When Mother’s Day Isn’t a Celebration

Mother’s Day can be hard for some, but here’s how you can help.

By: Amanda Mushro
Closeup shot of two people holding hands in comfort


Closeup shot of two people holding hands in comfort

Photo by: PeopleImages


While Mother’s Day is a sweet celebration for many people, it can be a day that brings up a lot of grief, pain, and anger for others. Instead being a fun experience, like showering mom with flowers and gifts at brunch, the days leading up to Mother’s Day (and the holiday itself) can feel dark and lonely. So, if you have a friend who struggles with Mother’s Day and you want to offer support, here are a few gentle ways to step in and help.

1. Take a Social Media Break

Encourage your friend to take a short hiatus from all social media on the days leading up to and after Mother’s Day. Since many people will hop online and post messages of love and admiration for their moms, it can be triggering for those struggling with the holiday to see those posts over and over. A simple solution is to remove all social media from their phones, which will eliminate any temptation to mindlessly scroll. After a few days, they can go back online without feeling bombarded by Mother’s Day posts.

2. Simply Listen

When we are struggling with emotions, we often need someone to listen to us and allow us vent. Give your friend a call, offer to take them on a walk so they can chat, or stop by and be their sounding board as they work through the feelings they have surrounding Mother’s Day.

3. Make Plans

Help your friend stay busy the entire weekend. Instead of staying home on Mother’s Day or going to places where families will be celebrating, help your loved one find ways to stay active and distracted. If they have a hobby that they love, encourage them to make time for that activity during the holiday weekend. If you are able to go with them, even better.

4. Honor Their Grief

If your friend is grieving on Mother’s Day, help them honor the person they lost. Ask if there is a way you can honor their loved one together. It can be as simple as lighting a candle for them or doing something that they loved, like going to the movies or baking together.

5. Avoid Complaining

We all need a good vent session to complain about our own lives, but it’s important to be mindful of our friends' feelings during this holiday. So, if your friend has a difficult relationship with their mother or they are grieving a loss, now is not the time for you to chat about your mom’s annoying habits.

6. Small Gestures

Often, small gestures can have a great impact. If you can deliver a note to your friend, drop off flowers, or send them a funny meme or Tiktok to cheer them up, your efforts will help lift their spirits.

7. Support, Not Fix

Remember that the feelings and emotions your friend or loved one is working through on Mother’s Day do not have an expiration date. Your goal should be to support them in how they choose to spend this day not "fix" how they are feeling.

While Mother’s Day may be a day of celebration (or even just another day) for many, acknowledging that this holiday is hard for some — and finding ways to help support them — can make a world of difference.


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