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Reinventing Mother's Day

When someone hears the words "Mother's Day" ideas of breakfast in bed, flowers, and sweet handmade cards come to mind. However, for the many of our readers this commercialized version of Mother's Day can be far from their reality. Raising a child who struggles with their mental health can be a different experience than raising a child who is typically developing, and that becomes even more apparent when Mother's Day rolls around.

Our team gets it, we know what it's like to wake up to just another chaotic Sunday on Mother's Day without anyone acknowledging the day that's supposed to celebrate you. Together we have come up with a list of 5 ways that we have find helps us come to terms with and cope with Mother's Day in our reality, while celebrating it in our own way.

1. Don't compare yourself to others

Comparison is the thief of joy. If you are constantly scrolling through Mother's Day social media posts, watching perfect commercials about luxurious last minute gifts, or talking to other moms at the bus stop about their lavish plans - chances are you're feeling even worse.

This Mother's Day we encourage you to stop doom scrolling. Don't subject yourself to anymore frustration than needed. Maybe it's a good day to steer clear of Facebook and Instagram. If you are talking with other parents don't feel obligated to ask them about their Mother's Day plans.

Some of it will be inevitably impossible to escape, so if you do see someone else's picture perfect Mother's Day - remember that things aren't always as they seem. You don't know what's going on behind that social media post. Right out of frame there could be a husband on the way out the door to golf or a child having a meltdown. You never know and it's best not to compare your situation to a highlight reel like social media.

Mom and daughter dressed as super heroes on Mother's Day

2. Pat yourself on the back

Parenting is the hardest job in the world, and it is only made that much more challenging when your child struggles with their mental health. Think of all of the parenting things that you have accomplished on your motherhood journey so far. You have conquered so many mountains that seemed unclimbable. Whether it was getting your baby to breastfeed, getting your toddler to sleep, mostly, through the night, encouraging your child to manage their anxieties, finding a therapist that fits or helping your child make one great friend - you have put in so much hard work.

Use Mother's Day this year to reflect back on all of the difficult things you did to help your child. All of the times you stepped outside of your comfort zone, all of the times you used your voice to make sure their needs were considered. If you don't get the kind of gratitude you deserve today we want to remind you that what you do every single day is remarkable.

3. Feel what you feel

It is so much easier said than done to not put pressure on yourself and your family to have the perfect Mother's Day. Societal images of what Mother's Day is and isn't supposed to be are so ingrained in our minds that it can be difficult and even emotional when it doesn't live up to the expectation.

If you feel sad - feel it. If you feel angry - feel that too. Don't feel guilty for being a human being with emotions. If you need to sit in your car after grocery shopping and get a good cry out - do that. If you need to call up an old friend and vent - do that too! Mother's Day evokes good and bad emotions for a lot of people and you deserve to feel however you feel.

mom relaxing on Mother's Day

4. Do something to celebrate you!

Being a mom can be difficult, but it can also so special. We encourage you to find little moments to celebrate your own journey this Mother's Day. Whether it's scrolling through baby pictures in your phone, looking back at your children's old artwork, or chatting with a trusted friend about being a mom. Even if you don't feel like it is living up to the commercialized hype - this can still be a day where you think about and celebrate your experiences thus far as a mom.

5. Protect your Peace

Some families like to get together with people outside of their immediate family on Mother's Day to celebrate all of the moms in the family. This is a beautiful idea in theory but for the mom of a child who struggles with their mental health this can almost make things worse. Now you aren't getting the day you envisioned AND you have to stress about your child's behavior in a fancy brunch place? That's just unfair.

This isn't just your mom's, or your mother in-laws Mother's Day - it's yours too. If you need to decline events of this nature to protect your own sanity this Mother's Day don't feel bad about it. Especially if this is the kind of crowd who will roll their eyes at your child's behavior or make unhelpful parenting comments.

6. Be as selfish as you can reasonably be

All this to say - this is still a day to celebrate YOU, even if your family isn't involved with it in the way you see that other families are. For 365 days this year you have made sacrifices, you have thought tirelessly about how to help your child, and you have moved mountains to get them the help they need. Don't feel like you have to wait around for someone else to celebrate you. Buy your own flowers, chocolates or jewelry if you want. You've earned them!

We know this may feel a bit strange but we encourage you to be selfish this Mother's Day in the ways that work for your situation. Maybe you don't get up as early as you usually to knock out housework. Or maybe you get up even earlier and you run and grab a fancy iced coffee while your partner is at home with the kids.

woman getting coffee on Mother's Day

It may not be reality for a mom who is raising a child who is struggling to be able to leave the house the whole day and get a manicure and massage - but you can make the conscious effort to not treat Mother's Day like any other day. Maybe instead of having to cook you order pizza and save yourself the time and energy of cooking and cleaning. Maybe you decide to ask your oldest child to watch their siblings for 45 minutes and you get to go on an uninterrupted walk listening to your favorite songs. Maybe you stop by the garden center and pick yourself up some lovely flowers for your yard or window box.

Be creative and infuse small moments that make this Mother's Day feel like what it is - a day to pause, reflect, and celebrate all of the incredible work you do.

For most the isolation doesn't stop when Mother's Day is over. Are you feeling like nobody gets what it's like to raise a child who is struggling? Trust us - we've been there. Click here to listen to our weekly podcast This Isn't What I was Expecting to listen in on the conversations of moms who get it.



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