Mother's Day For Single Mums - Why It's Not All Hearts And Flowers

14/08/2014 16:47 | Updated 22 May 2015
Why all I want for Mother's Day is the company of my son

I feel as though I am under a targeted, relentless and somewhat personal attack by the marketeers of Mother's Day.


Everywhere I turn, every promotional email I open, every restaurant special offer leaflet that comes through my door, and every 'seasonal' aisle in every supermarket I visit rubs my face in the fact that the majority of families will be celebrating Mother's Day in a whirl of gastro delights, floral tributes and chocolate-based decadence.


I, meanwhile, will be home alone, probably getting my son's school uniform ready for the following week, and attending to all the other never-ending domestic chores that fall on my shoulders (and my shoulders alone) – Mother's Day or not.

I'm a single mum, and I won't see my son this Mother's Day. There will be no early morning wake up with a haphazard breakfast tray of dry cereal and cold tea. There will be no earnestly made card, leaking glue and torn tissue paper flowers. There will be no box of chocolates and wide-eyed, lip-licking demands to 'open them now'.

There will be no lunch with the extended 'maternals' – mums, sisters, grannies and aunties, taken in a pub or restaurant filled to the rafters with other mothers presiding over their broods, and exuding a mixture of smugness and wonder as they take their place at the head of the table.

My Mothering Sunday as a single parent will be like any other 'access' weekend – the every-other Saturday and Sunday my son stays with his father – I will feel lonely and bitterly resentful that I am parted from my child.

Quite simply, it is heartbreaking. Not because of the lack of cards or flowers – I despise the cashing-in of any occasion, and object to being pressured by advertisers to buy in to any 'day'. Instead, my hurt will come from what my Mother's Day experiences for the past five years since my separation have signified: the fact that I am a parent who has to 'share' their child. And on a day when married friends and family are revelling in their offspring and their status ('mother'), that really stings.

Obviously it hasn't always been this way, and I do have lovely memories of my son giving me cards he had made at nursery when he was three and four, and little gifts when he was in reception and year one at school. Those treasured items – a little clay flower shaped candle holder, and, bizarrely, a clay hedgehog – have pride of place on my office shelves.

But now he is in Year Five, and the card and gift making only happens in the lower school. At almost 10, he is too young to visit the shops himself, and is no doubt totally unaware of when Mother's Day is, anyway.


So in terms of being marked and celebrated, Mothering Sunday just does not exist for me.


But as I say, it is not about the cards and the little gifts – as lovely as they were to receive at the time. It is about the pressure and the expectation and the fact I cannot escape from the constant commercialised, merchandised day, with everything from plant pots to weekend breaks being given an 'ideal Mother's Day gift' label.

Quite simply, my ideal Mother's Day gift would be spending the day with my little boy, doing our usual every-other-Sunday thing: walking the dog, doing homework over a hot chocolate and millionaire's shortbread in Costa, ambling down the tow path and watching the boats at the river.


Because when you only have your child every other weekend, EVERY Sunday is precious and important.


The upside, this Mother's Day, is that I will not be causing anyone to buy into over priced flowers, price-upped meals in crowded restaurants, or gaining a couple of pounds from scoffing an entire box of chocolates.

And despite feeling a bit off the Mother's Day radar for 2013, I am of course, a mother every day of the year, and the joy my son brings me on those other 364 days is immeasurable in terms of a card or bunch of flowers.

I would prefer not to have Mothering Sunday thrust under my nose quite so much, though.

Do you celebrate Mother's Day? If you're a single parent, do you feel like Kelly?

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