it can also be really helpful in getting everyone on the same page for next year. Be specific about why the day matters to you and how you'd like to acknowledge it. If you want to be alone for the day (which, by the way, is TOTALLY okay), say that. If you want to have brunch and spend the day with your extended family, that's fine too! Be as detailed as you can so everyone can have the same level of understanding.

Third, try to remember that not every Mother's Day will be perfect. Just like with anything else in life, there will be good years and bad years, highs and lows. Don't put so much pressure on yourself (or your family) to make every single Mother's Day into some huge event. Instead, focus on the little moments that make every day special and cherish them for what they are.

Lastly, do something nice for yourself. Remember, your feelings are real and valid and it is okay to treat yourself to some self-care and love too. However you find that -- yoga, journaling, a hike, a long bath, or a good book -- make sure to fill up your cup so you can continue to show up for others, every day of the year.

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