Making the Best of Mother’s Day Without Your Mom


Making the Best of Mother's Day Without Your MomAs strange as this may sound, not all of us moms look forward to Mother’s Day. We belong to that awful club of people who have lost our moms, and Mother’s Day is hands-down one of the most difficult holidays we encounter in our grief. 

My television has made me roll my eyes, change the channel, or just turn it off countless times since May began. I am inundated with commercials reminding me how important my mother is, and how I need to make sure not to “forget her” this year. But if there’s anything I literally do every day in the four years since my mom died, it’s remember her … and miss her terribly. 

Mother’s Day can become a bit complicated, to say the least. So what do you do about that? I have had a few years to try and adjust to this new “normal” without my mom, and it’s taken some trial and error to figure out ways to get through the day without just feeling flat-out sad. If you are new to grief, these things may not help you … yet. But in time, I hope some of the things that have helped me will help you too. 

Skip It

Yep. Just skip it. Treat it like any other day on the calendar. I know that might sound a little extreme, but there are no rules for grieving, other than to do what works best for you. So if that means Mother’s Day is just “Sunday” for you, that’s alright. That may be the kindest thing you can do for yourself. 

Focus On The Kids 

I know. We already do this every day as it is. But when Mother’s Day is a fun day for my daughters, I don’t think as much about my own heartache. Try cooking out, playing outside, having a movie day, or something along those lines. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, unless you want it to be. But have a good time just being “one of the kids” along with your little ones. 

Spoil Another Mom In Your Life 

Since my mom died, few things have been more healing to me than helping others. Mother’s Day is no exception. Whether it’s an aunt, a friend, your partner’s mom, or your grandmother, take the chance to love on a mom in your life. You may find that it helps you get through a tough day to make the day more special for someone else — especially if that mom is grieving someone too. 

Give A Gift In Memory Of Your Mom

It was very difficult not buying a gift for my mom on the first Mother’s Day I spent without her. So instead, I donated to one of her favorite charities in her memory. You might find it helpful to pick a local charity and do the same. It’s a great way to give back, and honor your mother at the same time. 

Find Ways To Make Your Mom Part Of Your Day

It’s taken some time, but I have started to find ways to make my mom part of my difficult grief holidays and anniversaries. On my mom’s birthday (also in May) I spend time with my dad and brother and we go to lunch together. On the anniversary of the day my mom died (also in May — it’s a tough month), I plant something new in the memorial garden my husband and I made for her in our yard. You may find that doing something like this helps you too. I can make my mom part of those hard days, and honor and remember her, and then I can find ways to make the hard days enjoyable. 

Take Care Of Yourself

Do whatever makes the day as good as it can be. You may feel just fine on Mother’s Day, and that’s absolutely OK. In fact, it’s pretty awesome. More than anything, remember you will always be your mother’s child, and she would want nothing more than for you to be OK on a hard day. So take care of yourself, because that is the best gift you could ever give her.

Are you missing your mom this Mother’s Day? What has helped you?

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Hannah Gunning
Hannah is the Marketing Coordinator for Columbia Mom, as well as a contributing writer. She lives in Irmo with her husband and two young daughters, along with a very energetic yorkshire terrier. Hannah graduated from the University of South Carolina with a bachelor's degree in Marketing and Management, and from Colorado State University with a master's degree in Accounting. She spent some of her time at USC as a political cartoonist for The Gamecock, the university’s newspaper. Hannah is passionate about writing, social justice, coffee, and raising strong women. You can also find her writing at Her View From Home, as well as her blog, Palindromic Musings, where she writes about living with and navigating through grief.


  1. Words of wisdom that are given in love from a grieving heart! Beautifully written Hannah!! I have admired the way you have handled your grief, and learned from your heartfelt approach to grieving. Your willingness to share with others comes out of your strength. Thank you for who you are!! I love you!!!


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